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Child marriage in West and Central Africa is one of the biggest challenges in the region and has enormous adverse effects on education, health, including sexual and reproductive health, and on the overall development of adolescents and youth. This brochure provides recent data and analysis of child marriage in the region.
This position paper presents several strong arguments about why it is imperative to address child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, if we want to succeed in harnessing the demographic dividend in West and Central Africa. It also provides recommendations on the key actions different stakeholder groups can take to make this a reality.
Girls are subject to child marriage, female genital mutilation and limited education and as such, are denied equality of opportunities. At the beginning of 2016, the African Union Heads of State and Government underlined a commitment to put young people and women first by agreeing to focus on “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth” throughout 2017 and beyond. UNFPA in West and Central Africa recognizes the critical importance of investing in adolescents and youth, particularly adolescent girls. …
CONTEXT: Age at sexual debut, age at first marriage or first union and age at first birth are among the most widely used indicators of health and well-being for female adolescents. However, the accuracy of estimates for these indicators, particularly for younger adolescents, is poorly understood. METHODS: For each of nine countries in Africa and Latin America, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from two surveys conducted five years apart were used to examine women’s reports of age at sexual debut, marriage or first union, and first birth. …
This chartbook aims to provide policymakers, program managers, and the interested public in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world with a better understanding of the needs and experiences of youth in the region and how investments in youth can help achieve the MDGs. The data is drawn primarily from the Demographic and Health Surveys.
This study presents the trend with regard to age at first intercourse of men and women in rural Senegal. The start of the sexual life of men proved to be early for the young generations. The start of sexual life of women, on the contrary, appeared to be somewhat later, in one of the sites. These results confirm that of another study carried out in another rural zone in Senegal. The underlying factors seem to be the early puberty of boys, the contact with the urban culture through education, migration and the changes of norms with regard to sexuality. The rise of the age of marriage of men, combined with an earlier start of sexual life, leads to a longer period wherein the risk of non desired pregnancies exists. It is thus important to implicate boys in the prevention actions with regard to sexual and reproductive health.