The Population Council is at the forefront of directing policy attention to child marriage and in developing and testing effective methods of reducing the practice.
The Council has conducted research on the causes of child marriage, including traditions, poverty, and a desire to protect daughters. Council research shows that marriage does not protect girls. Married girls are less educated than unmarried girls, they are more likely to face physical and sexual violence, and they engage in frequent, unprotected, and often unwanted sex, which raises their risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Population Council projects are finding the most effective ways to end child marriage and to support married girls. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, our projects offer families the resources and options they need to delay marriage. We also support married girls by addressing their isolation and giving them vital health information. Our Berhane Hewan project in Ethiopia is one of the first rigorously evaluated projects with the explicit objective of increasing the age at marriage, and one of the first to provide evidence of program effectiveness.