Child Marriage on The Rise as #AfricaClimateCrisis Intensifies

Girls as young as twelve years old are being forced into child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at "alarming rates" in the Horn of Africa, as the most severe drought in forty years pushes families to the edge - warns UNICEF.

In the regions of Ethiopia worst affected by the drought, child marriage has on average more than doubled in the space of one year, according to UNICEF analysis. The number of children at risk of dropping out of school across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, due to the impact of the crisis, has tripled within three months - leaving vast numbers of adolescent girls at greater risk.

UNICEF is working to expand life-saving child protection and gender-based violence services, to respond to the growing protection needs among vulnerable women and children across the Horn of Africa. This includes running community-based programmes to reduce the risks of violence, exploitation, abuse and child marriage, and providing services to help women and children recover after violence.


On June 7, 2022, twelve year old Amira, enjoyed a meal at a children’s centre. Amira was rescued by her step-brother from an attempted child marriage to a 70-year-old man. The marriage was set up by her uncle in exchange for a small dowry of cows.

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