Anna Chulack is an undergraduate senior from London, United Kingdom. Prior to starting her freshman year, Anna interned at anti-child marriage group Girls Not Brides, an experience that opened her eyes to the issue of child marriage worldwide, and that drove her desire to research this topic further for her senior thesis. Completing this paper, combined with her other civic engagement experiences while at Duke (e.g. DukeEngage in Cape Town in 2018), has solidified Anna’s long-term goal to pursue a socially impactful career. She greatly looks forward to leveraging all that she has learnt throughout the research process for her thesis, and from her Duke education more generally, in pursuit of this goal. In the meantime, Anna is excited to start work as an Associate Consultant at the New York office of Bain & Company after graduation in May 2021.
Delaying Child Marriage in the World’s Most Afflicted Country: Evaluating Whether or Not Ethiopia’s ‘Berhane Hewan’ Intervention Program Could Be Replicated with Success in Niger
Faculty Advisor: Professor Catherine A. Admay
Abstract: Niger has the highest child marriage prevalence rate in the world, with 76% of girls married by 18, and 28% of girls married by 15. Although government and non-profit initiatives to eliminate the practice exist, there continues to be a lack of significant improvement on this issue. By comparison, Ethiopia has seen a substantial reduction in its child marriage prevalence rate in recent decades, due to the success of various intervention programs – notably, the Berhane Hewan program in the rural Amhara region. This study uses open-ended qualitative interviews of experts on child marriage, alongside secondary data analysis and document review, to ascertain the extent to which Berhane Hewan might feasibly be replicated with success in Niger. While recognising that intervention programs must be tailored to the particular nature of child marriage in different local contexts, this paper finds that the various programmatic arms employed by the Berhane Hewan program are likely to be strategically successful in reducing, or delaying, child marriage in Niger. Logistically, however, there are certain funding and military conflict challenges that are likely to mean that, in the short-term, only certain arms of the program will be cost-effective, and there may be regions which would be unable to sustain such a program. Furthermore, the current legislative landscape may prove a barrier to sustainable, long-term change. Accordingly, this paper proposes several short- and long-term policy recommendations in the work towards a meaningful reduction, and eventual elimination, of child marriage in Niger.