Evaluation of Berhane Hewan: a program to delay marriage and promote education in rural Ethiopia
Annabel S. Erulkar, Population Council
Eunice Muthengi, University of California, Los Angeles
A substantial proportion of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married during their childhood, before age 18. Yet few programs have sought to increase marriage age for girls. Berhane Hewan was a two-year pilot project to reduce the prevalence of child marriage in Ethiopia, through social mobilization, support to remain in school, and community awareness. A quasi-experimental research design was used to measure changes associated with the project. The project was associated with changes in educational participation, marriage age, reproductive health knowledge, and family planning use. Girls in the age group 10 to 14 experienced significant increases in educational attendance (odds ratio, 3.0) and decreases in ever having been married (odds ratio, 0.09). However, marriage seemed to accelerate among older girls 15 to 19 (odds ratio, 2.4). Adolescents in the project site were nearly three times as likely to have ever used family planning, compared to girls in the control site.