Nearly 1 in every 2 girls in Uganda is married before the age of 18.
In Uganda, child marriage is often a result of poverty. Many parents marry their daughters in the hope of securing their financial security. Bride price can also a motivation for parents: a younger bride means a higher bride price for the family.
Limited access to education for girls and traditional and social norms which dictate that girls are married at a young age in order to fulfil their role as a wife and mother, play a role too.
In addition, displaced population living in refugee camps often feel unable to protect their daughters from rape. Marrying them off to a warlord or other authority figure is seen as a form of protection.
Legal age of marriage
The minimum age of marriage in Uganda is 18 for both girls and boys, but a girl can marry at 16 with parental consent.
Initiatives to end child marriage
On 16 June 2015, the Government of Uganda launched the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage and its first ever National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy (2014/2015 – 2019/2020), which was developed in partnership with civil society organisations, including Girls Not Brides members in Uganda, and UN agencies.
Led by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the strategy contains a multi-sectoral monitoring and evaluation framework, as well as an indicative budget for the implementation of the strategy.
UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage
Uganda is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder programme working across 12 countries over four years.