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This study investigated the implications of the early marriage practices among teenage girls in Otta, Ogun state. Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to investigate the magnitude of early marriages, to establish its implications on girls’ education, and to identify strategies used to prevent early marriages in Otta. The study was conducted in Otta. Data were collected from school teachers and mothers. The design used was cross-section survey design, which collected both qualitative and quantitative data. A sample for this study was drawn from four groups of the population; namely mothers, Ward Education Coordinators, Primary School teachers and pupils. Data were collected from a sample of 246 respondents
Data were collected using the questionnaire, interview, focus group discussions and documentary review methods. Data collected were analysed by using Special Package for Social Science (SPSS) and presented in frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations while qualitative data were subjected to content analysis. The findings revealed that an early marriage in Otta is rampant. The finding further revealed that early marriages in Otta are caused by many factors one of them is low level of education among the community members. School dropout was reported to be the leading implication of early marriages in the area of study. The study also reported that there are efforts made to combat early in the area despite of a number of challenges. Different stakeholders have to work together in making sure that this practice is ended. The study concludes that early marriage is a real problem in Otta. Further studies were recommended to deal with the challenges that hinder the efforts against early marriage practices in the area.
1.1 Background to the Study
Many development workers around the world recognized early marriage as an international issue which is mostly common in Africa, Asia and Latin America, however. Millions of young people suffer its negative consequence around the world as it diverts them from opportunities of personal growth and development thus it is a developmental challenge and a barrier to young girls as they drop-out from schools when they get married, this phenomena is very common in rural areas and poor house hold families in Africa, it impacts negatively not only on young girls but society as a whole and wellbeing of future generation Bayisenge (2012).
Pathfinder international report (2006) indicates that early marriage continue to exist in Asia, Africa, Latin America and middle east, parents as head of families continue to make choices for girls and boys with little or no involvement and consultation with them because of economic, cultural and attitudinal related factors. Parents in most cases consider marriage of their young children as family building strategy and protection from hurtful practices outside of marriage but few numbers of them give consideration the importance of educational attainment so as young generation get skills required for them to secure and sustain wellbeing and quality of life.
Early marriage refers to any marriage of a child younger than 18 years old. This robs the girls of their youth as they are required to take up roles for which they are not psychologically and physically prepared. Many have no choice about timing of marriage with their partner. Some are coerced into marriage, while others are too young to make an informed decision. Premature marriage deprives them of the opportunity for personal development as well as their rights to full reproductive health (RH), and well-being, education and participation in civic life (Saxena, 1999:7). Despite its disadvantages, however, early marriage is common occurrence in many parts of the world. Overall, 20-50 per cent of women in developing countries are married by age 18, with the highest percentages in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Singh and Samara, 1996:8). Virtually everywhere, poor women in rural areas tend to marry younger than those in urban areas, and educational levels also play a critical role (UN, 2010:5). However, in the United States of America, 2.1 per cent of all girls in the 15-17 age group were in early marriage, while, 7.6 per cent of all girls aged 15-19 were in an informal union (UN, 2010:9). Early marriage exists in some parts of Europe, for example, in the United Kingdom where 4.1 per cent of all girls in the 15-19 age group were cohabiting (living in an informal union), while 8.9 per cent of all girls in that age group admitted to have been in a cohabitation relation before the age of 18. Over 4 per cent of all underage girls in the UK were teenage mothers (Sharon and Lewis, 2005:3).
In rural areas and northern Nigeria, early marriage is high among girls compared to males. Forty-three per cent of girls are married before they they are 18 years compared to boys at 11.6 per cent. This proportion is higher than the national prevalence rate which stands at 34 per cent for females and 1.4 per cent for males (Plan International, 2011:1). Different reasons have been given for going into early marriage. Poor families may regard a young girl as an economic burden and her marriage as a necessary survival strategy for her family. Her marriage relieves the family financially and socially (ICRW, 2007:98). In some cases, parents willingly marry off their young girls to receive payment of bride wealth in order to increase the family income. Bride wealth is a cultural phenomenon practiced in Africa and other parts of the world and it encourages parents to marry their daughters early (UNICEF, 2001: 97). Culturally, the boy child’s education is more valued and usually more preference is accorded the boy-child than the girl-child. Educating the girl child is seen as a wasted investment since she will be married elsewhere.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The practice of early marriage mainly arises due to poverty, civil strife and low level of development. Some families believe that it limits and discourages promiscuity. Early marriage discriminates against the girl child’s right, limits her freedom to make decisions, isolates her from her peers, increases her risk of intimate sexual violence and sexually transmitted infections including HIV infection, predisposes her to complications of child birth such as obstructed labor and obstetric fistulae. Maternal mortality in pregnancy is four times higher among girls below the age of 16 years and their new born death rate is 50% higher compared to women who become pregnant after the age of 20 years. Early marriage also causes the girl child to discontinue or interrupt her education. Her children are also less likely to grow up healthy and go to school, thus continuing and worsening the cycle of poverty for generations to come.
1.5 Research Objectives
This study was guided by the following objectives;
i. To investigate the magnitude of early marriages among teenage girls in Otta, Ogun state.
ii. To establish the implications of early marriage practices on teenage girls in Otta Ogun state.
iii. To identify any strategies set against early marriage practices in Otta district.
1.6 Research Questions
1. To what extent the phenomenon of early marriages is a problem in Otta?
2. What are the implications of early marriages on teenage girls’ in Otta, Ogun state?
3. Are there any strategies to combat early marriages in otta?
1.6 Significance of the Study
Early marriage of the girl-child has been shown to be common in some Nigerian communities. It is associated with school dropout and poor quality of life for these young mothers and their families. There is limited information on early marriage and its implication on the girl-child most especially in northern Nigeria. This study will therefore expose the public to the burden of early marriage and its implications on the girl-child in Nigeria. This information should allow for intervention measures to be formulated and also formulation of a policy to address the problem. The study will also expose other gaps that exist within the field and prompt more investigations by other scholars. Finally, the study contributes to the literature on early marriage in Nigeria
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research on early marriage among teenagers, implication for sustainable future will be carried out in Otta, Ogun state i.e. Ado-Odo LGA in Ogun State, Nigeria.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its implication on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Early Marriage: Child marriage is a formal marriage or informal union entered into by an individual before reaching a certain age, specified by several global organizations such as UNICEF as minors under the age of 18.
Teenagers: A teenager, or teen, is a person who falls within the ages of thirteen-nineteen years old
Sustainable: Sustainability is the process of maintaining change in a balanced fashion, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development
Future: a prospect of success or happiness.
1.11 Organization of the Study
This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one has presented the problem and its context while chapter two presents the review of related literatures, its main concern is to identify the knowledge gap. Chapter three explains the research methodology, chapter four deals with data presentation, analysis and discussion and chapter five presents the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the study
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