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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Traditional laws have rituals and requests to be met prior to marriage accomplishment. Age of marriage is set to be eighteen in section 4 of marriage acts. It defines marriage as conscious and willful union of male and lass whether monogynic or polygamous & enrolment as with the law. Both parties are required to have consented be adults and of opposite gender (Chigiti, 2018).
Early marriage is a worldwide calamity within all countries, cultures, religions and among all ethnic groups. Kenya is among the 20 nations with high numbers of child marriage (brides, n.d) .Although there is a confirmed decrease in child marriage over the last 10 years this is still not enough to eradicate it as per the sustainable development goals (UNICEF, 2018). Close to twenty five million marriages have been prevented over the last 10 years.650 million is the current assessment of worldwide minor marriage. Population married each year stand at 12 million. The sustainable development target stands at 5.3. South Asia recorded the greatest decline from forty nine to thirty percent; the progress should speed up before more girls are recorded married by 2030 before celebrating eighteen years.
Individual children have lawful schooling entitlement. This is guarded by international tradition and concession that binds majorly to organization states Kenya included. The UN proclamation of human right states that everyone has a right to education of which should be free and obligatory at the basic level. It is clearly stipulated n Kenyan precept that marriage should be consensual and between individuals above 18years of age. Marriage for Children below this age can’t be sensible. The agreement on the withdrawal/ending all extant segregation against women and the minor right congress contains a detailed set of implementable devotions on education and gender equality rights (NCCC, 2010) The Sustainable development goal number five (UN, 2015)also stresses the need for gender equality in education and women empowerment.
Almost everywhere, women in rural areas are liable to get married at a tender age compared to those in rural areas. Their degree of education also has a vital role (UN, 2015).In the United States of America, 2.1% of girls aged 15-17 were married early, 7.6% of girls aged 15-19 were cohabiting. In Oceana and South East Asia, 22%of girls experience early marriage each year,12% get married before age 15 (UNPA, 13)Girls in Bangladesh and Afghanistan face early marriage whereby 50% are married under 18 years.
Globally 75,000,000 tender aged girls between twenty and twenty four a quarter being in Africa got in to first marriage having not yet attained eighteen years. Million more girls are still at risk in spite of the slow decline of the practice due to growing child population; by 2050 half of child brides will be from Africa ( (UNICEF, 2015)
As per UNICEF report, Africa is ranked with the highest rates of early marriages especially in these three countries namely Chad 67%, Niger 76%, and central Africa with more than 68%girl marrying under 18 (Raid, 2018) .
UN reports thirty seven million girls less than eighteen years married each year. This is largest number recorded compared to before. One girl out of three in developing countries married by eighteen, one in nine married by 15. If this pattern doesn’t change more than140, 000,000 girls will be married before eighteen years in the coming ten years. 4000,000,000 Women aged 20-49 years currently in the world were married before their 18 birthday (Coalition, 2014)
Even while Kenya is moving towards abolishing child marriage and female genital mutilation as well protecting children rights they are still on the increase. They occur to girls as young as 7-12 years endangering their health. It was recorded that 25-30 % child marriages occurred in Kenya , if no step was taken to fight this 824 thousand females delivered from 2005-2010 will be married by eighteen years in 2030 (Sherman, 2014).
A countrywide survey showed that these counties namely Kisii, Kuria, West Pokot, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, and Garissa still record large numbers of child marriages. Girls are largely affected than boys at 11% and 1% respectively at ages between 15-19years; this means that more needs to be done to save girls from these practices (Odhiambo, 2017)
According to (Wako, 2017), Parents marry off their children at a tender age for prestige; they are not allowed out of wedlock to conceive at their parents’ homes. Parents receive a bride prize which is determined by whether one is a virgin at the time of being sold off. Key reasons for this include gender inequality, tradition ; poverty. Girls from families of a low socioeconomic class are 2.5 times more likely to marry in childhood compared to those from .a higher socioeconomic class. Those from rural areas are twice likely to face it compared to those in urban settings. This practice also varies with regions with northeastern and coast with the highest observed rates compared to regions like Nairobi and central as the lowest. Childhood marriage is an infringement of human rights it limits girls options after exposing them to increased health risks and complications like premature deaths during the intra partum period in most developing countries. Young married girls are at an increased risk of compacting HIV in Kenya, a survey in kisumu revealed that 33%of married girls were infected as compared to 22%of unmarried sexually involved age mates (unicef, 2016).
Amidst the Maasai group in Kenya high rates of child brides is reported.90%of girls are married and exposed to traditional cultural practices like FGM. (Action!aid, n.d), the girls drop out of school ascribed to pressures of marriage.
A marked ascent in child marriage has been evident by an increment in the percentages from the year 2015 and 2018; this is from4% to 23% (Unicef, 2018)
According to plan international report Kilifi records the high rates at 47.4%, Homabay 38%, Kwale 39.9%, Bondo 29.5%and Tharaka 25.3% (Mwololo, 2015)