Our Voices, Our Future: Zimbabwe5 July 2022
Understanding child marriage in food-insecure communities in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe.
This study is part of Plan International’s Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings Initiative, which began in 2019. It is a phased approach to deliver evidence-based and practice informed programming to prevent and respond to child marriage in humanitarian settings. This study in Zimbabwe is the result of a collaboration between Plan International Zimbabwe, Dr. Abel Blessing Matsika, and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC). The aim of the study is to understand the drivers of child marriage and the existing support and resources available to adolescents living in food insecure communities in Chiredzi District that help them live healthy lives free of violence.
Findings indicate that the key concerns of adolescent girls act as both drivers and consequences of child marriage in Chiredzi. The lived experiences of adolescents in Chiredzi is shaped by their contexts of socio-economic inequality, gender inequality, socio-cultural norms and practices, and most recently by COVID-19 containment measures that hinder adolescent girls from navigating to and negotiating for resources. The setting of extreme and recurrent food insecurity further worsens pre-existing drivers while also adding complexities and nuances to the risks that adolescents – in particular girls – face, as a result of increased household economic hardship.
This report contains content that some readers may find distressing, including first-hand accounts from adolescents and other community members that reference severe mental health issues; gender-based violence; self-harm, including suicide; violence; and exploitation.