Adolescent Migration and Marriage: Examples From Malawi, Mali and Niger

Andrea Melnikas, Population Council
Saul Grace, Population Council
Sarah Engebretsen, Independent Consultant
Sajeda Amin , Population Council

We aim to understand the association between pre-marital labor migration and early marriage in three African countries with high prevalence of child marriage. Using data from an evaluation of interventions to delay marriage in Malawi, Mali, and Niger, we explore marriage and migration among girls 12-19 as well as perceptions of adolescent migration among adults in the community. We use baseline and midline survey data to document the prevalence of marriage and migration within select regions in each country, and qualitative data to explore the migration experiences of young women. We find that marriage-migration associations are highly context dependent. In Mali, girls often move seasonally for domestic work, an experience that is seen as important for girls in forging new and modern identities. Contrastingly, in Malawi, girls did not report migrating themselves, but spoke of migration among their male peers as being associated with greater buying power in the marriage market.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth