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Child marriage in Kenya

Child Marriage in Kenya. In 2017 in Kenya, 23% of girls are married off before the 18 yo. 4% are married before they turn 15.[1]

According to UNICEF, Kenya has the 20th highest absolute number of child brides in the world.[1]

A 2016 UNICEF study shows that some girls are seen as assets, rather than individuals with rights, and can fetch families up to hundreds of goats, cattle, camels and donkeys when married.[1]

Plan reports that Kenyan girls who drop out of school for any reason are more likely to end up married. Some parents reportedly withdraw girls from school and marry them off as soon as they menstruate. Marriage is seen to offer the ultimate protection from male sexual attention.[1]


In Bondo and Homabay, the practice of partying at discos after funerals has also been cited as a driver of teenage pregnancy which sees girls drop out of school and seek early marriage.[1]

Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C)

In certain communities, such as the Kuria, Maasai, Rendille and Turkana, FGM/C is seen as a sign of readiness for marriage, and generally occurs between the ages of 9 and 17.[1]

Traditional customs

Within the Samburu community, beading is a harmful traditional practice whereby a close family relative will approach a girl’s parents with red Samburu beads and place the necklace around the girl’s neck. This signifies a temporary engagement of the relative and the girl, and the relative can then have sex with her. Some girls are “beaded” as young as 6 years old. Beading is recognised as form of child rape under CEDAW.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Child marriage around the world: KENYA", Girls Not Brides