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Accelerating Progress on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia

In order to accelerate national efforts towards ending child marriage in Zambia, UNFPA Zambia, through the "UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to End Child Marriage", has prioritized investments in girl-centred interventions in some of the most hard to reach rural communities of Katete and Senanga Districts. The interventions are aimed at empowering adolescent girls with life skills and information on sexual and reproductive health, delivered through community and school-based "safe spaces".

Current national data indicates that Zambia has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates globally, with 31.4% of girls being married by their 18th birthday.

As a result of the mentorship programme, school administrators in target Districts are consistently reporting a reduction in school dropout rates due related to child marriage and adolescent pregnancy.

"Since the programme commenced in selected schools, we have noted significant improvements in terms of keeping girls in school as well as in numbers of child marriage in our communities. Recent data revealed a 26% reduction in child marriage and adolescent pregnancy related school dropouts in the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage target areas. We have further supported the re-integration of former child-brides back into school.” - highlighted the Deputy Head Teacher at Sibukali Secondary School in Katete.

At Senanga School of the Deaf, the programme has also supported learners with disabilities to access comprehensive sexuality education and life skills training. Trained mentors conduct sessions with the girls using sign language and other forms of interactive methodologies.

At a District level, the programme has further supported Katete and Senanga to develop and launch District Plans of Action adapted from the National Action Plan for Ending Child Marriage and the Seventh National Development Plan. Both districts have also developed costed, multi-sectoral operational frameworks.