EARLY GIRL-CHILD MARRIAGE PRACTICES AMONG THE MOGHAMO RURAL COMMUNITIES OF CAMEROON

Ngoran M. B., Valentine Banfegha Ngalim

Abstract


The practice of early girl-child marriage continues to be widely prevalent in many parts of the world. The prevalence of the practice in different parts of the world has been attributed to a number of underpinning drivers which could be categorized as cultural, social, economic and even political. As a cultural phenomenon, early girl-child marriage is often driven by cultural belief systems, cultural norms and values systems, culture-specific socio-cultural perceptions and cultural practices native to indigenous cultures in patriarchy. This study was carried out among the rural communities of the Moghamo tribe of North West Cameroon. The aim of the study was to investigate the psychosocial and educational consequences of the practice of early girl-child marriage among the rural communities of the Moghamo tribe. The study employed a qualitative design and Key Informant Interviews and Focused Group Discussions were adopted as methods of data collection. Findings showed that early girl-child marriage practices in rural Moghamo communities are deeply entrenched in cultural belief systems, norms and values, social perceptions and cultural practices of the Moghamo people. The study found that the practice results in negative consequences to the health of the girl-child such as difficult child birth, stress, depression, trauma, physical depreciation due to hard labour, and maternal and child mortality. The study also found that the practice resulted in high rates of school drop-out, inequalities in schooling and education between boys and girls, low rates of literacy among girls in early marriages and an obstruction in the educational aspirations of the girl-child. From a socio-economic perspective, findings showed that girls in early marriages in rural Moghamo villages were more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, low social status, wife battery, husband domination, complete financial and material dependence on husband, poverty and hardship, and lack of opportunities for personal development. The study recommends that the practice be conceptualized as a crisis and that programs designed to address the rate of prevalence and bring about full decline should be sensitive to cultural specificities in driving factors across practicing indigenous cultural communities and such programs should be able to engage the stakeholders in the prevalence of the practice with the hope of transforming them from agents of its prevalence to making them agents of change.

 

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early girl-child marriage, Moghamo rural communities, Cameroon

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v0i0.2696

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