Radio Program in Chad Addresses Practice of Child Marriage
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:10 AM

A unique radio program recently aired on Radio La Voix de l'Esperance (Voice of Hope Radio) in Chad, a country where it is estimated that nearly half of women are married before reaching 19 years of age. The in-depth program explored the risks and problems associated with child marriages, providing a counter-perspective on what is still a relatively common practice in Chad.

The program interviewed women who had married as young as 13 and 14 years of age. These callers, as well as a gynecologist and obstetrician, discussed potential health problems associated with child marriages and early pregnancies, and the marital unhappiness often experienced when women are forced to marry very young.

The radio program's callers identified poverty and lack of educational opportunities as some of the reasons parents push girls in Chad to marry early. A desire to protect their daughters from sexual harassment and out-of-wedlock pregnancies was also identified as a reason parents may want their daughters to marry young. One caller identified herself as a representative from the Women Lawyer's Association, and stated that Chadian law sets 15-years as the legal age for marriage for girls and 18-years as the legal age for boys. The caller urged that the minimum age for girls be raised, in order to protect them from the negative consequences of child marriages, such as sexual abuse of teenage wives.

This radio program was produced through an Internews project aimed at improving radio journalism in Chad.

Compiled from: In Chad, Radio Program Confronts Widespread Custom of Child Marriage, Internews (10 November 2008); Chad - Community Radio Outreach Addresses Widespread Custom of Child Marriage, Women's UN Report Network (WUNRN) (13 March 2009).