Early and Forced Child Marriages in Rural Western Nepal

  • Pitambar Acharya Tribhuvan University
  • Benjamin Welsh Morgan State University
Keywords: child marriage, abortion, violence, ECM, reproductive health, Nepal


After reviewing the state of early and forced child marriage (ECM) globally and nationally within Nepal, this research assessed the determinants, consequences and preventive measures of ECM in rural municipalities in Nepal today. This mixed method surveyed 167 households taking 15 % sample from the clusters of three wards of Badhaiyatal Rural Municipality in Bardiya and Dullu Municipality in Dailekh of Western Nepal. Besides household survey, six Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), 16 Key Informant's Interviews (KIIs), and 12 In-depth-Interviews (IDIs) were also conducted. There was the prevalence of ECM in 94% of the total sampled households. Majority (64%) of the marriages had taken place at the age of 15-19 years. Besides, about 23% of the marriage had occurred at 10-14 years. Average age at marriage was 16.5 years. Lack of awareness, self-elopement, misuse of social media, and parents’ perception of daughters as burden were some contributing factors of ECM. Unsafe sexual behavior, unwanted pregnancy and its risk to unsafe abortion, maternal and child mortality, deprivation of education and self- dependence and violence were some effects of ECM. Recommendations to address ECM and curb its negative effects are presented.


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Author Biographies

Pitambar Acharya, Tribhuvan University

PITAMBAR ACHARYA is a lecturer at Tribhuvan University in Nepal. As an experienced teacher and contributor, he has authored articles in various journals and magazines in addition to school and college level textbooks and reference books. He has also served as a teacher trainer in ICT, pedagogy, and HPE education. In addition, he has handled half a dozen research works on impact studies and baseline studies as a consultant. His areas of interest include reproductive health, gender, and higher education.

Benjamin Welsh, Morgan State University

BENJAMIN H. WELSH, Ph.D. is an associate professor of higher education and urban educational leadership at Morgan State University. Dr. Welsh joined the faculty of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy at Morgan State University in the spring of 2009. Prior to that, he served as assistant professor of educational foundations at Ball State University. Related positions that he has held include developmental English instructor at the Community College of Philadelphia, English teacher at Bartram High School in Philadelphia, and ACT Coordinator at the Philadelphia Job Corps Center. His dissertation focused on the research methods of the early educational researchers who were part of Stanford University’s founding faculty circa 1890. What he uncovered was a eugenic ideology that appears to have been transmitted directly from the research methods into the fabric the American public-school system. Other teaching and research interests include white studies, multicultural education, the history of education, analytic philosophy of education, and the long-term impact of eugenics on our public schools.