Factors influencing sexuality and child marriage among adolescents in Chadiza district, eastern province of Zambia.

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Daka, Charity
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The University of Zambia
Child marriage is a global, continental and national problem. Typically, it cuts short or ends a girl’s education, compromises her reproductive rights, sexual health, future employment and earnings as well as perpetuates personal and community poverty. Zambia has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world with 42% of women aged between 20-24 years married by the age of 18 with 60% of the cases of child marriages coming from Eastern Province. Zambia is ranked 16th amongst countries with the highest rate of child marriage in the world (CSO,2010). It is from the above scenario that this study was carried out to establish factors affecting sexuality and child marriages in Chadiza district of Eastern province. A mixed method approach was applied. A sample size of 150 adolescents comprising 100 females and 50 males was determined. The study was conducted in Chadiza Rural District of Eastern Zambia. Data was collected using a structured interview questionnaire for quantitative data and a follow-up focus group discussion for validation of data. Participants were selected by using Simple random sampling in the purposively selected villages. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS v 23. The study established various factors influencing sexuality and child marriages in Chadiza District. According to the findings, the level of education, employment status of both parents/guardians and children, level of knowledge about legal age of marriage, age at first sexual intercourse, age at first marriage and cultural practices such as initiation ceremonies affected the sexuality and child marriages of adolescents in Chadiza. The study further revealed that there were a number of gender norms that were socialized by the adolescents as they grew up. Although 90% of respondents felt that both girls and boys were considered as important, there was an indication that the majority (53%) felt that boys and girls should not take equal responsibility for household chores, but girls should take more chores than boys. Therefore, the government, cooperating partners and other stakeholders need to enhance the provision of reproductive health services to include through other forms of informal institution of socialization. While appreciating the role played by initiation ceremonies in preparing the adolescents for adult responsibilities, there is need to restructure the curriculum for initiation to include sexual reproductive health rights. This will help equip adolescents with age appropriate messages that will help them refrain from high risk behavior.
Master Of Arts in Gender Studies.
Sexual behavior. , Child marriage--Zambia. , Sexual health--Zambia.