Supporting child brides and child mothers in Tanzania

The project will help transform lives and empower child brides, child mothers, child widows and their children in the Mara Region of Tanzania. FORWARD will work with local partner, Children Dignity Forum to mobilise action to end child marriage and set up a one stop multi-purpose support centre to address the needs and plight of vulnerable girls many under15 years.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (292403)





  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



In Tanzania a third of girls are married before their 18 birthday, majority are voiceless and invisible with no rights to development, education and health services because they are no longer viewed as children but wives and mothers. This situation is fuelled by ambiguous laws which allow courts to sanction marriage of girls at 14 years. Many girls come under great pressure to become pregnant early and to have multiple births. Younger women experience higher complications with child birth, with those between 10-14 years being five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth. The children of younger mothers are also at higher risk of ill health and early death. Because child brides tend to have older and sexually experienced spouses many are at increased risk of HIV infection and early widowhood. This is worsened by the practice of wife inheritance. Child marriage creates a vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerability in diverse ways. Studies confirm that poor families are more likely to marry their daughters early, often withdrawing girls from schools or failing to take them to school. The disruption of girls education further compounds their vulnerability, limits their acquisition of livelihood skills and economic options and needed social networks to fall onto in times of adversity. A participatory study conducted in Tarime district in Mara Region highlighted the desperate situation of child brides, high levels of domestic violence and problems with divorce because families have to return the bride price, often between 5- 10 cows. A view from one fo the girls in the study stated that: “After men marry they do not do anything. They leave all the work to their wives. All they want is the woman to have a child each year but they do not any anything to feed, educate or clothe those children. Everything is left to the woman”. The project is informed by the findings of the research and builds on current project which supports a network of child brides and child mothers in Tarime to acquire leadership and income generation skills. The support project will empower girls to run the multi-purpose support centre which will serve as a venue for human rights and health education, confidence building and income generation skills training, legal support and advocacy, provide early learning facilities for children of and a safe space for networking and operating girls club. The three year project aims to increase visibility and voice of child brides and seeks to engage and mobilise action at local and national level to transform lives, safeguard rights and advance life chances of girls at risk.