The Berhane Hewan Program pilot-tested in rural Ethiopia from 2004–06 was developed to sensitize community members to the dangers of child marriage, prevent early marriage among unmarried adolescents, and provide support for girls who are already married. The program included social mobilization of girls aged 10–19 into groups led by female mentors; support to stay in school or convening of groups outside of school including nonformal education and livelihoods skills; and community-wide conversations on early marriage and reproductive health issues affecting girls. Economic incentives were provided to families who did not marry off their daughters during the project period. Population-based surveys were conducted before the implementation and two years afterward, in both experimental and control areas, to measure changes associated with the program. The impact evaluation focused on social networks and participation; education; marital status; and reproductive health. The Berhane Hewan experiment demonstrates that significant impacts can be made on the social, educational, and health status of adolescent girls in a short period of time, through well-designed and implemented support programs. This is one of the first rigorously evaluated programs to delay marriage in sub-Saharan Africa.
Erulkar, Annabel and Eunice N. Muthengi. 2008. "Evaluation of Berhane Hewan: A pilot program to promote education and delay marriage in rural Ethiopia." Addis Ababa: Population Council.
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