Early marriage occurs frequently in rural areas of Burkina Faso and curtails girls' ability to complete their education and fulfill their potential. Once married, girls tend to be less mobile and have limited social networks compared to unmarried girls, and married girls are expected to begin childbearing almost immediately. Given their young age, pregnant adolescents may be at risk of complications during childbirth. Despite the large number of married girls and girls at risk of early marriage in Burkina Faso’s rural areas, few programs address the issue of early marriage directly. Furthermore, the country lacks services tailored to their needs. With health services concentrated in urban areas, the distance to the nearest health center is a serious obstacle for girls in rural areas. Even if a health center is accessible, girls and young women must obtain permission from their husband or other gatekeeper to visit it. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 9 describes research conducted by the Population Council to better understand the needs and experiences of girls at risk of early marriage and of married girls in Burkina Faso.
Engebretsen, Sarah and Gisele Kaboré. 2011. "Addressing the needs of girls at risk of early marriage and married adolescent girls in Burkina Faso," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 9. New York: Population Council.
Eliminating Child Marriage in Burkina Faso: A Plan for Protection, Empowerment, and Community Action