Do child marriage programs help girls weather shocks like COVID-19? Evidence from the More Than Brides Alliance Intervention

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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This paper contributes to the evidence base on the impact of the COVID-19 on child marriage prevalence and on the protective potential of girl-centred, community-level interventions in buffering communities against aggregate shocks. Drawing on data from repeat cross-sectional surveys completed with adolescent girls aged 12–19 in 609 villages in four states in India as a part of the More Than Brides Alliance impact evaluation, we examine whether the intervention appears to have impacted child marriage prevalence over its 5-year implementation period, whether the onset of COVID-19 affected ongoing trends in child marriage prevalence, and whether the intervention appeared to have buffered against increased child marriage risk resulting from the pandemic. Results show that significant differences emerged between treatment and control villages between midline and endline—and these differences were larger following the onset of COVID-19—suggesting both that the treatment was successful in preventing child marriage and that the intervention had a protective effect. Results suggest that girl-centred, community-based interventions can help communities to weather environmental shocks and protect girls against potential increased child marriage risk during times of acute crisis.






Testing Effective Approaches to End Child Marriage