Lijinete means childhood in Amharic. This project helps women reclaim power over their lives, after experiencing marriage and motherhood in their childhood.
This project, in partnership with Link Ethiopia, and our partner, FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development) has created a network of women and girls who have been affected by child marriage, so they can reach out and support other girls in their areas who may be at risk of the same.
In August 2018, 15 women affected by child marriage and motherhood received leadership and confidence building training; learning about topics such as understanding how gender affects roles in society, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and how to support girls who are facing similar issues, or at risk of dropping out of school.
They also received business training and a business start-up loan to enable them to be financially independent and support their children to stay in education.
“What happened in the past is past. I would like to change my life now and for my children to finish school and get a successful job.”
Lijinete Network Member
The Network members now meet monthly for discussion and peer support so that they can effectively support other girls in their communities. At the end of the 12 month project, we will host a community awareness meeting for the network members to report to elders in the community and the social affairs office about the type of issues girls are facing, and help to find solutions.
Why is this project important?
Although child marriage is illegal in Ethiopia two in five girls are married before their 18th birthday and nearly one in five girls marries before the age of 15. The rates vary by region but in the Amhara region, where we work, it is particularly prevalent. The Amhara region has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.
Often girls are married off young because of economic pressures. Parents, especially those in poverty, marry off their daughters young so they will have one less mouth to feed. This project was informed by the PEER research No Girl Should Be A Child Bride which FORWARD carried out in the Tikil Dingay area of the Amhara region, which can be read here.
We want the young girls and women to benefit from economic empowerment to put them back in control of their own futures and to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to prevent child marriage from happening to further girls in their community.
“I would like to create more business in addition to what I am currently doing in order to grow and transform; I would also like to help other girls to change like I do.”
Lijinete Network Member
Read about our other projects to support girls and women in the community here.