Child marriage among maasai girl-students in Tanzania: the Case of Kilosa District

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University of Dar es Salaam,
This study explored the reasons for persistence of child marriage among Maasai girl-students in Tanzania. The aim was to discover the reasons for persistence of the problem despite the presence of various girls’ protectors and education stakeholders. Four research questions guided this study namely: How does the Maasai community understand and experience child marriage? Why girl-students’ marriage continue to exist among the Maasai community of Tanzania? What is the position and role of education stakeholders in protecting girls from child marriage? What strategies should be taken to assist in combating child marriage in the Maasai community? The study employed qualitative research approach where a case study design was used to explore the problem. It adopted interview, focus group discussion and observation as research methods. Purposive and snow ball sampling strategies were employed to get 39 participants. These included 23 students, 5 teachers, 3 school administrators, 5 parents and 3 government leaders. Data were analysed qualitatively through thematic analysis strategies. The findings revealed that community members are aware that child marriage is marriage under 18 years old where the legible age for marriage of Maasai girls range from 6 to 15 years depending on the number of competing men and the economic status of the family. Maasai girls who join form one rarely complete secondary education with their major drawback being child marriage. Society members use various techniques such as persuasion and pressure, transfer of students, pregnancy and corruption to succeed marriage of these students. Also the findings revealed that Maasai cultural traditions and customs, fear of early pregnancies, corruption and irresponsibility of leaders, poverty and undervaluing of education are the factors contributing to persistence of child marriage among the Maasai girl-students. Furthermore, they suggested that educational stakeholders such as parents, teachers, school administrators and government leaders are not acting responsibly in protecting girl students. Very few of them are trying to protect girls from child marriage. The study recommends that the government in collaboration with other stakeholders should be involved in implementation of laws protecting children. A close monitoring of local leaders’ actions by top government leaders to help combating child marriage is also recommended. Moreover, joint efforts are needed to educate society members and girl-students on the negative impact of child marriage and the importance of girls’ education.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark ( THS EAF LC2471.T34N3752)
Women, Education, Child marriage, Masai (African people), Kilosa district, Tanzania
Ndaula, J (2017) Child marriage among maasai girl-students in Tanzania: the Case of Kilosa District, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam