What works to prevent child marriage: a review of the evidence

Stud Fam Plann. 2012 Dec;43(4):287-303. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2012.00327.x.


This article reviews 23 child marriage prevention programs carried out in low-income countries and employing a range of programmatic approaches and evaluation strategies. We document the types of child marriage programs that have been implemented, assess how they have been evaluated, describe the main limitations of these evaluations, summarize the evaluation results, and make recommendations to improve future prevention efforts. The evidence suggests that programs offering incentives and attempting to empower girls can be effective in preventing child marriage and can foster change relatively quickly. Methodological limitations of the reviewed studies, however, underscore that more needs to be learned about how the programs prevent child marriage and whether impact is sustained beyond program implementation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Marriage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Policy*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Social Change*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health