BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Every child has lawful entitlement to education. This is protected in the international tradition and agreement that binds majorly to signatory states Kenya being amongst. The UN proclamation of human right states that everyone has a right to education of which it should be free and obligatory at the basic level. It is clearly stipulated n Kenyan laws that marriage should consensual and between individuals above 18years of age. Marriage for Children below this age can’t be valid. The agreement on the withdrawal/ending all existing discrimination against women and the children right congress contains a detailed set of implementable devotions on education and gender equality rights (Marsha et al. 2012). The Sustainable development goal number 5 (UN, 2015) also stresses the need for gender equality in education and women empowerment.
Almost everywhere, women in rural areas are liable to get married at a tender age compared to those in rural areas. Their degree of education also has a vital role (UN, 2015).In the United States of America, 2.1% of girls aged 15-17 were married early,7.6% of girls aged 15-19 were cohabiting(UN,2010). In Oceana and South East Asia, 22%of girls experience early marriage each year,12% get married before age 15(UNPA,2012). Girls in Bangladesh and Afghanistan face early marriage whereby 50% are married under 18 years. As per UNICEF report, Africa is ranked with the highest rates of early marriages especially in these three countries namely Chad, Niger, and central Africa with more than 70%girl marrying under 18 ( UNICEF,2012). 40% of women in sub-Saharan Africa enter marriage by 18 years; most of them are the second or third wives of polygamous homesteads (UNICEF, 2012). An estimated 23% of girls are married before their 18th birthday in Kenya today with 4% 0f them married before 15 years (UNICEF 2017). Although Kenya has a law fighting against the practice of early childhood marriages it is still practiced in the country’s rural. In a comparison of a number of girls to boys married by age of 18, girls stand at 11.6% which is higher than for boys which stand at 11.6%. The national prevalence rate is at 34% for girls and 1.4% for males (plan international 2011). Child marriage and female genital mutilation are two of the key violations against young girls in the country despite having enough laws against the retrogressive practice.
A countrywide survey showed that these counties namely Kisii, Kuria, West Pokot, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, and Garissa still record large numbers of child marriages. Girls are largely affected than boys at 11% and 1% respectively at ages between 15-19years; this means that more needs to be done to save girls from these practices (Odhiambo, R.2017).
According to Wako Amina (2017), Parents marry off their children at a tender age for prestige, they are not allowed out of wedlock to conceive at their parents’ homes. Parents receive a bride prize which is determined by whether one is a virgin at the time of being sold off. Key reasons for this include gender inequality, tradition ; poverty. Girls from families of a low socioeconomic class are 2.5 times more likely to marry in childhood compared to those from .a higher socioeconomic class. Those from rural areas are twice likely to face it compared to those in urban settings. This practice also varies with regions with northeastern and coast with the highest observed rates compared to regions like Nairobi and central being the lowest. Childhood marriage is a violation of human rights it limits girls options on top of exposing them to increased health risks and complications like premature deaths during labor and delivery in most developing countries. According to UNICEF,(2016) young married girls are at an increased risk of contracting HIV in Kenya, a survey in kisumu revealed that 33%of married girls were infected as compared to 22%of unmarried sexually active age mates.