On a trip with Oxfam to Yemen’s northwest, in Al Hudaydah governorate I met a 13-year-old girl named Ashwaq. Her father could no longer afford the family’s needs and he wanted to ease the pressure off of himself. Barely a teenager, Ashwaq hardly understood what marriage was. Yet she was forced into adulthood with a man twice her age, became a mother and she was about to give a birth again.
Today UNICEF estimates that 32% of girls are married before the age of 18 in Yemen. Poverty, the practice of dowry and strict social and religious traditions are the main drivers of child marriage in Yemen.