Cultural Norms and Early Child Marriage:

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Kampala International University
ABSTRACT This study examined the relationship between cultural norms and early child marriage in the Bari community of Luri, South Sudan. Specifically, it investigates the impact of bride price, clan practices, and sexual practices on early child marriages within the community. A mixed method design was employed, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods to capture a comprehensive understanding of the subject. The study population consisted of 58 households from the Bari community, as early marriages predominantly occur within family households. A sample size of 50 respondents was purposively and randomly selected for the study. Questionnaires were used as the primary research tool for data collection, employing close-ended questions. The empirical findings reveal significant relationships between bride price, clan practices, sexual practices, and early child marriage. A positive correlation was observed between bride price and early child marriage, indicating that higher bride prices increased the likelihood of early marriage by 35.5%. Similarly, clan practices were found to have a positive correlation with early child marriage, suggesting that an increase in clan practices led to a 58% higher likelihood of early marriage. Sexual practices also demonstrated a significant positive correlation, with a unit increase associated with a 51.4% increase in early child marriage. Based on the findings, it is evident that bride price practices, clan practices, and sexual practices contribute to the prevalence of early child marriage in the Bari community. Additionally, the study highlights the challenges in reporting such cases, as girls fear social exposure and the failure of family bonds. The power dynamics within marriages, where men exert control and discipline over their wives, are identified as factors perpetuating early child marriage. The study recommends that technocrats in the Bari community provide training on the management of early child marriage to clan leaders and community members. These individuals hold significant influence within the community and can effectively address the issue. Furthermore, efforts should be made to address gender imbalances in community leadership to encourage girls to report cases of early child marriage without fear or hesitation. This study sheds light on the cultural norms and practices that contribute to early child marriage in the Bari community of Luri, South Sudan. By understanding these factors, interventions can be designed to promote gender equality, protect the rights of girls, and alleviate the prevalence of early child marriage.
A Dissertation Submitted to the College Of Humanities and Social Science as a Procedural Requirement for the Award of Masters of Human Rights and Developmental Studies of Kampala International University
Cultural Norms, Early Child Marriage, Bari Community, Luri South Sudan