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This paper deals with the problem of early marriage and childbirth in eastern Nigeria, particularly among the Ibibio ethnic group. I intend this paper to be a tool to help both human-rights activists and policy makers to effect positive change for girl children affected by early marriage. First, the paper examines the challenges posed to early marriage by the Nigerian Constitution, and human rights law. The article then focuses on the health risks involved in early pregnancies and, specifically, the fate of young women who are affected by vesico-vaginal fistulae (VVF). The author visited a VVF Centre in Mbribit Itam, Akwa Ibom State, and shares some of the experiences of the interviewees. The paper concludes with some suggestions for reform to address the interests and needs of women.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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