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Child marriages in West Africa are driven by factors ranging from building ties between families and communities, to easing poverty by having one less mouth to feed and taking a dowry.West and Central Africa have some of the world's highest rates of child marriage – three in four girls in Niger, and more than half in Mali, are married by the time they turn 18 – according to the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF).Child marriage often cuts short a girl's education and increases the possibility of death in childbirth or injuries.The morning after a marriage, bloodstained white sheets may be celebrated a sign of pride for the girl's family, the report by Plan said."The pupils are eager to learn and access such services, but parents are scared it may make their children more promiscuous," said Adama Kouyate, a biology teacher at the school in Mahou.Despite such fears, being in school and getting good grades can persuade a girl's parents to allow her to finish her education before marriage is even considered, according to Plan.Yet if schools are too far away or the costs too expensive, child marriage is often seen by parents as the only alternative.
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