Empirical findings on early marriage through the prism of vernacularisation presented

On 8 December 2021, Isabela Warioba, lecturer at Mzumbe University, succesfully defended her PhD on child marriage in Shinyanga region, Tanzania. 

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, a webinar was held on ‘Child marriage and health: Protagonism and/or protectionism?’.

The webinar presented empirical findings on children’s rights, child marriage and health challenges, and offered an overview of the academic state of the art. Speakers included Seraphina Bakta (Mzumbe University), Isabela Warioba (Mzumbe University), Hoko Horii (Leiden University), Marta Ricci, Child protection specialist, Plan International Belgium and Wouter Vandenhole (University of Antwerp). The webinar was a joint initiative of the University of Antwerp Law and Development Research Group (Belgium) and the Law Faculty of Mzumbe University (Tanzania). Since early 2020, Mzumbe University (Tanzania) and the University of Antwerp run a joint action research project on a human rights based approach to health challenges associated with child marriages in Tanzania (funded by VLIR-UOS). Empirical socio-legal research has been undertaken in Dodoma Region to better understand the dynamics in relation to the health challenges associated with child marriages in Tanzania.

In her PhD, Dr Warioba found that the local actors use different techniques to facilitate the acceptance of international human rights standards. These techniques include strategic use of the global human rights package, specific framing of their message against child marriage and also delivery of the message through specific channels and technologies that can facilitate acceptance. It is also a key finding of this research that the vernacularisation of human rights has had some impact on making human rights norms relevant in addressing child marriage at the local level. 

However, if translators are to be effective in promoting acceptance of international norms on child marriage at the local level, vernacularisation of human rights has to be complemented with uncovering and addressing concerns of the local communities which cause resistance towards the adoption of international human rights norms on child marriage.