Her Choice seeks to examine the impact of the six Her Choice strategies on preventing and reducing the prevalence of child marriage in the different programme countries. A key goal of research conducted in the framework of the Her Choice programme is to determine which (combination of) strategies seems to be effective, and why.

The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the research partner of the Her Choice programme. The Her Choice research team is composed of three senior researchers (Dr. Winny Koster, Dr. Esther Miedema and Dr. Nicky Pouw), two junior researchers (Albena Sotirova and Philippe Meyer), two PhD candidates (Rashmila Shakya and Nashia Ajaz), and numerous UvA MSc and Research Master students. The research team is embedded in the AISSR’s research programme ‘Governance and Inclusive Development’.

The research team has conducted a mixed methods and multi-level baseline study in all project countries in 2016, recently completed the midline study (January 2019), and will undertake the endline study in 2020.

To best attribute change to programme interventions, the research uses a difference-in-difference design, drawing comparisons between ‘treatment’ and ‘comparison’ sites across different points in time (base-, mid- and end-line). For ethical reasons, rather than ‘pure’ control sites (where no intervention would take place), comparison sites were selected – that is, sites that were included in the programme but at a later stage than treatment sites. More detail on methodology can be found in the baseline study report.

In addition to the impact evaluation, the AISSR team is carrying out in-depth qualitative research, including two doctoral studies (in Nepal and Pakistan), and MSc and Research MSc studies.

An overview of the publications of our research team can be found below.

Annual Report 2018

2019 – The recent Midline Evaluation Report shows that, halfway through the programme, our joint efforts have already led to tangible results on the targets set for most indicators. This Annual Report for 2018 reflects this progress too, despite many challenges.

Midline Study - Synthesis Report

2019 – This report presents the findings of the Her Choice midline study. Her Choice is one of three Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights alliances working in partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue of child marriage.

Research Thesis: Engaging boys and male youth in building child marriage free communities in Ethiopia – by Marieke Pijnenburg, University of Amsterdam.

2019 – Influences on gender equal perceptions and practices of intimate/ marital relationships

Annual Report 2017

2018 – This report provides an overview of what happened within the Her Choice programme in 2017. The Her Choice team is excited to see encouraging examples of the programme’s holistic multi-strategy approach starting to pay off. An approach that involves not only girls, boys, teachers and leaders, but everyone in the community.

Research Thesis: “As much as you are alive, you have to get married and give birth” – by Zoe Byl, University of Amsterdam.

2019 – The Role of Sexuality Education in Shaping Aspirations for Young Women in Eastern Rural Ghana

Research Thesis: “If I have work and can take care of my children, I will become happy” – by Samy Verhaaren, University of Amsterdam.

2019 – A study to understand mental well-being and well-being enhancement among young married and single mothers in rural Eastern Region, Ghana

Research Thesis: “The word marriage in our language is not easy” - by Eleanor Marsh, University of Amsterdam.

2019 –  Young women’s experiences of marriage, inclusion and exclusion in Akpo, Eastern Region Ghana.

Research Thesis: Young women’s perceptions, agency and the influence of HER CHOICE in Uganda - by I.S. Garsbo, University of Amsterdam

2018 – This research thesis focuses on young married and single women’s perspectives and agency towards early marriage as well as examining the Her Choice (implemented by The Hunger Project Uganda) program’s  influence on their views in Mbale District, Uganda

Research Thesis: Young men and women and child marriage in Iganga, Uganda - by T. Schmeink, University of Amsterdam

2018 – Following the critiques on the human rights-based discourse around child marriage, this thesis aims to give in-depth insight into the perceptions and agency of young people related to marriage and child marriage in Iganga, Uganda.

Research Thesis: Well-being of married girls in rural Eastern Ghana - by B. Haga, University of Amsterdam

2018 – This research thesis investigates the perspectives child brides in rural Eastern Ghana have on their overall well-being, and the ways in which they navigate the structures that impact their ability to exercise agency to better their own well-being.

Annual Report 2016

2017 – This Annual Progress Report gives an overview of the efforts and accomplishments, which
have been achieved during the first year of implementing the Her Choice programme. 32
implementing partners and 4 Netherlands based alliance members, unified within the scope
of the Her Choice Alliance, realised the programme in 11 countries in Africa and Asia in

Baseline Study - Synthesis Report

2017 – This report presents the findings of the Her Choice baseline study. Her Choice is one of three Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights alliances working in partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue of child marriage.

Research Thesis: Early marriage and child grooms in Nepalgunj, Nepal - by R. Bowe, University of Amsterdam

2017 – Because of the greater attention given to females within child marriage, this research thesis seeks to fill a knowledge gap around the practices of early marriage that include ‘child grooms’, and the subsequent ways in which these individuals navigate their lives with this label.

Research Thesis: The value of early marriage in Amhara Region, Ethiopia - by L.M. Vergroesen, University of Amsterdam

2017 – While marriage under 18 is legally prohibited in Ethiopia and many NGOs are working on the prevention of early marriage (EM), in Amhara region prevalence is still as high as 45%. This research aims to gain insight into the reasons behind such situation.

Research Thesis: Early marriage in rural Kolda, Senegal: whose choice? - by L. Juanola van Keizerswaard, University of Amsterdam

2017 – This research thesis aims to uncover decision-making processes that inform young women and men’s preferences around whether, when and who to marry by exploring local understandings around marriage, family (formation) and sexuality.

Research Thesis: Sexuality education implementation and influence in Nepalgunj, Nepal - by K. Dewart, University of Amsterdam

2017 – This research thesis seeks to investigate how sexuality education is implemented in a government-funded school in the town of Nepalgunj, and its potential influence on the decisions of boys and girls concerning sexual health, gender and relationships and in extension early marriage.

Understanding and addressing child marriage

2016 – A scoping study of available academic and programmatic literature for the HER CHOICE Alliance. Commissioned by the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Amsterdam.


Photo credit photo on the left: Millie Albon