Trócaire undertook research in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to better understand practices and experiences of polygamy. It looked at the different forms that polygamy takes in the communities reviewed, and the division of resources, responsibilities, power and privilege within polygamous unions.
It focused on the experiences of women within these unions.
Our research findings address the motivations for men and women entering into a polygamous marriage and the power dynamics that prevail within these marriages which have critical impacts on women’s access to material resources, emotional support and well-being and decision-making power over themselves and – where applicable - their children.
Recommendations inform programming elements including power analysis, targeting of programme participants, measuring impact, and strategies that reinforce enablers of women’s power and challenge the underlying power imbalance which so often leave women in polygamous marriages vulnerable and at risk.