Dr. Ashley N. Lackovich-Van Gorp is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Lackovich-Van Gorp shown here with her Disseration at her Dissertation Defense, August 2014, Yellow Springs, Ohio

L-R : Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Member, Dr Ashley N. Lackovich-Van Gorp, Dr. Al Guskin, Committee Chair, Dr. Lize Booysen, Committee Member

Not Shown : Monique Sternin, Committee Member, Dr. Sandra Cheldelin, External Reader


positive deviance, child marriage, Ethiopia, Sidama, action research, mothers, daughters, abduction, harmful traditional practice, adaptive behavior change, adolescents

Document Type


Publication Date



This dissertation uses Positive Deviance (PD) to understand child marriage by abduction in a community in the Sidama Zone of Ethiopia. Marriage by abduction occurs among the poorest 10% of the Sidama population and entails the kidnapping of girls between the ages of 10 and 14 for forced genital circumcision, rape and marriage. PD is a problem solving approach that mobilizes a community to uncover existing yet unrecognized solutions to solve the specific problem. This study, which entailed an examination of the evolution of marriage norms among the Sidama as well as an analysis of the underpinnings of marriage by abduction, discovered that some community members practice behaviors and strategies that can prevent child marriage by abduction. The results support PD application to this specific form of child marriage as well as the practice as a whole, offering an alternative to traditional behavior change methodology. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center,


Ashley N. Lackovich-Van Gorp, PhD

Dr. Ashley Lackovich-Van Gorp is an international consultant for Girl Child Protection and Adaptive Behavior Change. Working in Ethiopia for organizations such as the Center for Creative Leadership and the Population Council, Ashley designs, implements and evaluates rights-based humanitarian and development programs. She focuses on adolescent girls, specializing in child marriage, married adolescents and life skills programming. Previously, Ashley lived in Israel/Palestine, where she worked on gender equity, youth rehabilitation and psychosocial programs with the Palestinian population. She has taught anthropology at Antioch College.

Ashley is the founding executive director of Enhance Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that helps adolescent girls navigate challenges through access to education and the development of life skills. Published by organizations such as the International Leadership Association and the United Nations Development Programme, Ashley currently blogs for Girls’ Globe about issues facing girls and women in the poorest 10% of the global population. She also serves on the advisory board of Women in International Security (WIIIS) West.

Ashley’s Girls’ Globe blog:

Twitter: @anlackovich