On International Women’s Day, we celebrate a ground-breaking collaboration to end child marriage. Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, Girls First Fund and VOW for Girls are delighted to join together with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance in a collective effort to accelerate change for girls.
This new collaboration is a huge achievement for the movement to end child marriage, possible only because of the hard work and endurance of many to bring this issue to the fore. The alliance with these three influential women is a rallying cry that we must act together and act now.
As Amal Clooney, Melinda French Gates, and Michelle Obama write in TIME today, "Child marriage is a barrier to the better, more equal world girls deserve. That's why our organisations are joining forces to help end the practice once and for all."
This new initiative is grounded in our belief in the value of every girl and a shared commitment to seeing girls everywhere claim their rights and reach their full potential. We are coming together — each organisation with our own area of expertise, relationships, and influence — to help end the practice once and for all.
Our experience at the Girls First Fund demonstrates that directly resourcing community-based organisations to combine and prioritise different tactics can lead to long lasting changes. We are excited at the prospect of this new collaboration to deepen our work in amplifying the voices of girls and frontline actors, supporting them to pursue viable alternatives to early unions and marriages, and accelerating ongoing efforts to end this harmful practice.Fanta Touré-Puri, Fund Director at Girls First Fund
Together, we aim to leverage more funding dedicated to addressing this issue; and to amplify the voices of girls and leaders who are creating change in their communities. We will focus our efforts on:
- Supporting civil society and grassroots-led efforts to end child marriage.
- Supporting girls’ agency along with their access to basic social services, particularly education and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).
- Joining women and girls in taking legal action to advocating for their rights, including women and girl-centred legal action.
Child marriage affects everything from a girl's legal rights, safety, health, education, ability to earn money and freedom. We're grateful to Melinda French Gates, Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney for lending their powerful voices to underscore the importance of solving this key, yet often overlooked issue in the ongoing fight for gender equality. Together we can safeguard girl's futures."Clay Dunn CEO of VOW for Girls
At the heart of this collaboration is our belief in the power of collective action. This new initiative strengthens and aligns our individual efforts, puts child marriage on the agenda in new arenas, and brings much needed resources to the work.
As the global movement to end child marriage, we believe that it’s not one leader but many leaders who are needed to spearhead change for girls. We are delighted to be joined by the leaders from the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, Clooney Foundation for Justice, and Gates Foundation in our efforts to accelerate change for girls. Together with other leaders across the movement we are confident we will get closer to the vision of ending child marriage in our generation."Faith Mwangi-Powell, CEO of Girls Not Brides
In the time it has taken to read this article 35 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds
Girls Not Brides
Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage is a civil society partnership of over 1600 organisations in more than 100 countries working together to end child marriage. Over the last decade, Girls Not Brides have built global and national ecosystems for change, fostering global and national collective action for policy change and implementation.
Girls First Fund
Girls First Fund is a funding partnership dedicated to radically expanding resources to underfunded national and community-based organisations working to address child marriage and gender inequality in their communities. The first donor collaborative of its kind, Girls First Fund supports its partners through core, flexible and long-term funding, alongside targeted mentoring and knowledge-sharing to end child marriages and influence positive change at the individual, community, and policy levels.
VOW for Girls
VOW for Girls is a global movement that partners with brands, individuals, and the wedding industry to end child marriage. Creating innovative partnerships for change, VOW for Girls works to fill funding gaps to ensure that grassroots organisations working to end child marriage are sustainably resourced to effect change in their communities.