2015 is a critical year for international development as governments decide the global development priorities for the coming 15 years.
At the end of the year, the post-2015 development framework will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of goals to reduce global poverty. From maternal health to education and gender equality, the absence of child, early and forced marriage and adolescent girls in the MDGs has hindered progress on 6 out of 8 major development issues.
If we want to achieve sustainable development, ending child, early and forced marriage must be a priority in the new framework.
To achieve this goal, we must speak out to urge governments to support a target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development framework. Governments have started negotiating the final goals and targets - now is the time to double our efforts at the national level and make our voices heard and count.
The Girls Not Brides secretariat has developed a post-2015 advocacy toolkit for members and other organisations that wish to encourage their governments to support a target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development agenda.
Calling for a target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 agenda
In 2014 we saw that when we work together incredible things are achieved. From the resolution in the UN General Assembly, to regional and national action plans to end child marriage, an unprecedented number of governments are committing to end child, early and forced marriage. However, we need to move beyond commitments to ensuring that real action happens on the ground.
The post-2015 framework will likely influence development priorities for governments and donors in the next 15 years, driving funding, attention and programming on a range of global issues. A target to end child, early and forced marriage in the next set of goals will maintain long-term focus on the issue while guiding resources and funding to the ground, bringing about real change in the lives of girls, their communities and countries.
There has been fantastic, growing support for a target to end child, early and forced marriage. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed the target which will be negotiated by governments.
But now is where the real work begins – we have to make sure the target is supported and stays in the final development framework. In order to achieve this, we need as many people as possible calling for their governments to support the target, in their own countries.
Who is the advocacy toolkit for?
We developed this post-2015 advocacy toolkit for our members and others working on the issue, to support efforts to urge governments to speak out in favour of the target.
A target to end child, early and forced marriage in the next set of goals will maintain long-term focus on the issue while guiding resources and funding to the ground, bringing about real change in the lives of girls, their communities and countries.
The toolkit provides an overview of the post-2015 process and the opportunities for action, a guide to create and implement your own national advocacy plan, and template worksheets and sample messaging framework that you can tailor to your national context.
Top tips for using the toolkit:
- Dip into the sections relevant to you. The toolkit isn’t designed to be read cover to cover. It contains a mixture of theory and practical examples, choose the parts most relevant to your work.
- Context, context, context. In order to make your advocacy as strong and credible as possible, it’s crucial that you tailor your advocacy to your national context. Go to section 4.3 of the toolkit for examples of the legal and policy context, relevant data and government commitments you can include.
- Share what you are doing. Project your message by using the media (see section 7 for how to develop a media strategy). And tell us about the fantastic advocacy you will be undertaking so that we can amplify your calls, measure our common impact, share learnings and connect organisations in-country.
Our advocacy should be strategic and targeted. This way, we will be the most effective, and impactful. The advocacy team at Girls Not Brides is here to support your advocacy efforts. Please contact Ommera Zafar ([email protected]) and share your plans with her.
Please share the toolkit with your colleagues and networks. Acting as a global movement speaking with one voice, we can make sure that our demands are not ignored.
Good luck with your post-2015 advocacy. We look forward to working with you all over the coming months to make child, early and forced marriage a global priority.
In the time it has taken to read this article 49 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
Ommera Zafar is Policy Assistant at Girls Not Brides.