Five years ago today, Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage was born. Our mission was simple – though by no means easy: to end child marriage in a generation. In just a few years, we have made significant headway towards achieving our goal. Just how much is the question at the heart of “IT TAKES A MOVEMENT: REFLECTING ON FIVE YEARS OF PROGRESS TOWARDS ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE”.
Although significant global, regional and national commitments have been made to end child marriage, commitments need to be matched by action or the number of girls married as children will hit a staggering 1.2 billion by 2050.
Progress to date includes:
1) A rise in the number of global and regional commitments, including the adoption of target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals which commits 193 countries to ending child marriage by 2030.
2) A growing number of national strategies to end child marriage, with at least 14 countries having developed or in the process of developing. Many other countries have reformed their laws or policies to increase the age of marriage to 18, removed exceptions, or toughened punishment for perpetrators.
3) An increase in the number of programmes tackling child marriage, including the launch of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Efforts to End Child Marriage in 12 countries.
4) A vibrant movement to end child marriage. Not only as Girls Not Brides grown to over 600 civil society organisations in more than 80 countries, but a movement of parliamentarians, youth activists, and celebrities have also helped to break the taboo around child marriage.
5) Now better than ever, we understand what needs to be done to end child marriage and support married girls. In partnership with members, partners and experts, Girls Not Brides has developed a Theory of Change on Child Marriage, which maps out the different approaches needed, and a check list to develop comprehensive national strategies on child marriage.
6) There is now more funding going to interventions tackling child marriage. However, given the scale of the problem, the response remains highly inadequate and too many community organisations lack the funds needed to do their work.
We have come a long way but much more needs to be done. Exactly what can be summarised into seven key areas:
On Wednesday 28 September, we held a tweet-chat with youth advocates and civil society organisations to talk about they progress they thought the movement had made to end child marriage. Have a look at the conversation highlights below.
In the time it has taken to read this article 25 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 3 seconds