Building an alliance to end child marriage

In June 2011, three members of The Elders– Gro Brundtland, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu – travelled to Ethiopia to visit projects that are successfully educating families and communities about the harmfulness of early marriage. Back in the capital, Addis Ababa, they were joined by their fellow Elder Graça Machel and 70 activists from 23 countries who are working to end child marriage.

They discussed the challenges they face, from scaling up small community projects to dealing with sensitive topics such as reproductive health and the role of religion and tradition. At the end of their two-day meeting, the group agreed to create a global alliance to end child marriage – “a collective voice”, in the words of Tilahun Giday from Ethiopia, “that will be heard around the globe.”