Ending child marriage: how can all development sectors play their part?

Photo credit: International Center for Research on Women

For those of us working on child marriage, it can often be tiring hearing that this is an issue confined to the realms of child protection, health or women’s rights. By talking about child marriage as a standalone issue we not only risk working in silos, but we hinder progress by failing to tap into innovative work happening across a range of development sectors.

That is why we at Girls Not Brides decided to team up with our friends at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) to explain how and why child marriage can be integrated into a range of sectors as diverse as economic growth, food security and democracy.

Building on ICRW’s 2015 Resource Guide, we developed 10 thematic briefs for donors and programmers looking to prevent and respond to child marriage as part of their work. Here’s what you need to know about these new resources and how to use them.

From gender-based violence and food security to economic growth, there will be a brief for you!

Child marriage prevention and response can be integrated in a number of sectors. That is why these briefs cover a wide range of themes and sectors.

Whether you work on gender-based violence, youth, global health, education, economic growth and workforce development, democracy, human rights, and governance, conflict and humanitarian crises, food security and nutrition and agriculture, energy, or environment – there’s something for everyone!

How can addressing child marriage help your sector achieve its goals? You’ll find answers in each brief

Each brief explains the connections between a specific sector and child marriage and how responding to child marriage will help that sector achieve its goals.

For example, for those working in humanitarian and conflict contexts, the brief explains why girls can become increasingly vulnerable to child marriage in times of uncertainty and provides strategies to integrate into a response. It also explains how addressing child marriage and the underlying gender inequalities that cause it can increase stability in such contexts and also promote future growth.

Preventing and mitigating child marriage in crisis and conflict situations can go a long way toward improving the health, human rights, and transition to development for girls and societies, not only in the immediate future, but for generations to come.

 

Technical tips and guidance to integrate child marriage into your programming

The briefs aim to provide technical guidance of how to integrate child marriage into the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of current or future programmes.

For each sector we’ve included recommended indicators to help you think about how to measure progress. These indicators can be used for dedicated child marriage programmes or incorporated into sectoral programmes to measure impact on outcomes related to child marriage prevention or response.

Tools to support your advocacy

These briefs can help you make the case to your colleagues in other departments – perhaps not traditionally associated with adolescent girl issues – about why child marriage is important and how it can be integrated into programmes.

We also hope they will encourage you to think about areas where we don’t naturally collaborate on the issue of child marriage and make the case to those working in these sectors.

Beyond the briefs: exploring further

We know these briefs are short and concise so we’ve included a box of further reading and resources at the end to help you explore the issue of child marriage in relation to each sector.

With evidence growing that child marriage has links to a range of development priorities, there is no better time to think about how we can integrate our response and prevention work and ensure our efforts are cross-sectoral and reinforce each other. Only by working together we will be more effective in creating real, sustainable change for girls around the world.

Were these briefs useful? We’d love to hear your feedback about the resources we develop.

Send your thoughts and comments to Kate.Whittington@GirlsNotBrides.org or leave a comment below.