Girls Not Brides, one year after the Girl Summit: taking stock of progress

In July last year, the UK government and UNICEF hosted the first Girl Summit to mobilise political and financial commitments to end child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting within a generation.

The Summit prompted commitments from a number of governments, inter-governmental agencies and civil society organisations, including Girls Not Brides and many of its members.

One year on, how did we do?

Girls Not Brides 500 Members - English

Expand and empower the movement

With now more than 500 members in over 70 countries working to end child marriage, Girls Not Brides has exceeded its target for membership growth.

Not only is our partnership growing bigger, it is also growing stronger. In May this year, we brought together hundreds of Girls Not Brides members in Morocco for our first Global Member Meeting. It was an opportunity to strengthen and empower the global partnership through collaboration, shared learning about what interventions and solutions work, and capacity-building sessions.

Girls Not Brides also holds regular capacity-building webinars and meetings to strengthen and support the work of grassroots organisations working to end child marriage. Have a look at past webinars on our Resource Centre.

Help identify what works and how we measure it

As a global partnership, Girls Not Brides works to ensure that new and existing evidence – particularly on the solutions to child marriage and on insights emerging from non-traditional sources – is shared widely.

Building on our work to develop a common Theory of Change, we have launched an interactive version which shows the range of strategies needed to end child marriage and how they intersect. We also held a workshop with Girls Not Brides members to identify indicators to measure progress and impact on child marriage.

Hold governments accountable

For months, Girls Not Brides and members have called for the inclusion of a target to end child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development framework, which sets out the development priorities for the international community until 2030, replacing the current Millennium Development Goals.

In 2014, hundreds of members signed onto joint letters to the UN Secretary General and the working group drafting the framework, and we were heard! Target 5.3 which sets out to ‘eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations’, has been included under goal 5, ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’, in the draft framework.

In 2015, Girls Not Brides coordinated input from civil society into the first substantive UN Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage. This led to strong joint recommendations and a final text that incorporates many Girls Not Brides members’ suggestions.

Expand the funding base

Lasting change has to happen on the ground and realising this on a meaningful scale requires adequate resources. Since the Girl Summit, Girls Not Brides has continued advocating in favour of an increase in long-term funding to address child marriage, from both existing and new donors, including funding from governments of high-prevalence countries.

Girls Not Brides has also worked with members to strengthen their ability to secure funds. Thanks to partnerships with crowdfunding platforms GlobalGivingUK and Catapult, a number of members in Asia and Africa have received training on crowdfunding and successfully raised funds online as a result.

We have also developed a brief to support members’ fundraising efforts: “Sources of funding for child marriage work”.

Raise the profile of promising national efforts

In September 2014, Girls Not Brides champion Archbishop Desmond Tutu and our Board Chair, Mabel van Oranje, travelled to Zambia where the government had recently committed to a national action plan to end child marriage.

They met government ministers, civil society, religious and traditional leaders and young people. Their visit drew national media attention as they promoted an integrated approach to end child marriage and support married girls.

Following this trip, Girls Not Brides produced a video about efforts to end child marriage in Zambia so that they could inspire coordinated action in other countries. Watch the film:

Earlier this month, we also launched a report, “Lessons learned from selected national initiatives to end child marriage”, which explores what lessons can be learned from national initiatives in Egypt, Ethiopia, Nepal and Zambia.

Girls Not Brides will continue to advocate for the coordination of efforts to end child marriage in high-prevalence countries, the development and implementation of nation-wide plans and the meaningful inclusion of civil society in nation-wide responses to child marriage.