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Making strides to end child marriage: Girls Not Brides Annual Report 2014

We are proud to present the Girls Not Brides annual report for 2014.

In the four years since Girls Not Brides launched, we have seen remarkable progress in efforts to end child marriage. Thanks to the collective work of our members and partners, child marriage is receiving unprecedented attention, moving from a taboo topic to a spotlight issue in international debate. This annual report is proof of how much we can achieve when we work together. Click to download:

Annual report cover

A growing and vibrant Partnership

2014 was a remarkable year for the Partnership, with the first substantive UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage, and inclusion of a target to end child marriage in the draft post-2015 development framework. We saw progress regionally, too. The African Union launched a two-year campaign, and governments in South Asia adopted a regional action plan to end child marriage.

As child marriage received greater global attention in 2014, Girls Not Brides came in to its own. From the first-ever Girl Summit to post-2015 negotiations and the UN General Assembly, the voice of civil society was loud and clear as Girls Not Brides members urged the global community to move beyond declarations that child marriage is a problem to ensuring greater funding, programmes and policies that will make a difference in girls’ lives.

Our collective voice was made ever stronger by our growing global Partnership. In 2014, we welcomed more than 100 new civil society organisations and our membership grew by 33%. By the end of the year we were more than 400 members strong and counted official Girls Not Brides national partnerships in multiple countries.

Collaborating to end child marriage

At the secretariat, we explored new ways to support members as they continued their work to offer girls a bright future. We launched a new series of webinars, enabling members to learn about other efforts to address child marriage and to access training and materials to help with challenges such as fundraising, advocacy and engaging the media.

Throughout the year we built a deeper understanding of what it will take to end child marriage and enable girls to thrive. More than 150 Girls Not Brides members and partners contributed to the development of a Theory of Change on child marriage. It is now being used to inform the work of members, donors and governments as they develop national strategies to end the practice.

Speeding up progress

New data released in 2014 demonstrates that our efforts are still incommensurate to the scale of child marriage. If there is no reduction in child marriage, the number of women who will have married as children will grow from 700 million today to 1.2 billion in 2050, with all the devastating consequences for girls, their families and our societies.

More investment and more programmes are urgently needed to reverse this alarming tide. At this critical moment, advocates to end child marriage must not only focus on sustaining global attention to the problem but also on supporting national and local change – and ultimately improvements in the lives of girls, where our efforts matter most.

Partnership will be more important than ever and, at Girls Not Brides, this is our guiding philosophy. We seek to ensure that national, regional and international efforts to end child marriage are informed by the reality of local and community-level action.

From the local to the global, we know that we are stronger when working together. We have seen the power of partnership in establishing child marriage as a global priority. Now we must work together to prompt nationwide change and community-level action that will enable every girl to thrive.