The more of us there are, the stronger we will be. You can accelerate progress towards gender equality, by bolstering and supporting growth of the movement to end child marriage. The movement needs to be diverse and inclusive, representing girl- and youth-led organisations, humanitarian actors and others across multiple sectors.
We must collectively strengthen, grow and invest in the movement to effectively advocate for an end to child marriage as part of the broader campaign for girls’ and women’s rights.
Governments, civil society organisations and other stakeholders should:
- Increase funding for movements, collective action and individual civil society organisations, and ensure it is multiyear and flexible. This should be for non-governmental and community-based organisations and networks, including those that are women-, girls- and youth-led, and those working on protection, gender equality, gender-based violence and adolescent girl-focused programming. This will ensure that civil society organisations can do collective advocacy, research and programming, and hold governments and other decision-makers to account for their commitments and human rights obligations.
- Strengthen and diversify the movement to end child marriage to reach diverse communities and stakeholders, and maximise our credibility. This should include fostering the participation of youth- and women-led organisations, and strengthening their leadership within the movement. It also means reaching out to families, parents, traditional and religious leaders, academics, UN agencies, service provides and governments, and working with them to transform social norms and ensure girls have the future they deserve. This will ensure that communities that practise child marriage are represented in the movement, and that the movement is refreshed and sustained through the inclusion of young leaders, adopts gender-transformative approaches, and works with the widest possible network of allies.
- Invest in learning and evidence around what works to end child marriage and advance girls’ rights and agency. This means focusing on current challenges like climate crisis, rising gender-based violence and deepening inequalities. This will guide the movement to invest in the programmes and advocacy that are most effective and impactful, which respond to the current political and social context, and challenge gender norms for sustainable change.
These recommendations come from Girls Not Brides Decade of Progress report. This is a milestone paper marking our tenth anniversary which brings together insights we have gained and steps we must all take to harness our collective energy and accelerate change over the next decade.