Worldwide, almost 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday and an estimated 280 million more girls are at risk of becoming brides. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030.
Child marriage is a global violation of human rights that can be found in cultures, religions, ethnicities and countries around the world. Recognizing that only a long-term strategy will ensure the desired outcomes, UNICEF and UNFPA have joined forces and formally launched a multi-country initiative to protect the rights of millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls. The Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage brings together governments, civil society, families and young people in a collective effort to prevent girls from marrying too young and to support those already married as girls.
To date, more than 1 million girls have been reached through life skills and school attendance support and 1.67 million individuals have been engaged in community-based behavior change and sensitization activities.
How Zonta helps
Zonta International has committed US$2,000,000 to UNICEF USA to support the UNICEF/UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage in 12 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
The program is turning commitment into tangible action to effect meaningful and lasting change in girls’ lives by focusing on five main strategies:
- Building the skills and knowledge of girls at risk of child marriage
- Supporting households in demonstrating positive attitudes towards adolescent girls
- Strengthening the systems that deliver services to adolescent girls
- Ensuring laws and policies protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights
- Generating and using robust data to inform programs and policies relating to adolescent girls.
Under the umbrella of these five main strategies, each country will have specific strategies that respond to the context and factors that lead girls into early marriage.
- National laws, policy frameworks and mechanisms to protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights are in line with international standards and properly resourced.
- Government(s) and partners within and across countries support the generation and use of robust data and evidence to inform policy and programming, track progress and document lessons.
- Relevant regional and local government ministries deliver quality and cost-effective services to meet the needs of adolescent girls.
- Households demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors toward investing in and supporting adolescent girls.
- Adolescent girls at risk of or affected by child marriage are better able to express and exercise their choices.
Read more about this exciting partnership between Zonta International, UNICEF USA and UNFPA.