Girls Not Brides - Campaign To End Child Marriage

Child marriage is forced upon girls around the world.  Every year, according to Unicef, 15 million girls are married under the age of 18 years, many before they are 15 and some when they are as young as 8 or 9. These girls are denied their rights to health, education and opportunity, and robbed of their childhood. Many are robbed of their lives – pregnancy and complications of childbirth are among the leading causes of death among girls aged 15-19 in low and middle-income countries.

The rates of child marriage are declining. Many countries have prohibited the practice. However, it is entrenched and defended in many communities and if it is not challenged, by 2030 an estimated 15.4 million girls a year – and many boys too - will marry as children.

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Three Southern African states are among the 15 countries with the highest rates of child marriage; they are Malawi (50%), Mozambique (48%) and Zambia (42%).

Governments, civil society, traditional leaders, UN agencies and donors in these countries are taking action to reduce and eliminate child marriage. However, it will take a long and concerted campaign to ensure that children are protected, in practice as well as under the law.

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 500 civil society organisations from over 70 countries committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential.

Members are based throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. They share the conviction that every child has the right to lead the life that she or he chooses and that, by ending child marriage, we can achieve a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for all.

To find out more about child marriage and efforts to end it, and to support those efforts, you can go to www.girlsnotbrides.org/take-action or #Girlsnotbrides

You are also welcome to share your successes, challenges and lessons from working to end child marriage, with the SexRightsAfrica.net network here.