In mid-February, 36 participants from the Girls Not Brides Uganda National Partnership, the Ugandan government and the African Union Commission, met together for a 3 day workshop. Together, we started the process of co-creating a workplan and strategy to strengthen the impact of the financial investment to end child marriage in Uganda. This marks the next step in our collective response - a chance to understand each other better, celebrate past successes, build consensus on the important issues, and take initial steps towards a strategic work plan.
The high-energy, high-engagement meeting was the first of its kind in Uganda, bringing together members from across the country to discuss how to work as a collective, what the role of individual members could be, and to create a united response. The take-away was clear for all - it’s about what each of us can give to the movement, not what the movement can give to each of us.
The co- creation workshop not only gave me an opportunity to decide the future of Girls Not Brides Uganda National Alliance but also look within what we are doing in Amani Initiative to end child marriage and how this directly contributes to the mandate of the Alliance. We can only sustainably end child marriage by our collective ideas, and this is what the co- creation workshop was all about.Nixon Ochatre, Amani Initiative, Northern Region Coordinator for Girls Not Brides Uganda National Partnership
There were 3 main areas of engagement:
- Storytelling for Impact - Communication and Advocacy: Geared towards understanding the power of collective communication, this emotive sharing session equipped participants with learning on how to approach different challenges within the advocacy process. We shared our stories and experiences, helping to encourage and build solidarity as a movement.
- Lessons learnt on what works to end child marriage - linking global and grassroots work: We looked at recent evidence from the CRANK global convening as well current interventions of ECM by Uganda’s Ministry of Gender. The need for continued collaboration with CSO’s came out strongly, as well as strengthening birth certificate registration and the need to tackle child marriage from a multisectoral approach by partners.
- Project design and development - building skills for work-planning: These interactive, practical sessions were an eye opener for participants to explore the processes of project design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. We agreed priority areas for funding over the next 3 years - including advocacy, stakeholder collaboration, end harmful traditional norms and practices, and enhancing data and evidence on child marriage.
The workshop was a great opportunity of meeting people at the forefront of ending child marriage from the grassroots in Uganda, and those at African regional and international level. It was also an opportunity to learn from one another, share experience and share strategies of supporting marriage girls and those at risk.Moses Ntenga, Executive Director , Joy for Children / Chair, Girls Not Brides Uganda National Partnership.
This is just the start of the collective strategy development - and we’ll now build on this base with more detailed work-planning and design. Collective action is not a one-off event but a way of working, a mindset - and a web of relationships. Watch this space.
In the time it has taken to read this article 32 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
That is 23 girls every minute
Nearly 1 every 2 seconds
Girls Not Brides