Happy new year! As we settle into the new year, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate what we achieved in 2022, and to lay out our plans for the coming 12 months – and beyond!
Firstly, I’d like to thank each of you – member organisations, allies, global partners and supporters – for your commitment to protecting and expanding girls’ and adolescents' rights. We have all felt the deepening effects of climate change, conflict, COVID-19 and rising costs of living, but it is girls and adolescents who are put most at risk when crisis looms. So, our collective work is more important than ever as we head into 2023.
Looking back: 7 exciting developments from 2022
1) Launch of our Partnership Strategy for 2022-25
Developed in collaboration with member organisations from across the world, this Strategy provides a roadmap for our collective work in a world changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, we need to work together – finding strength in our diversity – and accelerate action to end child marriage and achieve gender equality.
2) Launch of the first ever National Partnership in Latin America and the Caribbean
Launched with the Mesa a Favor de las Niñas y Adolescents, the Guatemala National Partnership will build on community-based experiences to advocate collectively at the national level. In a country where 30% of girls marry or enter a union before age 18, they will work together to ensure all girls and adolescents can make choices about their lives and bodies.
3) Using sports to challenge gender norms in India
There are many sports in Indian culture, but girls and young women are often excluded because of social and gender norms around what is expected of girls to be “good” and, ultimately, to be “marriageable”. In 2022, we worked with member organisations to use sports participation to shift gender norms and support girls to identify and develop their strengths and leadership skills, so they can make more choices about their lives.
4) Strengthening youth movement to end child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting in Kenya and Tanzania
A new generation of young ambassadors set out to create change in the cross-border Kuria community in Kenya and Tanzania. Girls Not Brides’ National Partnership in Kenya and the Tanzania Ending Child Marriage Network trained 133 young people to take collective, community-based action, building trust and partnering with diverse stakeholders to transform social norms in a community where 80% of girls are at risk of child marriage. The project was made possible with the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
5) Amplifying solutions from Indigenous communities
In Latin America and the Caribbean, child marriage is often treated as an exclusively Indigenous cultural practice. This masks the structural causes of the practice, and makes it difficult to propose solutions that go beyond prohibitive laws. At a side event to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, we supported Indigenous adolescents, youth and women from Latin America and the Caribbean to share their own recommendations for urgent action, which you can read in our blog.
6) UN General Assembly adopts resolution on child, early and forced marriage (CEFM)
The United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted a resolution to end CEFM. With technical input from Girls Not Brides, key gains include the focus on the multiple and intersecting factors that put girls – and particularly adolescent girls and girls from other marginalised populations – at risk, and progressive language on their sexual and reproductive rights, education and autonomy. Find out more in our blog and write to your government using our template letter.
7) First global research convening to strengthen coordination and action to end child marriage
In this three-day event, the Child Marriage Research to Action Network (the CRANK) brought together researchers, practitioners, advocates and funders from around the world to bring a fresh lens to the latest evidence, working in partnership and the child marriage research funding landscape. They also launched a new online research tracker, with filters making it easy to explore and identify the latest research around the world.
Looking forward: 3 areas of work for 2023
1) Strengthening collective action at the national and sub-national level
We know we are stronger when we work together. That’s why we’ll continue to support and invest in the Girls Not Brides member organisations – through National Partnerships and coalitions – working together to drive change in their own countries.
2) Keeping child marriage on the agenda and pushing for action with and for girls
As we face interconnected global crises, we will work tirelessly to ensure girls and adolescents are at the centre of our responses. We'll be bringing their experiences and priorities into key advocacy spaces, particularly around girls’ education, humanitarian and crisis settings, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
3) Facilitating learning and driving evidence-based collective action
As a global Partnership, we have a wealth of experiences, learnings and solutions to end child marriage and advance girls’ rights. We’ll continue to promote shared learning and uptake of evidence through the CRANK and our online learning series. We’ll also be developing an interactive online knowledge and learning hub to deepen opportunities for exchange and collaboration.
Join the movement!
Ensuring all girls can access their rights, including if, when and whom to marry, is everyone’s responsibility. And the good news is, if we work together we can achieve real change. Here are some ways you could get involved:
- Donate: Girls Not Brides member organisations are a diverse network of civil society organisations working to end child marriage around the world. Find a project that interests you and donate directly to them .
- Learn: The best way to start getting involved is by learning with our member organisations from across the globe, and making sure you’re using the latest information in your own advocacy. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news, updates, opportunities and stories from the global Partnership.
- Engage and raise awareness: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn to stay up to date with events, programmes, blogs and resources related to child marriage.
In the time it has taken to read this article 62 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
A collective agenda for the Global Partnership
Collective action to address child marriages and unions in Guatemala
Changing the game: How girls’ sports participation in India is helping to end child marriage
UN General Assembly adopts resolution on child, early and forced marriage
How Indigenous women and young people say we should address child marriage, together
Child Marriage Research to Action Network
The CRANK is a joint initiative and platform for a coordinated global research agenda on child marriage, and to encourage the uptake of research by policy makers and practitioners. On…