Our Programs

Ending Child Marriage

Child marriage is a global violation of human rights that can be found in cultures, religions, ethnicities and countries around the world. Each year, 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married around the world. That is one girl every 3 seconds who is at a greater risk of violence, trapped in poverty, often pulled out of school and at risk of serious health complications or even death due to early pregnancy. If trends continue, nearly 1 billion women will have married before their 18th birthday by 2030. 

To achieve lasting change on a significant scale, UNICEF and UNFPA joined forces in 2016 for a multi-country initiative to protect the rights of millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls. The Global Programme 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. 

Since the program’s launch in 2016, more than 7.7 million adolescent girls and more than 4.2 million community members have been reached with information, skills and services.

How Zonta helps 

Zonta International was the first private sector donor and has donated US$2,000,000 to UNICEF USA to support the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme 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: 

  1. Building the skills and knowledge of girls at risk of child marriage
  2. Supporting households in demonstrating positive attitudes towards adolescent girls
  3. Strengthening the systems that deliver services to adolescent girls
  4. Ensuring laws and policies protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights
  5. 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.

Expected Outcomes

  1. National laws, policy frameworks and mechanisms to protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights are in line with international standards and properly resourced.
  2. 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.
  3. Relevant regional and local government ministries deliver quality and cost-effective services to meet the needs of adolescent girls.
  4. Households demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors toward investing in and supporting adolescent girls.
  5. Adolescent girls at risk of or affected by child marriage are better able to express and exercise their choices. 

Read a detailed project description to find out more about this exciting partnership between Zonta International, UNICEF USA and UNFPA.  

Zonta has been committed to ending child marriage since 2014. Click below to read a description of our past project, Delaying Early Marriage in Niger. 

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Related resources

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Program updates

Program documents

Ending Child Marriage
Project Description

The Impact of Your Support
Examples of what your gift could provide

Global Programme 2018 Annual Report
Turning Commitments Into Solid Actions

AUGUST 2019

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