Globally, 21% of girls are married before they turn 18, robbing them of their childhood.
Each year, another 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married around the world. Child marriage is globally recognized as a harmful practice and a human rights violation. However, despite laws against it, the practice remains widespread and can be found in cultures, religions, ethnicities and countries around the world. Ending child marriage requires addressing, over a period of time, the complex sociocultural and structural factors underpinning the practice. As a result, the Global Programme to End Child Marriage was designed to address the issue over a 15-year period from 2015 through 2030. During this time, the priority remains on engaging adolescent girls as key agents of change in the following 12 countries with high prevalence of child marriage: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Zonta has supported ending child marriage since 2014, contributing US$2 million to delay early marriage in Niger from 2014-2018. From 2018-2020, Zonta contributed US$2 million to the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage – the first private-sector donor to the Global Programme. In 2020, Zonta International announced an additional commitment of US$1,500,000 to UNICEF USA to support Phase II of the Global Programme through 2022. Overall goals of Phase II include:
Read a detailed project description to find out more about this exciting partnership between Zonta International, UNICEF USA and UNFPA. Read the 2018-2020 description.
Watch: Going door to door to end child marriage
Girls’ Club rescues adolescents from marriage in rural Ethiopia
Listen: "Take Action: End Child Marriage, an Obstacle to Global Development" Webinar by Zonta and UNICEF USA