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Solutions to end Child Marriage

Introduction

Child marriage is any formal marriage or informal union where one or both of the parties are under 18 years of age. It is fueled by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity. End of child marriage matters because it It exposes girls to violence throughout their lives and traps them in a cycle of poverty.

Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute . 1 every 2 seconds.

Child marriage looks different from one community to the next one so solutions must be local and contextual. This report, based on the Brides Theory of Change, describes the different approaches to the issue of child marriage.

Solutions to End Child Marriage

It is important to remember that there is no single best solution to ending child marriage. It is vital that an integrated approach is taken to address this problem. Different sectors must come together to end this horrid practice.

Empower Girls

Girl Centered research brief, the most successful aspect of the approachforreducing child marriage. Administering resourcesDirectlythe girls themselves are more effective than directed at families and communities.

Safe Space Programs

Creating safe spaces provides an opportunity for them to access their own community. These spaces can successfully build girls’self confidence and self esteem. Safe spaces can be easily accessed by girls who do not have access to formal education. Meeting regularly with girls can cause a sense of isolation and vulnerability. Some programs also include economic empowerment components that allow cash or good transfers.

Supporting Young People to be Agents of Change

Working with young people not only allows them to help them in their own communities. Youth groups, encouraging dialogue between youth and community leaders, and building the capacity of young people.

Mobilize Families and Communities

Working With Men and Boys

In many communities, men hold power and make decisions are so vital that they are included in any approach. Interventions targeting fathers, brothers, husbands, and future husbands are important to help them reflect on the status quo and see the benefits of a community and their full potential.

Religious and Traditional Leaders

Religious and community leaders can play a key role in changing community attitudes. In communities where religious and traditional leaders play a prominent role in decision-making or influencing the prevailing norms, targeted interventions can influence them to become positive advocates for change who fully understand the implications of child marriage for girls and their families.

Community Level Change

Change must be grassroots and driven to the community level above all else. This is done by campaigning, holding community conversations, and using a variety of creative techniques such as street theater and art to reflect on the practice of child marriage and their harmful impact on girls and their communities.

Social norm change should be systematic and intensive. Community members should meet with trained facilitators and should beproblem solving.

Create task forces at the district and block levels, child protection committees at the village level and parents, youth and girl groups.

Changing Norms at Scale

To change norms at scale, organizations are using mass media campaigns, radio, TV, digital media, and other innovative methods to raise awareness of girls’ rights and the impact of child marriage.

Provide Services

Accessible, high quality and safe schooling

Education builds knowledge, opens new opportunities, and can help shift the norms around the value of girls in the community. Keeping girls in school is an effective way to prevent girls from marrying but it is not enough. Girls need support to transition to secondary schools. For married girls, it is important to encourage and support them to continue their education or to be part of a safe, practical, part-time, remote or vocational learning. Promotion of schooling should be taken into accountquality of education.

Strategies to improve the perceived value of girls’ education, improvement of the transition from education to work, making parents and community members actively seeks to make education compulsory.

Strategies for overcoming barriers to access: At the most basic level, build more schools in rural areas. Another option includes building community schools – schools which are created locally and have a high degree of community involvement in school management. These may represent a more accessible alternative to traditional,

Strategies to reduce the cost of schooling, including abolishing schools, free transfer and cash transfers. Cash transfers may be unconditional or conditional on staying in school or other aspects of a girls development, such as remaining unmarried or not getting pregnant. Cash transfers increase school enrollment only if programs are designed by local context.

Strategies that make schools safer for girls and acts of sexual violence, physical, or psychological violence against girls both in and around schools. Teachers, school administrators, community leaders, and parents can be trained and supported to end gender-based violence in schools and communities.

Strategies to help schools meet girls, providing clean hygiene, supplying girls with sanitary pads. Interventions that promote menstrual hygiene have been shown to be more comfortable

Ensuring an adequate supply of qualified teachers. Teaching quality has been shown to improve training, and attendance and retention through incentives. More female teachers can help girls in school, especially in contexts where there is concern about the safety of female students.

School curricula which provide adolescent girls with numeracy,

High Quality, Youth Friendly Health Services

Health services are an integral part of girls living healthy

Adequate Child Protection Mechanisms

Ensuring a systematic Child Protective Service that establishes protocols for identifying warning signs and addressing the risks of child marriage is crucial to this work. Child protection services would ideally be accessible via a number of channels, including education, healthcare providers, community workers, and police. Working with service providers can help to ensure cases of child marriage in the community are responded to effectively.

Having one-on-one discussions or workshops with key officials to train them in child protection issues or ensure they have the capacity to use the powers vested in them by the government to take the required action.

Government functionaries and frontline officials working at the village level, are hesitant and often scared to intervene in cases of child marriage as it may lead to reprisals and even violence against them. Supporting these officials by linking them to local NGOs and community groups is therefore important in building momentum to intervene and stop child marriages.

Economic Security

Girls and women also need to have economic security if they are to live safe, healthy and empowered lives. Teaching women entrepreneurial skills can be effective in building their confidence and encouraging them to join the workforce. Introducing economic incentives such as conditional cash transfers can help encourage families to consider alternatives to child marriage by alleviating their economic hardship and reframing the daughter as a valued part of the family rather than an economic burden.

Economic empowerment schemes such as microfinance or village savings and loan schemes can help girls to support themselves and their families without having to be married. Furthermore, ensuring girls have the opportunity to become financially literate and have the ability to open and easily access a bank account (without male supervision) can help them save in a secure way and become financially independent”

Establish and Implement Laws and Policies

Strengthening, implementing and resourcing laws and policies

Strengthening and implementing laws and policies which prevent child marriage is an important step towards recognizing and upholding girls’ rights. Gender discrimination and loopholes in the law continue to be rife especially when it comes to issues around parental consent, the right to own and inherit property, separation and divorce and access to professional services and support. Furthermore, many countries have a pluralistic legal system meaning customary law often contradicts and overrides national law, making enforcement difficult.

It is important that children are recognised in the law as being children and that they are accorded the full protection of the law.

Governments need to have clear and consistent legislation that establishes 18 as the minimum age of marriage. Adequate safeguards must be in place to ensure that parental consent or other exceptions are not used to force girls into marriage.

Registering births and marriages

Registering births and marriages helps prevent child marriage by proving a girl and her partner’s ages. This also allows women to seek financial and legal redress if the marriage ends.

 

 

Citations

Welcome to Girls Not Brides. Http://www.girlsnotbrides.org.

ICRW and Girls Not Brides, Taking action to address child marriage: the role of different sectors: Economic Growth and Workforce Development brief, 2015. https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/4.-Addressing-child-marriage-Econ-growth.pdf

Young Lives, Child Marriage and Female Circumcisions (FGM/C): Evidence from Ethiopia, Policy brief 21, July 2014. https://www.younglives.org.uk/sites/www.younglives.org.uk/files/YL- PolicyBrief-21_Child%20Marriage%20and%20FGM%20in%20Ethiopia.pdf

Case Study Laws Policies HAQ. www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Case-Study-Laws-Policies-HAQ.pdf

Addressing Child Marriage Through Education What The Evidence Shows. www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Addressing-child-marriage-through-education-what-the-evidence-shows-knowledge-summary.pdf

GIRL Center Research Brief. www.girlsnotbrides.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2017PGY_GIRLCenterResearchBrief_01.pdf.

Child Marriage Africa Report. www.popcouncil.org/uploads/pdfs/2017PGY_ChildMarriageAfrica_report.pdf

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