We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse

UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage

© UNICEF/UNI43945/Heavens

Today, one in four young women will be married in childhood. Child marriage is a human rights violation on a vast scale and a major obstacle to sustainable development. Girls are disproportionately affected; levels of child marriage among boys are about one fifth of the levels among girls. Around 750 million girls and women alive today were married in childhood, and unless progress is accelerated, that number will remain at least as high through 2030.

The global momentum and opportunities to make significant progress on ending child marriage have never been more favourable. The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage offers a framework promoting the right of girls to delay marriage, addressing the conditions that keep the practice in place, and caring for girls already in union.

The programme focuses on enabling girls at risk of child marriage to choose and direct their own futures, supporting households in demonstrating positive attitudes towards adolescent girls, and strengthening the systems that deliver services to adolescent girls. It also seeks to ensure laws and policies protect and promote adolescent girls' rights, and highlight the importance of using robust data to inform policies relating to adolescent girls.

The programme targets adolescent girls (ages 10-19) at risk of child marriage or already in union, in 12 selected countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

The programme is generously supported by the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

October 2017


UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage Progress Report 2016 [PDF]
The Global Programme reached over 754,000 girls through girls’ clubs, schooling initiatives and other activities in 2016. Read the results of the first year of the joint programme.

UNICEF and the Government of Canada: Accelerating the Movement to End Child, Early and Forced Marriage [PDF]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  UNICEF gratefully received a three-year contribution from the Government of Canada to work in six countries around ending child marriage. This report summarizes the results and programmatic activities undertaken in 2014–2017. 

Latest news

Press release: At current rates of reduction, it will take over 100 years to end child marriage in West and Central Africa 

Ending child marriage and teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone

Media fact sheet: High-Level Meeting on Accelerating Progress on Ending Child Marriage in Africa

Presidents of Malawi, Uganda and Zambia call for accelerated action to end child marriage in Africa (from unwomen.org)






UNICEF video: Storybook Wedding

No time to lose: Child marriage (UNICEF video) 

Global Programme to Accelerate Action to end Child Marriage and Civil Society Partners - Webinar - 30 August 2016 (webinar recording) (PowerPoint presentations)

New enhanced search