UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage
Driving action to reach the girls at greatest risk.
The girls at greatest risk of child marriage are often those hardest to reach. They come from poor families, marginalized groups or rural areas. They are also more likely to be out of school than their unmarried peers, robbed of the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential. Child marriage can lead to further isolation from family, friends and communities, and threaten girls’ livelihood and health.
In 2016, UNICEF, together with UNFPA, launched a global programme to tackle child marriage in 12 of the most high-prevalence or high-burden countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Global momentum towards ending child marriage has never been stronger, with several resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council urging countries to increase investments in eliminating the practice.
The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage promotes the rights of adolescent girls to avert marriage and pregnancy, and enables them to achieve their aspirations through education and alternative pathways. The Global Programme supports households in demonstrating positive attitudes, empowers girls to direct their own futures, and strengthens the services that allow them to do so, including sexual and reproductive health and social protection programmes. It also addresses the underlying conditions that sustain child marriage, advocating for laws and policies that protect girls' rights while highlighting the importance of using robust data to inform such policies.
The Global Programme is generously supported by the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom, the European Union and Zonta International.
Some notable results from the programme in 2021 show:
- In Bangladesh, the programme equipped 480 child journalists (half of them girls) with the skills to generate video content to report on child marriage, gender equality and girls’ empowerment, which was disseminated on the first-ever children’s online news platform.
- In Burkina Faso, over 14,000 adolescent girls were supported with school materials, payment of school feed and case management to ensure they continue their education.
- In Nepal, as a result of technical support and advocacy by the programme, 66 municipalities developed and funded action plans addressing child marriage and scaling up of the ‘Rupantaran’ adolescent empowerment programme.
- In Niger, the programme supported social media and radio campaigns to mobilize over 6 million people around themes of child marriage and girls’ rights, leading up to conversations at the third African Girls Summit hosted in the country during the year.
- In Uganda, 1,389 male champions facilitated dialogue sessions with over 10,000 men and boys in their communities on sexual and reproductive health, the rights of girls and women, gender-based violence, child marriage and on changing behaviours and power dynamics at home and in the community.
The Global Programme achieves results for girls by aligning key players in education, child protection, social protection, social and behaviour change, gender, health and other sectors. The Programme builds the capacities of Governments and non-government organizations while engaging with communities and partners for more harmonized action and accountability.
Last modified June 2022
- Fighting the odds, catalyzing change: A Strategic Approach to Ending the Global Problem of Child Marriage (annual report 2021)
- Act now: Accelerating gender equality by eliminating child marriage in a pandemic (annual report 2020 and country profiles)
- Global Programme Phase I Report and country profiles (2016-2019)
- Gender-Transformative Accelerator Tool
- Gender-Transformative Approaches in the Global Programme to End Child Marriage
- Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment
- Life Skills Programmes for Empowering Adolescent Girls
- Gender Norms
- Partnering with Men and Boys to End Child Marriage
- Leaving No One Behind
- Adolescent Girl-Responsive Systems
- Addressing Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings
- Preventing and Responding to Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings: The Global Programme Approach
- Adapting to COVID-19: Pivoting the Global Programme to Respond to the Pandemic
- Monitoring and Evaluation of Child Marriage Programmes During COVID-19
Policy and legal frameworks
- Child Marriage and the Law
- Seven Steps to Strengthening Legislation, Policy and Public Financing to End Child Marriage
Convergence and scaling up
- Convergent Programming
- Scaling Up Efforts to End Child Marriage: The Global Programme Approach
- Ensuring Value for Money
- Global Programme research strategy
- Publication Catalogues 2020-2021, 2018-2019 and 2016-2017
- Strategic Technical Assistance for Research (STAR) initiative to end harmful practices - partnership with UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti
- The Child Marriage Research to Action Network (the CRANK) - partnership with Girls Not Brides
- Research spotlight: Successful multisectoral and multilevel approaches to address child marriage
- Research spotlight: Child marriage in humanitarian settings and challenging gender norms to end child marriage
- Research spotlight: Gender-transformative and systems approaches to ending child marriage and promoting girls’ rights
- Scoping review: Evolution in the evidence base on child marriage
- Advancing the Evidence Base on Strategies to End Child Marriage and Support Married Girls: Meeting Report
- Global Consultation on Child Marriage in Humanitarian Settings: Meeting Report