the latest

Accelerating Progress: A Call to Action to End Child Marriage by 2030 

William Ryerson, MPhil Dec 20, 2023

As we delve into the findings of the UNICEF 2023 Child Marriage report, we are faced with both encouraging progress and sobering realities regarding child marriage worldwide. Today, I want to share my thoughts on the report’s insights and the urgent need to tackle child marriage head-on. 

Progress and Setbacks 

The report reveals a complex landscape, where progress and challenges coexist. In high-income households globally, there is heartening progress, with reduced rates of child marriage among girls.  

South Asia stands out, making significant strides by decreasing child marriage rates from 60% in 1997 to 25% in 2022. Sub-Saharan Africa also witnessed a decrease from 45% to approximately 26% during the same period. However, the report highlights a lack of significant progress in other regions, demanding our immediate attention. 

The Impact of External Factors 

It’s crucial to acknowledge the external factors that exacerbate child marriage rates in various regions. The COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, and climate change have intensified the vulnerability of girls to early marriage in many countries. These challenges have, in some cases, reversed the progress we have worked so hard to achieve. 

A Daunting Reality 

The most sobering revelation from the report is the time it will take to eliminate child marriage at current rates of progress. If we continue on this trajectory, it will take 300 years to eradicate this harmful practice. To meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and eliminate child marriage by 2030, we need a 20-fold increase in the rate of decline. The urgency of this situation cannot be overstated. 

Promising Examples 

Amidst the challenges, we find glimmers of hope in countries like India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Maldives, and Rwanda. These nations illustrate that progress is possible across diverse settings. Common threads include improvements in economic development, poverty reduction, access to employment, and secondary-level education. These examples provide a blueprint for others to follow. 

Regions in Need 

We must acknowledge the regions that have stalled in their efforts to combat child marriage. West and Central Africa, with the highest prevalence of child marriage, have made little progress over the last 25 years. Latin America and the Caribbean are facing gaps across socioeconomic groups, underscoring the entrenched nature of the practice among the poor. 

The Urgency of the Moment 

At Population Media Center, we recognize the urgency of addressing child marriage and its far-reaching consequences. We are committed to playing a pivotal role in tackling this issue through the power of entertainment and education. Our approach involves creating compelling and culturally relevant media content, including radio and television shows, that aim to change social norms and behaviors related to child marriage.  

By telling stories that resonate with local audiences, we engage communities in thought-provoking discussions and encourage them to question and challenge the practice of child marriage. Our programs not only raise awareness but also provide information on the importance of education, gender equality, and the rights of girls. Through these efforts, we strive to empower individuals, families, and communities to reject child marriage and work towards a future where every girl can realize her full potential. Together with our partners, we believe that media can be a powerful catalyst for change, offering hope for a world where child marriage becomes a thing of the past.

 

PMC Projects At The Forefront Of Child Marriage

Rope Guna Fal

PMC developed Rope Guna Fal with UNICEF, The Kendeda Fund, and the Antenna Foundation Nepal.

A Call to Action 

As we reflect on the UNICEF report’s findings, we must recognize that ending child marriage is not only a moral imperative but also an economic and social imperative. The burden of child marriage extends beyond adolescence, affecting a girl’s education, earning potential, and overall well-being. 

We cannot afford to wait any longer. We need to accelerate our efforts, learn from successful examples, and implement policies and programs that address the root causes of child marriage. It’s time for governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to unite in a concerted effort to make child marriage a relic of the past. 

Donate to Help Us End Child Marriage Today

Join us in our mission to put an end to child marriage and create a brighter future for girls around the world. Your support can make a real difference. Every donation brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of eliminating this harmful practice by 2030. By contributing, you empower us to continue creating impactful media content, raising awareness, and driving positive change in communities affected by child marriage. Together, we can give every girl the opportunity to lead a life of freedom, education, and empowerment. Together, we can make child marriage a thing of the past.

 

Donate