Worldwide, almost 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday and an estimated 280 million more girls are at risk of becoming brides. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030.
Child marriage is a global violation of human rights that can be found in cultures, religions, ethnicities and countries around the world. Recognizing that only a long-term strategy will ensure the desired outcomes, UNICEF and UNFPA have joined forces and formally launched a multi-country initiative to protect the rights of millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls. The Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage brings together governments, civil society, families and young people in a collective effort to prevent girls from marrying too young and to support those already married as girls.
To date, more than 1 million girls have been reached through life skills and school attendance support and 1.67 million individuals have been engaged in community-based behavior change and sensitization activities.
How Zonta helps
Zonta International has committed US$2,000,000 to UNICEF USA to support the UNICEF/UNFPA Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage in 12 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
The program is turning commitment into tangible action to effect meaningful and lasting change in girls’ lives.