The numbers are staggering. Every year, 10 million girls under the age of 18 enter early and forced marriages, usually to men much older than they are. By becoming a child bride, a girl gets nearly every odd stacked against her.
This epidemic received much-needed attention last month during the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child. At events worldwide, government leaders and influentials acknowledged that early and forced marriage is a grave violation of girls’ human rights. Indeed, these girls are powerless within their families and societies, and experience strong disadvantages to their education and health.
But to end child marriage, we need more than one day. We need real action both at the international policy level and at the local level where it affects girls the most. We must prioritize the promotion of girls’ empowerment to give them a chance to succeed. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on the inaugural Day of the Girl Child, “we call on the international community to promise a different life to girls — a life of their choosing.”
Thankfully, local organizations around the world are working in developing communities to do just that.
One example of a community organization successfully working towards this goal is APAD – in English, the Association for the Promotion of the Independence and Rights of the Girl Child.
Led by survivors of child marriage, APAD works to make sure girls like them have a choice and a chance. APAD members are not only survivors; they are leaders in the fight for the elimination of early and forced marriage in the extreme north of Cameroun. By working within their own community, they have the unique knowledge and skills that enable them to effectively enact change. Learn more about the work of APAD by watching the video below:
Support grassroots groups working to end child marriage. Give to our partner APAD, directly through IWHC’s campaign on GlobalGiving.org – especially during the month of November, when APAD competes to win a featured spot on Nike’s Girl Effect campaign. Winners also receive a share of the Girl Effect Fund, which raised $375,000 last year.
To win, APAD needs as many people as possible to make donations this month. It’s not about how much you give, but about how many people give. Will you help support the fight against child marriage?