Child marriage is a violation of human rights that robs millions of girls around the world of their childhood.
Child marriage is a formal marriage or an informal union that takes place before the age of 18. It may also be a marriage that happens without the free or valid consent of one or both partners. Child marriage affects both boys and girls, but the impact on girls is much greater.
Child brides are forced to drop out of school, have children before they’re ready and are often subjected to a life of violence and abuse. We’re successfully campaigning to end child marriage by working closely with communities, young activists and government officials around the world.
Changing the law
In Guatemala, the minimum age for marriage was 14 for girls and 16 for boys. Between 2009 and 2013, more than 80,000 girls under 18 got married, and the majority were married to men triple their age.
This year we supported youth campaigners in Malawi to change their country’s constitution and make child marriage illegal. We mobilised the public, from the UK to Spain to Australia, to sign a petition in support of their campaign calling on the government to raise the legal age of marriage. We presented their 20,000 signatures to decision makers at a conference in August.
working with youth campaigners
In Malawi, we supported young activists to lobby members of parliament to raise the age of marriage to 18. The act was passed in February 2015.
However, there is still a loophole in the law that means that children can get married with their parents' permission - meaning lots of children are married against their wishes.
We launched a petition asking people to stand with the youth campaigners. The support was astounding - around the world we received more than 20,000 signatures.
Raising Awareness On Child Marriage
In 2015 we launched a powerful ad campaign putting a spotlight on child marriage.
The campaign asked people to “give child marriage the finger” and donate to our programmes in Egypt, Mali, Thailand, El Salvador, Uganda and Malawi that help girls at risk of child marriage.
After supporters donated we sent them an end child marriage ring as a gift and asked them to share it on social media. It’s a symbol - you wear the ring to show your support to ending child marriage.