Child marriage, which is rooted in deeply entrenched gender inequality, afects as many as one in fve girls globally. Evidence suggests that child marriage tends to increase during conficts and displacement. Yet the prevention of and response to child marriage is still not prioritised across all phases of humanitarian action.
Prevention and risk mitigation strategies employed during preparedness eforts have weak linkages with national disaster management and surveillance systems.
In addition, they often deprioritise the strengthening of local capacity to address the myriad of contextual drivers that are impacted by confict and displacement.
Programming responses during emergencies and protracted crises lack a sufcient evidence base to promote strategies that fully respond to the needs of adolescent girls in all their diversity,i including those who have already experienced child marriage and are currently married, child mothers, widowed, or divorced.
Child marriage must be addressed across all phases of humanitarian action, supporting place-based actors during preparedness and longer-term recovery, which are both often overlooked. Recognising that signifcant action remains to be taken under the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, specifcally to end child marriage, the Women’s Refugee Commission, King’s College London, and Rozaria Memorial Trust set out to promote gender equality in humanitarian action through the strengthening of partnerships with local civil society organisations, particularly feminist, women-led, and/or women’s rights organisations.ii As a new consortium of feminist and women’s rights organisations, our goal is to drive change and foster accountability, inviting governments, donors, international organisations, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), national civil society, and the private sector to endorse a new feminist vision and road map for ending child marriage in Eastern Africa.
This measurable and actionable fve-year plan aims to meet the need for enhanced collaboration with and leadership of place-based feminist and women’s rights organisations in disaster planning, management, and response through the following outcomes:
Feminist and women’s rights actors are well trained, well resourced, and well positioned to transform practice and policies that drive humanitarian preparedness and response through local to regional spaces.
High quality, evidence-based gender-transformativeiii services and programmes are implemented in each phase of an emergency by place-based actors that are responsive to the needs and priorities of girls in all their diversity.
Intra- and inter-governmental mechanisms that govern disaster prevention and response are strengthened to improve functioning and coordination of national systems critical for women and girls, including social protection, health, education, and justice.
Justice systems are strengthened through transparent processes to support girls and their families. 5. Funding is available for child marriage prevention and response for each phase of an emergency and in a manner that prioritises localised capacity strengthening and implementation.
By collectively mobilising our action towards achieving these outcomes, consortium members are able to navigate an ever-changing policy environment in the region and respond in real time together to ensure disaster planning, management, and response center the role of place-based feminist and women’s rights actors as leaders across the humanitarian continuum of action.
Addressing child marriage is lifesaving work. Collective action and investment in girls, their communities, and societies are needed to ensure girls are valued, safe, able to reach their full potential, and are fully empowered to make their own decisions about if, when, and whom to marry
Source: Women’s Refugee Commission