Is Ending Child Marriage Possible?

Child marriage is culturally complex, but the latest statistics show that ending child marriage is possible. According to UNICEF’s statistics, as many as 25 million underage marriages have been prevented in the last decade.1 Plus, studies like the one co-authored by MIT economist Esther Duflo show that even having a positive role model like a female politician or leader can completely erase the gender gap in terms of education, expectation of parents for their children regardless of gender and the aspiration of the girls themselves.2

The MIT study shows that a positive female influence on the child, their family and the community can significantly change the cultural attitude towards women and children. At the heart of a large proportion of underage marriage for girls is the devaluing of the gender in nearly every area of life. Shifting this perspective is essential to the overall issues surrounding a family’s decision to arrange marriage for their little girl.

Many areas of a girl’s life need to be addressed to help prevent underage marriage, such as poverty, literacy, health and community support. Finding solutions that address as many of these areas as possible will have the greatest lifting effect for her life and for other girls in her village. Targeting just one of these can help, but it may not have the overall push upward that girls desperately need to escape marriage before they are 18.

This is where GFA child sponsorship can be a powerful tool in ending the violation in human rights experienced by millions of girls worldwide. GFA’s child sponsorship program provides multiple advantages for the girl, her family and the community. To reduce the stress of poverty, the child receives nutritious food, school supplies and toiletries. To make sure she stays engaged at school and learns as much as she can, she receives educational tutoring. Her family can get access to much-needed support and services, such as skills training. All this is done with the heart of Christ.

Just $35 a month for a child sponsorship helps provide a dramatic difference for families that can significantly disrupt the path to a forced marriage at an age where she should be in school and with her family. Be her hero today.

Learn more about child marriage

1 UNICEF Child Marriage Databank Query. Last Update August 2021. https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/child-marriage/.
2 Peter Dizikes. “Leading by example.” MIT. January 13, 2012. https://news.mit.edu/2012/female-politicians-0113.
* Cover Photo by UNAMID. https://www.flickr.com/photos/unamid-photo/8269950772/.