More than $60 million in new funding mobilized to fight child marriage
The Girls First Fund is the largest donor collaborative focused on ending child marriage by funding community-driven approaches that address the underlying causes of gender inequality. Since 2018, we have secured over $60 million in commitments. We aim to continue shifting donors’ attitudes in favor of resourcing CBOs.
Equipped with funding and support from the Girls First Fund, CBOs are already achieving remarkable results
Since our inception in 2018, we have committed over $11.4 million to 176 grassroots-driven, girl-centered organizations across our six focus countries, of which 85% are women-led and 17% are led by women 30 years old and younger.
As a result of our grantee partners’ work, we are already beginning to see evidence of positive change. Our grantee partners have built girls’ power and confidence by establishing safe spaces for girls to learn how to negotiate, discern their preferences, and explore their aspirations. Grantee partners are also connecting girls to sexual and reproductive health services and are training local health workers to engage clients in a more youth-friendly manner. Working to ensure that girls have increased access to education, grantee partners are advocating with families and communities to prioritize girls’ education and recognize it as a basic human right. As a result of this work, girls are initiating conversations with their parents about their goals, pushing boundaries, supporting one another to stay in school, and stopping child marriage from occurring.
In addition to their work with girls, our grantee partners have successfully created partnerships with local leaders and powerholders, thereby building a community of allies to enable girls to exercise their agency. Because of these efforts, community members are demonstrating increased awareness of the harmful impact of child marriage and are actively taking action to prevent it. In some communities where our grantee partners are working, child marriage was not previously considered a violation of girls’ rights. But now, community members are discussing child marriage together and encouraging one another to support girls.
Some grantee partners are joining forces with others and influencing national level conversations and strengthening legal frameworks to end child marriage. Grantee-partners have increased access of marginalized groups to legal services to help address gender-based violence and have written community-level guidelines to disincentivize community level behavior that leads to child marriage.
In many of the communities where they work, Girls First Fund grantees are providing the only safe spaces, services, protections, and role models for girls. During our first years of granting we observed the unique role that girl-centered, community-based organizations play, leveraging the relationships and trust with their community to challenge harmful norms, support the hardest-to-reach and girls, implement intersectional strategies, respond swiftly to dynamic community challenges, and establish alternatives to marriage. Girl-centered, gender transformative, grassroots work is pivotal to the global effort to reduce child marriage and achieve gender equality.