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Programme

Her Choice is an alliance of four Netherlands-based organisations: Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland, The Hunger Project, International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI) and the University of Amsterdam. These organisations combine their efforts with 27 local partner organisations to combat child marriage in ten countries. The programme runs from January 2016 to December 2020 and is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, Senegal and Uganda.

Goals and strategies

The long-term goal (2016-2020) is to support the creation of child marriage-free communities in which girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry.
The 6 intervention strategies are based on evidence, which shows that the most consistent results of targeting child marriages are achieved by fostering information, skills and networks for girls in combination with community mobilisation. Therefore, strategies focus on both areas:

Increasing girls’ control in decision-making

1. Investing in girls, their knowledge, skills related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and participation in society: enhancing their comprehension of the negative effects of child marriage and of alternative options.
2. Keeping girls in school: improving access to formal education for girls by supporting girl-friendly schools and building knowledge through schooling in general, and on SRHR in particular.
3. Improving access to youth-friendly SRHR services for girls: improving health services and by actively referring girls to health workers.

Mobilising relevant community actors

4. Strengthening the economic security of girls and their families: creating and supporting women’s self-help groups with training and access to (financial) resources.
5. Transforming social norms and traditional practices: mobilising and supporting communities, including boys, men, women, leaders to promote girls’ rights and gender equity, to achieve gender equity in education, decision making, and access to services.
6. Creating an enabling legal and policy environment on preventing child marriage: supporting traditional leaders and (local) authorities to enforce national policies on preventing child marriage.

Learning and research

Central learning strategies that contribute to the long-term goal and to the strengthening of partner organisations are comparative and participatory research and capacity building.

Linking & learning forms an important element of the programme. The members of the Her Choice alliance all have their own fields of expertise. By working as an alliance they complement each other. Activities to promote linking and learning are realised at local, national and international levels. In order to share knowledge, experience and lessons learnt and to widen support networks.

Base-, mid- and endline studies will be carried out in all programme countries in order to measure results (outputs and outcomes) of the programme. After completion of the baseline study, countries will be selected where further operational research will be carried out.

Local ownership

Her Choice supports communities to take full responsibility for ending child marriage. Local ownership is the key factor to achieve sustainable results. Local organisations, community networks, women’s groups, schools and SRHR-services are the implementing actors who ensure that strategies are locally embedded. International and local partners work side by side to generate knowledge and good practice, to support networks and to build on local assets.

Annual Report 2018

2019 – The recent Midline Evaluation Report shows that, halfway through the programme, our joint efforts have already led to tangible results on the targets set for most indicators. This Annual Report for 2018 reflects this progress too, despite many challenges.

Annual Report 2017

2018 – This report provides an overview of what happened within the Her Choice programme in 2017. The Her Choice team is excited to see encouraging examples of the programme’s holistic multi-strategy approach starting to pay off. An approach that involves not only girls, boys, teachers and leaders, but everyone in the community.

Annual Report 2016

2017 – This Annual Progress Report gives an overview of the efforts and accomplishments, which
have been achieved during the first year of implementing the Her Choice programme. 32
implementing partners and 4 Netherlands based alliance members, unified within the scope
of the Her Choice Alliance, realised the programme in 11 countries in Africa and Asia in
2016.

Photo credit second photo from the right: Millie Albon