Our impact on child marriages

Meet 15-year-old Mamata from Bangladesh. Her dream was to become a school teacher, but suddenly things were decided differently for her. Hoping that it would solve their financial problems, Mamata’s parents wanted their teenage daughter to marry soon.

Worldwide there are millions of girls like Mamata. Girls who have dreams about becoming teachers, doctors, lawyers. Dreams that cannot be fulfilled if they marry too early and become mothers too soon. Apart from creating a serious health risk for themselves and their baby, they will most likely quit school, which increases the chance that they will not be able to support their families. Her Choice aims to build child marriage- free communities where each girl is free to decide if, when and whom she marries. Where this will be Her Choice.

The Her Choice programme improves the position, rights and future perspectives of girls in ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The community itself plays a fundamental role. They form an integral part of our grassroots approach. After three years of programme implementation, recent independent research shows that we’re making progress. There are fewer 17-year-old girls who are married in the Her Choice working areas. Research also shows that girls have more comprehensive knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR): girls have been educated on SRHR related issues, including on negative effects of child marriage and female genital mutilation, and speak out more about those subjects in community meetings.

With the support of Her Choice, Mamata regained her freedom. The marriage was called off, with the support of the headmaster of Mamata’s school, her teachers, local authorities and the support of a local girls’ club that was trained by one of Her Choice’s 27 local partners in the field. Mamata could go back to school again and finish her studies. Her dream of becoming a school teacher had suddenly became more real.

Read more about the impact we make as Her Choice alliance, as well as the challenges we face in our recent impact pager. Disclaimer: the name of Mamata doesn’t match the picture shown.