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Every year, 15 million girls are locked away from a better life.

The ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda serves to create progress that will improve lives across the world. But every year, 15 million girls are locked away from a better life.Child marriage is standing in the way of progress towards many of the 2030 Global Goals. For as long as child marriage continues to exist, so will poverty and instability, violence against women and girls, high global maternal mortality rates, and an ever-widening educational gap between the poorest and wealthiest nations.

Here’s why: 

Mary (not her real name), 15, was a child bride. Now she is a widow and single mother. (Photo: Eliza Powell/Camfed)

The Sustainable Development Goals are underpinned by investment in girls’ education and gender equality.11 When a girl is excluded from education she is invisible and powerless. Our alumnae understand this powerlessness. They were once invisible. Now they know that inclusion is power. They’ve joined a powerful peer support network called CAMA.

As many of these young women were once themselves destined to be child brides, they understand what it takes to help girls escape this poverty trap. CAMA members identify girls in their communities who are vulnerable to early marriage and work with families and local authorities to ensure girls receive the support they need to stay in school, succeed and lead.

Find out more about the power of CAMA here.


1. What is the impact of child marriage? - Girls Not Brides. [online] Girls Not Brides. Available at: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/what-is-the-impact/ [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

2.  “Empowering Girls & Women”  Clinton Global Initiative [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/phlntrpy/notes/clinton.pdf [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017]

3. 5 reasons why ending child marriage can improve millions of women & girls' health - Girls Not Brides. [online] Girls Not Brides. Available at: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/5-reasons-end-child-marriage-improve-maternal-health/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

4. Health - Girls Not Brides. [online] Girls Not Brides. Available at: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/themes/health/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

5. World Health Organization. (2017). Maternal mortality. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs348/en/ [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

6. Violence against girls - Girls Not Brides. [online] Girls Not Brides. Available at: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/themes/violence-against-girls/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

7. Four facts you need to know: child marriage and HIV - Girls Not Brides. [online] Girls Not Brides. Available at: https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage-and-hiv/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

8. Ibid.

9. World Bank. (2017). Child Marriage Will Cost Developing Countries Trillions of Dollars by 2030, Says World Bank/ICRW Report. [online] Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/06/26/child-marriage-will-cost-developing-countries-trillions-of-dollars-by-2030-says-world-bankicrw-report  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

10. Kwauk, R. (2017). Concerned about the Paris Agreement? There’s still hope through girls’ education. [online] Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2017/06/02/concerned-about-the-paris-agreement-theres-still-hope-through-girls-education/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017] and https://www.brookings.edu/podcast-episode/how-investing-in-girls-education-can-help-fight-climate-change/ [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017]

11. Murabit, D. (2017). Gender Equality: The Foundation for Achieving the Global Goals - Impakter. [online] Impakter. Available at: http://impakter.com/gender-equality-foundation-achieving-global-goals/  [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

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