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The global pandemic has put girls and women everywhere at heightened risk of exploitation and abuse. According to the United Nations, 13 million more child marriages could take place globally between 2020 and 2030 as a result of the economic and social fallout following COVID-19. This Human Rights Day —  as 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence comes to a close — meet the CAMFED Association members who will stop at nothing to keep girls in their communities safe and learning.

“People see me as a role model and they know that I am dedicated to ending child marriages... As the CAMFED Association we work together with traditional leaders and government departments.” - Rose Alexander, CAMFED Association leader, Malawi

The young women spearheading our movement were once among the most marginalized in their rural communities, and many themselves faced the threat of child marriage. On joining the CAMFED Association, they make a commitment to breaking down barriers to education for the next generation of girls. Their activism, on issues including early marriage, is cemented through the Learner Guide Program, which helps young women rally community members to bring vulnerable girls —  often invisible to government authorities — back to education.

Rose, a CAMFED Association member and Core Trainer of Learner Guides, has helped to annul 14 child marriages.

In rural Malawi, where child marriage is widespread, more and more CAMFED Association activists like Rose are rising up to put an end to abuse. Since September alone, Learner Guides working across five districts have partnered with traditional leaders and other community stakeholders to annul 28 child marriages.

This collective action is mirrored across all five countries where we work. In recent months, CAMFED Zambia conducted outreach with traditional leaders in 15 districts about the negative impact of early marriage and pregnancy. The leaders are key to creating awareness in the community of the by-laws which exist to tackle these issues.

If you can, please consider making a donation to ignite the Multiplier Effect of girls’ education. With inclusion in school and peer support after graduation comes the power to prevent gender-based violence and transform communities.