As the world celebrates the first International Day of the Girl Child, Women Deliver Launches Catapult Crowdfunding Platform
- United Nations chooses child marriage as theme for International Day of the Girl Child
- Activities planned around the world to highlight urgent need for action
- Women Deliver launches Catapult – the first online funding platform solely dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women
On the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child, Women Deliver calls for urgent action to address child marriage worldwide. Every day globally, 25,000 girls are robbed of their childhood.
1 out of 7 girls around the world is married before the age of 15.
11 October marks the first ever International Day of the Girl Child, recognised by the United Nations as a day to promote the rights of girls and to address the unique challenges that they face. Day of the Girl is recognition that we must address the unique needs of adolescent girls if we are to increase equality and prosperity on a global scale.
The United Nations has chosen child marriage as its theme to mark this year’s Day of the Girl, underlining the urgent need to address a practice that robs 10 million girls a year of their childhood. Child brides usually drop out of school, are more likely to die or suffer injury in childbirth and are more vulnerable to domestic abuse than unmarried girls of the same age.
Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield, explains, “Ultimately, for many girls and women in the developing world, no one has ever bothered to ask them if they want to be mothers. There are 215 million women around the world who have an unmet need for contraception. And every year, an estimated 10 million girls under 18 are married, whether they want to be or not. Half of all the world’s child brides live in South Asia, and while each girl may only have a few children, that does not indicate that any of their pregnancies were their choice, nor does it ensure that they are safe, healthy, and empowered.
On Day of the Girl, Women Deliver will announce the launch of Catapult, the first online funding platform solely dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women. A program of Women Deliver, Catapult partners with trusted organizations that support girls and women and connects them with a new audience of online donors.
Organizations can upload their projects to Catapult, and donors can fund the issues that speak to them most, such as agriculture, ending child marriage, education, family planning and gender-based violence.
To mark the launch of Catapult on 11 October, 12 important influencers in the girls and women sector will engage and galvanize their social networks over 12 hours with a goal of fully funding 12 Catapult projects. Get involved and launch your change! Donate, create a team, or become a partner.
Global efforts to end child marriage
Women Deliver is a member of Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of more than 190 non-governmental organisations committed to ending child marriage based across 38 countries.
On Day of the Girl, Girls Not Brides members will join together around the world to call for global action on child marriage. There will be a range of international and grassroots events across Africa, America, Europe and South Asia, as well as an online discussion and social media activities.
“The rate of child marriage is declining in many countries, but the pace of change is too slow. Day of the Girl is an opportunity to highlight successful programmes that are helping to end child marriage. It is also an occasion to focus on what still needs to be done to bring an end to a practice that has a devastating impact on the lives of so many girls,” said Lakshmi Sundaram, Global Coordinator of Girls Not Brides.
Girls Not Brides and The Elders
Girls Not Brides was founded by The Elders, independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders: “Child marriage is a traditional practice that is not particular to any religion. It occurs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. I want to draw particular attention to the impact it has on girls, and to encourage men in leadership positions to see that it is in the interests of all of us that we work together to tackle the issue of child marriage.”
Graça Machel and Gro Brundtland, members of The Elders: “The world is now blessed with the biggest generation of girls in history. By ending child marriage, we can empower these girls to fulfil their potential and help to transform communities on an unprecedented scale.”
Child marriage: the facts
- Child marriage hinders the achievement of 6 of the 8 Millennium Development Goals.
- Child marriage is a serious human rights violation that denies girls their rights to consensual marriage, education, health, and the right to live in safety.
- Around the world, 400 million women now aged 25-49 were married as children (UNICEF, 2012)
- Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s
- When a mother is under 18, her baby is 60 percent more likely to die in its first year of life than a baby born to a mother older than 19.