American girls enlisted in global campaign against child marriage

The world is facing the prospect of 100 million child brides.
There could be 100 million child brides in ten years.
Global Health Frontline News photo

Tom Paulson introduced the teen-directed program, Girl Up, last year, here in the Humanosphere blog, as the United Nations Foundation and Seattle students helped launch the new initiative.

The Girl Up program, according to its website, is designed to give:

“American girls the opportunity to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Through Girl Up’s support, girls have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted, and positioned to be the next generation of leaders.

“Campaign supporters are encouraged to give a ‘High Five’ to girls in developing countries by donating $5 or more to provide girls with such basic needs as access to school supplies, clean water, life-saving health services, safety from violence, and more.”

The girls’ campaign last year focused on helping girls overseas with the basics — like going to school, getting clean water and seeing a doctor.

This year, the Girl Up campaign says it has mobilized 150,000 American teens around the issue of child brides. Organizers say the disturbing prospect of 100 million child brides in the next decade has galvanized American teenage girls, who are demanding action on behalf of their young counterparts around the world. The teens want the practice of child marriage stopped and have delivered a petition to the White House signed by girls across the U.S.

Global Health Frontline News, an independent nonprofit video news organization, provided the following video on child marriage. GHFN is a new model of reporting in the public interest that produces global health news stories and makes them available to broadcasters and Internet platforms.

The International Center for Research on Women says child marriage is defined as any marriage before age 18, and says this practice, devastates the lives of girls, their families and their communities. Child marriage, widespread in many developing countries, number more than 60 million worldwide. In some countries, half of the girls are married before they turn 18.

The center describes child marriage and its effects this way:

“Child marriage most often occurs in poor, rural communities. In many regions, parents arrange their daughter’s marriage unbeknownst to the girl. That can mean that one day, she may be at home playing with her siblings, and the next, she’s married off and sent to live in another village with her husband and his family – strangers, essentially. She is pulled out of school. She is separated from her peers. And once married, she is more likely to be a victim of domestic violence and suffer health complications associated with early sexual activity and childbearing.”

 

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