With the strongly held belief that collective Action is needed to end Child Marriage, a practice that robs millions of Girls of their human rights, Joy for Children led the creation & serves as the co-chair of the 50 member Ugandan National Alliance to End Child Marriage, a response to the call by The Elders’ (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter & others) to end the practice of child marriage in one generation.
As a member of Girls Not Brides International, The National Alliance was instrumental in the adoption of Uganda’s first National Strategy on Child Marriage in a country with nearly 40% of girls under 18 married, one of the highest rates in the world. The new National Strategy is a big step forward in fulfilling the commitments that were made at The Girl Summit in London, 2014.
As a top priority of Joy for Children, advocacy efforts have focused on petitioning Parliament to consider the effects of child marriage: condemning a girl to continue to live in poverty, often denying her an education, & increasing maternal & child health risks ~ all outcomes that not only affect the individual girl but prevent Uganda from advancing on reaching key Sustainable Development Goals.
Joy for Children works closely with communities to change common beliefs, practices and traditions that force, coerce, sell or otherwise compel girls to enter into marriage. Our innovative holistic model, Girls Empower, has seen transformative changes in perceptions and practices around child marriage in Western Uganda
- Co-Chair of Girls Not Brides, The Ugandan National Alliance to end Child Marriage
- Empowering girls to stay in school thru incentives like a Gift of a Goat and direct disbursement of School Fees
- Formation of school based clubs which give girls an opportunity to share issues affecting them
- Developing district action plans to end child marriage
- Media engagement
- Community sensitization
- Engagement of leaders
- Story documentation and sharing
- Qualitative research
- Policy advocacy and following up on government commitments to end child marriage
Joy For Children, along with 50 other child rights organizations, have formed Girls Not Brides Uganda in the belief that collective action is needed end to child marriage, a practice that robs thousands of girls of their human rights. Members of Girls Not Brides Uganda find that child marriage impedes nearly all aspects of their work, whether they provide children with access to quality education, empower families to become economically independent or work to improve women and girls’ health.
Child marriage is a health and human rights issue, especially for girls and women in the developing world. It is particularly prevalent in Uganda. In Karangura sub-county, along the Mt. Rwenzori range, the problem is high compared to other parts of the country. Karangura is mainly inhabited by the Kakonjo and Bamba tribes who live in the highlands and on the slopes of Mount Rwenzori in the Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo districts.
Child marriage effectively ends a girl's childhood, curtails her education, increases her risk of domestic violence, and increases early and risky pregnancies. Girls with no education are 3 times as likely to marry by 18 as those with a secondary or higher education. With secondary schooling, girls are up to six times less likely to marry as children compared to girls who have little or no education.