Child, Early and Forced Marriage

Gender equality is a priority cross-cutting theme for Save the Children, and is imperative in order for all children, including those who are hardest to reach, to survive, learn and live a life free from violence.
Save the Children Canada (SCC) is currently implementing two projects addressing child, early and forced marriage (CEFM), in Somaliland and Nigeria, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). For these projects, Save the Children Canada is using a comprehensive and holistic model for intervention on CEFM based on the three following key pillars: Prevention, Protection and Empowerment. A summary of the approach is described below:

Prevention

  • Prevention efforts with governments include work dedicated to strengthening existing legislative frameworks for child protection and gender equality, and improving implementation of these frameworks
  • Prevention efforts with the community include awareness raising activities with traditional and religious leaders, teachers, health workers and parents/families to promote gender equality and highlight the impacts that CEFM can have on girls, boys and communities
  • Prevention efforts with children target at-risk girls and boys and support child-led initiatives to raise awareness on the consequences of CEFM and the powerful positive potential of gender equality. Such efforts also engage girls and boys in discussing alternative options to CEFM, and provide girls and boys with a range of opportunities including education, career planning, vocational training, dignified work and/or life skills capacity strengthening

Protection

  • Protection efforts target girls and boys who have married early and those at risk. Save the Children trains staff from relevant authorities on how to identify vulnerable girls and boys, how to resolve child protection concerns and how to refer cases for support (case management). Various considerations including access to education, stigma and discrimination, gender-based violence and/or livelihood opportunities are addressed by these efforts
  • Protection efforts include the provision of gender sensitive sexual and reproductive health services to pregnant girls, alongside medical, legal and psychosocial support for survivors of CEFM
  • A complimentary component focuses on providing life skills for girls and boys to enhance their skills, knowledge, confidence and self-esteem

Empowerment

  • The Empowerment pillar mainly targets girls and boys who are already married or those who are separated/divorced. Girls and boys are provided with a wide range of opportunities (i.e. education, vocational training, employment, and life skills), which enable them to make informed and healthy decisions about their future
  • The Empowerment pillar also includes mobilization efforts at the community and family levels regarding child protection and gender equality in order to create a supportive environment for girls and boys, including those who are married/divorced, to learn, engage and fulfil their rights

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