The Advocacy Project (AP) is joining the Women Advocacy Project (WAP) to support an exciting new approach to child marriage, which is devastating the lives of girls in Zimbabwe. Your donations will help WAP to train 5 gifted girls to serve as "ambassadors" for reproductive health. Their task will be to mentor other more vulnerable girls and urge them and their families to reject child marriage. Over time, we believe entire communities will follow their example.
WAP's work in villages and communities around Harare confirms that child marriage has a devastating impact on the health, education and rights of girls. One third of all girls in Zimbabwe marry by the age 18. Child marriage was outlawed in 2016, but it still continues as families face pressure from an economic crisis and cultural norms. WAP cannot repair the economy, but with your help it can leverage its experience to shape opinions and build support for a radically new approach.
WAP is proposing to train five tough-minded girls to serve as "Ambassadors Against Child Marriage." The girls will receive rigorous training in child marriage, child rights, reproductive health and mentoring. They will then take their message to their communities, where they will counsel vulnerable girls and alert WAP to cases of abuse or imminent marriage. Your donations will provide each young ambassador with a stipend of $200 to offset the cost of school fees.
We expect this innovative model to benefit 5 girls and 100 family members this year and help WAP develop a methodology for measuring results. Once the model has been tested, WAP will double the number of ambassadors every year. Parallel to this, WAP will promote its approach with the Zimbabwe authorities, through international partners like Girls Not Brides (of which WAP is a member), and even in American schools. Our hope is that peer support can become accepted strategy within 5 years.