Thanks to your support, our work to end early and forced marriage is making a difference in the lives of adolescent girls in northern Nigeria.
The International Women’s Health Coalition and our Nigerian partner INCRESE are working in communities to educate girls and their families about the harms of early marriage. We provide support to girls who have survived child marriage and help them share their stories with other vulnerable girls. We also partner with other Nigerian groups, Girls Power Initiative and Action Health Incorporated, to provide girls across the country with the information, skills, and care they need to make a healthy transition to adulthood. Together we have developed a national sexuality education curriculum that not only informs, but helps to empower girls.
But child marriage is not a problem that’s limited to Nigeria. It’s a practice that devastates the lives of girls around the world; it spans continents, cultures, and religions. Every year, 14 million girls are married as children before they are physically or emotionally ready. Worldwide, nearly 50 percent of all sexual assaults are against girls aged 15 years or younger.
The International Women’s Health Coalition has made advancing the rights and health of adolescent girls a key focus area of our work. In Latin America, Africa, and Asia, we are partnering with local groups to promote girl-friendly health services, keep girls in schools, and eliminate child marriage.
In Pakistan, we are supporting Aahung to implement a comprehensive sexuality and life-skills-based education program in primary schools in Sindh province. This is a groundbreaking achievement. Many of the girls are completely unaware of their own bodies, or even what menstruation is, before entering the program.
In Brazil, we work with Reprolatina to educate adolescent girls about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Reprolatina reaches youth directly in local communities, online, through health centers, and in public schools. The results have been outstanding: After Reprolatina ran its education programs for two years in the town of Barro Alto, the proportion of adolescent girls giving birth dropped from 40 percent of all births in 2010, to 10 percent in 2012.
At the global level, we make sure that the world’s leaders do the right thing for girls. The Girl Declaration is a powerful statement written by adolescent girls who are living in poverty around the world.
Please take a moment to read the Girl Declaration. Share it with your friends and networks. Also, please help us to reach our fundraising goal of $3,000! An additional $2,605 for INCRESE would go a long way towards giving girls in Nigeria the education, opportunities, and support they need to lead healthy and productive lives. Help us build a better future for girls and stop the cycle of poverty and abuse before it starts.