End Early and Forced Marriage of Girls in Cameroon

by International Women's Health Coalition

Thanks to your generosity, your commitment to end child marriage, and your passion for women and girls’ health and human rights...We raised $6,305 for our partner APAD!

Much of these funds were received during last month’s Girl Effect Challenge because you responded to the urgent need and you spread the word. Thank you!

APAD empowers survivors of early and forced marriage, and educates communities about the intrinsic human rights of girls. Your donations empower APAD in the new year to:

  • Hold bi-monthly educational discussions in rural and urban areas with women and girls aged 12-30 on the benefits of educating a girl, building strong mother-daughter relationships, and the consequences of human rights abuses.
  • Reach an estimated 8,000 adults and young people about the harmful consequences of early and forced marriage through radio interviews, public service announcements, pamphlets and ads.
  • Train 32 survivors of child marriage in sewing and embroidery, and teach them to read and write. 
  • Prevent at least 10 cases of child marriage through direct intervention with the families.

With 10 million girls around the world under the age of 18 entering into early and forced marriage every year, we need groups like APAD and supporters like you to help end this harmful practice.

Thank you again for your generous gift!

women learn embroidery
women learn embroidery


Danedjo, now 26 and APAD
Danedjo, now 26 and APAD's President

Danedjo's Story

When Danedjo was old enough to start secondary school, she moved to her uncle’s house in Maroua, Cameroon because her small village only had a primary school. When she was 14 her uncle wanted her to marry a man in his mid-30s. Danedjo would become his second wife. A few months before the wedding, her friend Aisha, who is a social worker, helped her escape her uncle’s house to avoid the marriage.

While living at Aisha’s she worked hard to earn money during the day and attend school at night. She also attended weekly meetings at ALVF, a national organization that works to end violence against women. There she met other young women who either escaped or, like her, were able to avoid a forced marriage. 

These survivors of child marriage organized themselves and established APAD in 2001 to fight against this practice so other girls would not have to fall victim to early marriage. Danedjo is now the President of APAD, and is especially concerned with making sure girls stay in school and get an education.

In 2013, APAD plans to use your donations to:

  • Hold 120 educational discussions in 5 villages with 25-30 women and girls each on various human rights issues including sexual and reproductive health and girls' education.
  • Reach out to 70 religious, traditional and community leaders to educate them on the consequences of early and forced marriage.
  • Organize weekly household visits and community meetings to teach parents about the consequences of early and forced marriage, and encourage them to keep their daughters in school.


From November 1 – 30 APAD is competing to win a featured spot on the Girl Effect GlobalGiving page for one full year. Winners receive a share of the Girl Effect Fund, which raised $375,000 last year.

To win, APAD needs as many people as possible to make donations this month. It’s not about how much you give, but about how many people give.

Will you?

  • Please make another small donation (even $10!) this month to help APAD win this contest and raise needed funds?
  • Tell your friends and family why supporting APAD is important to you by sharing on Facebook and Twitter?

Danedjo, APAD, and IWHC thank you again for your generous gift this year!

Leading a community meeting
Leading a community meeting


APAD member and child marriage survivor
APAD member and child marriage survivor

Did you know that every year around the world, an estimated 10 million girls under the age of 18 are married, usually against their will? October 11, 2012 is the first-ever International Day of the Girl declared by the United Nations. Let’s celebrate girls by allowing them to be girls not brides.

In Cameroon, it is estimated that 36% of girls are married before they are 18*. But in the Extreme North of Cameroon, where IWHC’s partner APAD is based, nearly 80% of girls enter early and forced marriages.

This spring when IWHC visited with APAD, some of the young women shared their stories and explained how they are working to change the cultural values that lead to girls being married off as children.

Watch our new short video to hear about their experiences and learn about how APAD is using your donations to ensure that girls have a choice and a chance.

Three things you can do right now to celebrate girls and help end early and forced marriage:

  1. ASK your friends and family to support APAD directly.
  2. SHARE this video on Facebook and Twitter.
  3. TWEET or write a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to end child marriage.

*Check out this interactive world map on child marriage released by the Ford Foundation to learn more.

Young Girls at an APAD Community Meeting
Young Girls at an APAD Community Meeting

Dear Friends,

Thank you again for supporting IWHC's partner APAD to end early and forced marriage in Cameroon! We want to let you know that you aren't alone in this fight. The US Senate also stands with us to protect girls worldwide...

Senate Stands Strong in Support of the Rights of Millions of Girls

by Ellen Marshall on May 25, 2012 (Originally posted on IWHC's blog Akimbo)

The U.S. Senate has once again demonstrated its support for preventing the early and forced marriage of millions of girls by passing the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act on the Senate floor by voice vote yesterday evening. Just as they did in December 2010, Senators have unequivocally agreed: the United States has a role to play in working with national governments and local communities to ensure that early and forced marriage is recognized as a human rights violation, minimum age at marriage laws are enacted and enforced, and girls and their communities receive the information and services they need to stop marrying girls before they are ready and willing so they have a choice and a chance to fulfill their potential.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are steadfast champions on this issue and deserve immense praise for their leadership to ensure this bipartisan legislation passed. Please take a moment and thank them for their work to end early and forced marriage. We now look to the Administration to do its part to ensure that sufficient attention and resources are directed to girls most in need to prevent more marriages from occurring and to support married adolescents. Together, we can all do our part to end this practice and secure the basic human right of all people to decide if, when, and whom they marry.

...And don't forget to share this project with your friends and networks. We still need to raise $4,200!


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Organization Information

International Women's Health Coalition

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.iwhc.org/​
International Women's Health Coalition
Project Leader:
Anais Rivera
New York, NY United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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