icon icon icon icon icon icon icon


What is Photovoice?

Photographs and captions created by adolescents and their family members in Nepal Bangladesh allowed for Tipping Point to evaluate how its programs helped empower girls, change gendered social norms, and contribute to an end of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM). The results of Photovoice demonstrated that restrictive norms had loosened, adolescents girls had increased knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, parents had better relationships with their children, and some child marriages had been averted.

Photovoice was used as part of the monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) approach for Phase 1 of Tipping Point. It builds on developmental evaluation and feminist evaluation principles – which, together, facilitate innovation and prioritize learning.

Confronting child marriage at its roots

Child marriage is a complex and persistent issue impacting girls and women throughout their lives in many parts of the world. Focusing on only one angle, like education or work, cannot solve these issues at their root – we need to look and think more deeply for solutions.

The Tipping Point initiative addresses child marriage by empowering girls and women in diverse ways from their family and social relationships to work opportunities, confidence, health, and more.

The initiative’s unique approach is anchored around a 10-year plan to tackle the underlying causes of child marriage. Real, lasting change can happen when work goes beyond helping individuals, and reshapes the harmful norms at the problem’s core.

Through 4 years of innovation and advocacy work in Nepal and Bangladesh, the initiative’s pilot projects have shown the potential to reach a tipping point of sustainable change in critical regions.

What real change looks like

Every day, 39,000 girls become child brides, often married to much older men. Around the world, 700 million women alive today were married before they turned 18. They often have no choice and no voice in the decisions that impact their lives, such as who to marry or if, when and how many children to bear.

The following photographs are stunning glimpses into the lives of women and girls in Bangladesh and Nepal, where child marriage is a fact of daily life.

Participants, many of whom had never taken a photo, received cameras to document the differences they saw in their everyday lives since Tipping Point joined their villages.

Using the Photovoice methodology, through their own photographs and stories, they captured moments of newfound freedom to move independently, support themselves financially and work together with men and boys, converse intimately with their families, become star athletes, and much more.

Two young boys stand in front of a van. Three young girls wearing boldly colored dresses stand together while holding yellow schoolbooks. Two young children stand next to each other on a dirt path. They are both carrying bags of groceries. Two girls wearing royal blue soccer jerseys hold a soccer ball together. A girl sits on a red motorbike. A girl wearing bright purple stands in a hallway with her arms crossed. A woman and man sit outside cooking. The woman is holding a baby and looking at the camera. Dark clothing hung up on a wire. Two women stand next to each other and hold baskets. A man smiles while holding a baby. A man wearing blue clothing and a young woman wearing red clothing stand next to each other. The girl's hand is around the man's shoulder.
1 of 11
Groomsmen in a marriage procession, Nepal, 2017

"The bridegroom team for my brother's wedding."

By taking on a prominent role in the marriage celebrations at a young age boys quickly become accustomed to the institution of child marriage.

Why child marriage must end

Girls forced into early marriage are losing vital opportunities in life, and only being endangered in return.

The leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15-19 globally is complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Girls who marry before 18 are more likely to report domestic violence from their partners. Those who resist the system are shunned by their families and communities.

Most of all, girls and boys both are losing chances to learn, to work, and to follow their aspirations. Child marriage is harming generation after generation. Its legacy is loss and a waste of human potential.

It’s time for girls to be able to choose a different path.

How we can tip the balance

There is no silver bullet to ending child marriage. We need to support holistic approaches that empower girls and get families and communities to take action.

  • Champion girls’ rights and focus on the root causes of child marriage in dialogues at local, national and global levels.
  • Adopt, fund and implement policies and strategies that focus on changing harmful social norms and supporting adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Support media and communication strategies and tools that can reach isolated communities and the marginalized community members within them.
  • Support and integrate early marriage prevention efforts within broader sectoral programs supported by U.S. foreign assistance, including global health, education and humanitarian programs.
  • Invest in girls’ and youth ability to get engaged and lead around the world.

Being Free

Moving independently, traveling to new places, and even having the freedom to play soccer are all new ways that girls are pursuing their aspirations.

Three girls playing soccer outside in the grass. Women and girls are playing a game of hands Five young girls in their white and blue school uniform. A young girl in a red dress standing on a tree. A young girl wearing a blue shirt and a yellow sweater is drawing on a piece of paper. A lady wearing a colorful a dress and a blue scarf is riding a bike. A lady wearing a red dress and a green scarf is watering a garden of flowers. A foot of a woman wearing a pink and green cloth is on the pedal of a sewing machine.
1 of 8

"My friend is playing soccer with other girls in the garden. In the past, adults did not let girls play soccer, and instead girls had to do household chores most of the time. However, since parents and girls have been participating in different group discussions, all family members have started helping each other. Parents now allow their daughters to play soccer."

It Takes a Village

Girls thrive when they have supportive families and a broader community of people embracing gender equitable practices.

A woman wearing a piece of cloth with red and black stripes stands in the middle of two young girls who are wearing pink dresses and black scarfs. An grown man wearing a blue shirt seats on a colorful piece of cloth. A young lady wearing a pink scarf holds her mother who wears a red piece of cloth. A topless man and a woman wearing a colorful piece of cloth are washing a cow in a pond. A man wearing a blue shirt and white pants is feeding a duck from a pan. An old man with white clothing is holding a pan. A man with a white shirt and clothing on his head is making cow dung patties. A young boy wearing jeans in holding a piece of cloth from a bucket. A man wearing a blue shirt and black pants is cooking with two pans.
1 of 9

"In the past, daughters seldom spoke to their mothers about the issues they faced because they were shy or afraid. This is my friend and her mother. We feel the relationship with our mothers has changed. We can now speak to our mothers about what makes us happy and sad."

Expanding Horizons

From understanding their own health and bodies to mastering new skills, girls are expanding their visions for themselves.

A young girl in a red dress is writing in a notebook while seating on a chair. A girl in a red dress is reading a book while seating on a blue chair. Two young children, a girl and a boy, hold books in their hands. Seven piles of books are on a white tarpaulin. A girl in blue clothing seats next to a sewing machine. A woman in red clothing is sewing a piece of cloth. A lady in red clothing stands in the middle of young children while holding a book. A lady in blue clothing is drying a piece of cloth outside. A lady wearing a red dress and a green scarf is holding a book in a brick house. Women in a brick house, some seating and others standing, are holding cameras.
1 of 10

"This picture of a young girl doing her homework is important to me because it shows that she is being given time by her family to study at home."