Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, marking the start of their lives as wives and mothers well before they are...
Tipping Point advocacy efforts are geared towards using learning, documentation and analysis to build evidence for advocacy against early marriage and to support momentum for action and change in Bangladesh, Nepal and more broadly. Recognizing that practices such as early marriage that are rooted in social norms will not be solved solely through legal or policy means, the project’s advocacy extends beyond a focus on formal policies (e.g. minimum age of marriage laws) to include efforts to influence and transform social and structural drivers of early marriage.
A key goal of the project is supporting and engaging with key national and local coalitions, activists, decision-makers and other key stakeholders in Bangladesh and Nepal to support and mobilize momentum for social change in favor of girls’ rights. In addition, the project aims to build vertical linkages of influence between actors and efforts at local, national and global level. This includes including leveraging learning and insights generated through programming to strengthen evidence for advocacy and increase momentum for action by national and global stakeholders.
In the initial phase, Tipping point’s advocacy activities have focused on capacity building and planning for advocacy, including analysis of policy and legal contexts in Nepal and Bangladesh, stakeholder mapping of key decision-makers and actors at national, district, and local levels and identifying opportunities for influence. In the USG context, the project is building on CARE’s long history of advocacy on early marriage within the US foreign policy. CARE co-chairs the Girls Not Brides-USA coalition, which carries out a multi-year advocacy strategy that contributed to significant policy success in early 2013 when language on early marriage was included in congressional re-authorization of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) legislation, mandating the Secretary of State to develop a multi-year, multi-sectoral national strategy to end child marriage. Tipping Point represents the next step in this advocacy, as CARE and its coalition partners seek to influence and monitor implementation and funding of the policies and commitments that have been made by the USG.
This issue has also been the focus of increased attention a global or multilateral level, partly boosted by the attention of the Elders (an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human initially brought together by Nelson Mandela) as well as the formation of the Girls Not Brides Global coalition in 2011. Child marriage has been the focus of important global events and processes, including the International Day of the Girl Child (2012), UN General Assembly debates, the dialogue around the post-2015 development goals, and the Girl Summit on July 22 in London hosted by the UK government and UNICEF, which includes a focus on child, early and forced marriage. CARE is leveraging Tipping Point to offer timely contributions to inform these global processes and dialogues and support the political momentum to end child marriage.
Notably, given the project’s focus on connecting grassroots learning to national and global advocacy, we are exploring various innovative techniques to monitor and evaluate our advocacy efforts and enhance our understanding of how learning at one level influences change and learning at other levels. This includes steps to systematically monitor key advocacy targets using a policymaker ‘scorecard’ to track traits and attributes that indicate change, exploring ways to track implementation of USG policy and funding commitments on early marriage to understand their implications on community level efforts in Nepal and Bangladesh, and overall documentation of the outcomes of national level advocacy activities and strategies in Bangladesh, Nepal, and the US.