Tipping Point Key Learning Questions

Tipping Point Key Learning Questions

Publication info


These questions came out of lengthy discussions with project teams in Bangladesh and Nepal. As a learning project, Tipping Point staff and community groups will intentionally explore these questions in the course of our work with communities and networks.

1. How can community mobilization strategies be applied to change community norms related to child marriage and its root causes?

  • How can different kinds of community groups build solidarity, network, and mobilize to generate alternative social expectations and opportunities for adolescent girls other than their marriage?
  • What are the key features of successful engagement of men and boys next to women and girls in a movement that can drive change in norms around marriage?
  • What kinds of evidence (e.g., the real costs of dowry over time; the benefits to men of more equitable marriage; religious arguments against child marriage) or processes contribute to social dialogue that can shift the thinking of key decision makers about child marriages (e.g. parents, prospective in-laws, prospective grooms, community leaders, religious leaders)?
  • How can network analysis help monitor how the influence of champions against child marriage spreads alternative ways of thinking about the future roles of adolescent girls?
  • If and how do community level efforts to prevent child marriage affect household level decision making about the marriage of children?

2. Can intentional and thoughtful dialogues on adolescent sexuality and masculinity (what it means to be a male) make a difference in child marriage practices?

  • How can sexual and reproductive health education or dialogues on sexuality affect communication between parents and adolescents on bodily integrity and rights? How can they help to delink chastity and family honor, or the burden of shame that gets laid on girls when boys and men sexually harass them?  
  • How can transformative work with men and boys through dialogues on masculinity affect expectations of girls and women, roles and responsibilities of girls and women, the quality of relationships, and decision making about marriage?

3. What are the alternative paths girls are able to pursue when marriage is delayed?

  • Are there better alternatives? What are other means for girls of securing the social and economic assets that marriage presumably confers?
  • What are the lives of women who married later like? The lives of women who never married?

4. How does advocacy at one level influence change at another level?

  • How can broader level advocacy facilitate change in the lives of young girls at the community level?
  • How can using grassroots innovation in child marriage programs in global advocacy contribute to changes at the national and community level?
  • Under what conditions can multilevel organizations work together to ensure implementation of laws meant to prevent child marriage?
  • How can we measure the “synthesis” effect of programming work at various levels at the same time?
  • How do US government and global policies (such as the US Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, the Human Rights Council Resolution on child marriage, and others) have an impact on girls’ lives at the community level?
  • How will national processes (such as the current revisions to the Bangladesh Child Marriage Restraint Act and the development of a national strategy to end child marriage in Nepal) have an impact on girls’ lives in the community?

5. How do economic factors help sustain child marriage practices? What factors might encourage delayed marriage or girls’ greater influence in marriage decisions?

  • What are the financial incentives or disincentives related to marriage decisions? What are the economic drivers that incentivize families to marry their daughters early or to delay that decision?
  • How should we understand dowry both symbolically and pragmatically? How do families of grooms negotiate more lucrative dowry or better payback in the marriage negotiation process? How do dowry practices play out throughout the course of a marital relationship?
  • How much does it cost to get married? What are the costs incurred in a child marriage that are not incurred in a marriage at an adult age? What is the local economy of child marriage made of, and who participates? Who benefits?
  • What other transactions take place between families besides dowry?
  • What is the evidence for the belief that younger girls require a lower dowry?
  • How can the financial /economic transactions of marriage be de-emphasized in the process of constructing a new norm about marriage overall?