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Right now, there are 650 million child brides living in every region
of the world. Child marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights,
which severely impacts the global economy, peace and security, as well
as hampering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress has been made over the last decade, but 2020 saw the
greatest surge in child marriage rates in 25 years. Global projections
of girls married by 2030 have shot up from 100 million to 110 million,
as an additional 10 million girls will now be married due to the effects
of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to anecdotal data from our
programmes, between March-December 2020, child marriages more-than
doubled in many communities compared to 2019.This report compiles research and data from four unique contexts –
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and Uganda – where World Vision has
been working to address the issue of child marriage. In each of these
countries, case studies were developed using first-hand accounts of
promising practices towards eliminating child marriage.
Sophie Maprayil; Amy Goggins; Francis Harris
This report is the result of a multi-sectoral needs assessment exercise focusing on the rights and needs of adolescents living in the Anglophone territories of North West South West (NWSW) Cameroon. Conducted under extremely challenging circumstances, the assessment used innovative methods pioneered by Plan International to capture the voices of adolescent girls and young women, alongside adolescent boys, young men and their parents and caregivers. It spoke directly to adolescent girls themselves, in particular adolescent girls who are mothers, pregnant, or married, whose ideas, and needs, are often ignored. The NWSW regions of Cameroon have been engulfed in crisis since late 2016, yet this conflict, and its impacts on adolescents, have received limited attention from the international community. This report, which gives adolescents the space to voice their concerns and priorities can be used to engage with states, donors and other humanitarian actors on this neglected crisis and highlight what needs to be done to address adolescents’ needs, rights and aspirations.
Compared to the previous generation, the incidence of child marriage worldwide has declined. However, strides forward have suffered from substantial limitations. At the global level, child marriage is still too widespread, and progress too slow, to meet the SDG target in 2030. At the regional level, some areas have achieved remarkable progress, while others are lagging behind. Worryingly, in the majority of cases, progress over the past decade (2010-2020) has not matched advancements achieved in the decade prior (2000-2010). At the country level, inclusive progress hasn’t always materialized: in a number of countries, gaps are widening not only between wealth groups, but also on the basis of residence. In a nutshell, progress has been unevenly distributed not only across time, but also across geographies, with stark divides both among and within countries. COVID-19 is expected to have a damaging impact on child protection, including according to Save the Children’s own projections. Urgent efforts are needed to guarantee girls’ rights and prevent devastating setbacks. In the longer term, more research is needed to understand what drives child marriage, so as to tackle it more effectively in different regions.
Kath Ford; Renu Singh
The health, social, political and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are disproportionately affecting girls and women by exacerbating existing systemic gender inequalities at all levels, with potential implications for the incidence of child marriage. This brief describes how the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage has adapted its interventions to ensure we continue to reach and protect girls at risk of child marriage and already married girls during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic may cause 13 million additional child marriages by 2030, and West and Central Africa will be severely affected unless multi-sectoral, comprehensive efforts to end child marriage are accelerated in the region. This joint brief from Girls Not Brides and Plan International outlines the impacts of the pandemic on child marriage. It provides recommendations and an urgent call for action for governments, regional bodies and humanitarian actors to ensure that girls and young women's rights are upheld during and after the COVID-19 crisis response.
COVID-19 poses a grave threat to the world’s children. As it has been showed in a previous report, while the mortality rate for healthy children infected by the virus has been lower than for adults and those with pre-existing conditions, 30 million are still at risk of illness and death. It is the indirect effects and impacts of this disease that pose a clear and present danger to children, particularly the most vulnerable. This report looks at one those impacts of COVID-19 on girls and boys. Violence. It predicts a major spike in the cases of children experiencing physical, emotional and sexual violence, both now and in the months and years to come. Whether they are forced to stay at home, or, in time, are sent to work or pushed into early marriage, boys and girls face a bleak future – unless governments, UN agencies, donors, NGOs, and the private sector do everything thing they can now to protect them.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
Read the latest quarterly digest on violence against children and women during COVID-19.
The first digest covers children and youth mental health under COVID-19.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response