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Voices of Change - UNFPA-UNICEF Global programme to accelerate action to end child marriage

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The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage is turning commitments into tangible action for children. It promotes the right of girls to delay marriage, addresses the conditions that keep the practice in place, and cares for girls already in union. The Global Programme is implemented in 12 countries with a high prevalence and/or high burden of child marriage: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

The Global Programme focuses on five strategies for increased impact:

• Empowering adolescent girls at risk of child marriage, or already married, to express their views and exercise their choices.

• Engaging families, communities and leaders to protect girls from child marriage and uphold their rights.

• Strengthening the availability, accessibility, quality and responsiveness of services for adolescent girls.

• Developing and implementing laws and policies that protect girls and boys from harmful practices.

• Generating and using robust data and evidence to inform programmes and policies to end child marriage.

This catalogue highlights stories of some of the girls, families and community members who have been reached by various interventions to end child marriage, supported by the Global Programme.

During the first phase of the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, girls, boys, family members and communities have been reached by interventions aimed at accelerating action to end child marriage. It gives us great pleasure to share "Voices of Change" - which is a compilation of some stories of the impact of the Global Programme and how people around the world take a stance and commit to fight the harmful practice of child marriage.

We meet Shama, who thanks to a cash-transfer scheme in India now can study an information technology course in engineering; Janaki in Nepal, who used a school-based reporting mechanism to report her upcoming marriage which allowed her school together with a social worker to intervene with her parents before the wedding could take place; Atsede, who is a leader of a Women's Development Group in Ethiopia, arranging dialogues in the communities on the harms of child marriage; and Alice, who joined an adolescent girls' group in Sierra Leone and was supported to go back to school after getting pregnant as a teenager; among others.