Mobilise families and communities
On this page you will learn about one of the four pillars of our Theory of Change to end child marriage: to mobilise families and communities, how to do this, how to measure progress, and examples of successful approaches.
Strategy to mobilise families and communities
Pressure to marry young usually comes from girls’ families and communities and the broader cultural attitudes that influence these groups’ attitudes and behaviour. Work together to address these deep-rooted values and traditions by engaging families, communities, young people and the media to change attitudes and behaviours related to child marriage.
Work to address deep-rooted values and traditions within all groups who influence the decision to marry girls young and who facilitate the marriage taking place: parents, men, traditional, religious and community leaders, and others.
This also has to be reflected in the broader cultural attitudes and media that influence these groups’ attitudes and behaviour.
- Families, communities and young people are increasingly aware of the harmful impact of child marriage and alternatives available
- Families, communities and young people value alternative options to child marriage
- Families and communities prefer not to marry girls as children
- Men prefer not to marry girls who are still children
- Increased use of media to inform and support norm change to end child marriage
Our strategic activities should change how child marriage is viewed by families and within wider society. Greater understanding of how child marriage harms girls will help to encourage families and communities to make different choices. However, changing attitudes can take a long time and these efforts should be resourced accordingly.
Programmes and practice
Working with men and boys
Working with men and boys is a critical part of our efforts to end child marriage. In many communities it is the men who hold the power and make the decisions. Interventions targeting fathers, brothers, husbands and future husbands are important in helping men and boys reflect on the status quo and see the benefits of a community which values and supports girls and women to fulfil their potential.
Religious and traditional leaders
Religious and traditional leaders, too, have the potential to play a key role in speaking out against child marriage and changing community attitudes. In communities where religious and traditional leaders play a prominent role in decision-making or influencing the prevailing norms, targeted interventions can support them to become positive advocates for change who fully understand the implications of child marriage for girls and their families.
Community level change
Community level change underpins all of our efforts in preventing child marriage and mitigating the harmful effects for married girls. Without change at this level, the day-to-day reality for girls all over the world will remain the same.
At the grassroots, organisations are driving change by campaigning, holding community conversations and using a variety of creative techniques such as street theatre and art to reflect on the practice of child marriage and communicate its harmful impacts for girls and their communities.
Changing norms at scale
Changing norms at scale is integral to the process of change and a growing number of organisations are using mass media campaigns and other innovative methods such as radio, TV and digital media to raise awareness of girls’ rights and the impact of child marriage.
Messages that promote new norms, role models and positive deviants show positive signs of being an effective way to change attitudes and behaviours around the value of girls and women.