Share-Net Thematic Session on Child Marriage

Posted by Kimberley Meijers on December 20, 2016 at 9:49 am

Share-Net’s Working Group on Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy organised in collaboration with the three Dutch alliances working on child marriage, a thematic session on Child Marriage including the celebration of the launch of the Girls Not Brides the Netherlands, the 8th official National Partnership of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Girls Not Brides is a partnership of more than 600 civil society organisations based in over 80 countries, united by a commitment to end child marriage and enable every girl to fulfill her potential.

The Share-Net thematic session included a presentation by representatives from Share-Net Netherlands on the facts and figures on child marriage. This presentation was titled ‘Child Marriage: Overview of current state of knowledge and first snapshots of baseline findings in various countries’. The Share-Net presenters were: Esther Miedema – Researcher/Lecturer, UvA and Maryse Kok – Researcher, KIT.

Afterwards, Mabel van Oranje interviewed three representatives of the Dutch child marriage alliances: Anne- Birgitte Albrectsen (CEO Plan International), Ariette den Brouwer (executive director Simavi) and Jeroen den Tex (executive director Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland). Mabel van Oranje also moderated a panel discussion including Lambert Grijns (Special Ambassador SRHR HIV/AIIDS), and Margarida Jeiambe Lomo a youth advocate from Mozambique and a representative from a Dutch NGO addressing child marriage (the latter tbc). After the panel discussion there was ample time to network with representatives from Dutch and international civil society organizations. The Share-Net thematic session and launch were attended by 80 participants.

This celebration followed a morning advocacy event in the Dutch Parliament that will focus on the impact of Dutch Government support to end child marriage. This event marked the launch of Girls Not Brides the Netherlands. The new Dutch National Partnership will work to share knowledge and work on joint initiatives to prevent child marriages both nationally and internationally. Girls Not Brides the Netherlands was founded by thirteen Dutch organisations, which in turn work with dozens of partner organisations across Africa and Asia. The organisations work together in three civil society alliances*.

The Netherlands is currently a global leader in tackling child marriage. The Dutch government has made significant financial commitments, as have donors based in the country such as the Dutch Postcode Lottery and the Ikea Foundation. Civil society organisations based in the Netherlands have also been at the forefront of efforts to end child marriage. These commitments need to be sustained and increased over the coming years, and the new Dutch National Partnership will play a critical role in achieving this. While we are making progress, global efforts need to be accelerated if we want to avoid the number of women married as children reaching 1.2 billion by 2050.

Worldwide, one girl is married off under the age 18 every two seconds. Child marriage is an issue which cuts across countries, cultures, and religions, and is driven by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity. The consequences for girls are devastating. Child brides are often forced to drop out of school, and are more likely to experience domestic abuse. They are also more likely to face pressure to have children early, resulting in complications during birth. Complications related to pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death in girls aged between 15 and 19.

*The three other Dutch alliances include:

  • Her Choice; Kinderpostzegels, The Hunger Project, International Child Development Initiatives, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  • Yes I Do; Plan Nederland, Rutgers, Amref Flying Doctors, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen
  • More Than Brides; Save the Children Nederland, Simavi, Oxfam Novib, the Population Council