MSH Joins Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) announced today that it has joined Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of over 100 organizations working to end child marriage all over the world. The partnership will amplify the voices of girls at risk of child marriage and will support girls who are or have been married, all over the world. Girls Not Brides will also defend the rights of girls to health and education and the opportunity to fulfill their potential, while enhancing and strengthening efforts to end child marriage at local, national, and global levels.

MSH has been actively engaged in activities to help end--and mitigate the implications of--child marriage, such as promoting equal access to health care for women and girls in more than 135 countries for over four decades. Projects include the Nigeria Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Project where MSH has partnered with Africare to develop a strategy to combat child marriage and the recent USAID funded, Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) project, led by MSH, which will focus on gender equity.

MSH will help the partnership examine key policy and advocacy issues pertaining to child marriage from a gender and health lens and assist Girls Not Brides with their national advocacy, helping to facilitate relationships between them and MSH’s worldwide country offices. “MSH considers child marriage as both a public health issue and a human rights issue,” said Crystal Lander, MSH Director of Policy & Advocacy.

Some facts on Child Marriage:

  • Child brides face increased risk of contracting HIV because they often marry an older man with more sexual experience and are often unable to negotiate safe sex.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth-related complications are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15–19 in developing countries. At such a young age, a girl has not developed fully and her body may be strained during childbirth, which can result in maternal death or pregnancy-related complications such as obstructed labor and obstetric fistula.
  • Girls who marry young often drop out of school, which further perpetuates the cycle of poverty and brings about grave consequences for them and their families. Women are more likely to invest their income into the household and their family and children.
  • Child marriage also results in increased risk for sexual coercion and domestic violence.

Domestically, MSH is a member of the US Child Marriage Coalition (now Girl Not Brides USA), led by the International Center for Research on Women, the International Women’s Health Coalition; and CARE. Girls Not Brides USA brings awareness to US policymakers, NGOs and the public about the consequences of child marriage and the importance of and solutions to address the issue.

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Girls Not Brides was initiated by the Elders, an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela working for peace and human rights.