Realizing the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage: Emerging lessons from child marriage programming in Malawi and Zambia

Across Africa, 125 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday with one in three young women in Africa married in childhood, and one in ten before their 15th birthday.

The African Union (AU) has led the continental efforts to end child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and has developed various normative frameworks for the elimination of child marriage and FGM/C in Africa. To improve the lives of millions of girls and foster implementation of these frameworks, the AU launched a continental Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa on 29 May 2014.

This policy paper is a practical example of UN Women’s contribution to the continental and national efforts to end child marriage, drawing on the lessons learned from the implementation of UN Women–led child marriage projects in Malawi and Zambia, to promote sharing of experiences among AU Member States in a bid to strengthen South-South learning for accelerated actions across the continent.

The research recognizes that Malawi and Zambia are among countries with high child marriage prevalence rates but have become global and continental champions as a result of the demonstrable progress they have achieved at national and community levels, backed by a high-level political commitment in the efforts to eradicate child marriage.

The paper proposes key recommendations for prioritization by the AU, Member States, the UN System, civil society organizations, and other actors towards the full realization of the objectives of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

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Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: Africa; Malawi; Zambia

Subject area(s): Child marriage; Ending violence against women and girls

Resource type: Best practices; Policy papers

UN Women office involved in publication: Liaison Office to the African Union (Addis Ababa)

Publication year: 2020

Number of pages: 20

Publishing entities: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)