In 2017, an evaluation conducted by the African Union Commission revealed that while significant progress had been achieved in advocating for and building capacities through the Ending Child Marriage Campaign, member states faced challenges in transitioning from campaign launch to actual implementation. Difficulties in developing cost-effective plans and establishing efficient coordination mechanisms hindered the campaign's execution in numerous countries. Furthermore, the intensification of African Union and member state interventions to combat child marriage coincided with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, posing unprecedented challenges to program implementation. The pandemic, along with its preventive measures, exacerbated vulnerabilities, potentially leading to a surge of up to 10 million child marriage cases by 2030 due to disruptions in education, socio-economic disparities, and heightened household poverty.
The African Union Commission's Campaign to End Child Marriage Community of Practice aims to establish an interactive platform engaging member states and partners to accelerate the campaign's implementation. Specific objectives include facilitating the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and evidence-based insights among member states and partners, offering technical assistance and capacity building for effective campaign execution, supporting the follow-up of national action plans, providing a venue for youth-led efforts to combat child marriage, and disseminating relevant research and professional development opportunities
The End Child Marriage Community of Practice is anticipated to generate evidence, share best practices, enhance multi-sector coordination, and expedite the implementation of the campaign across various stakeholders. It aims to bolster technical capacity, guide country action plans, identify, adapt, and replicate successful practices for expediting the achievement of SDG goal 5.3, and build the capacity of stakeholders in leading and supporting anti-child marriage efforts.
To achieve its goals, the ECM Community of Practice will adopt diverse interactive and participatory approaches, including monthly webinars, thematic web content sharing on the African Union-hosted End Child Marriage Campaign website, progress report dissemination, multimedia materials for reference and scale-up support, knowledge exchange activities, online and in-person capacity-building sessions, and an annual physical share fair to promote cross-learning and innovation among campaign stakeholders.