Campaign RoadMap

Campaign Timeline

The AU Campaign to End Child Marriage is a project that was initiated by the former Chairperson of the African Union Commission- Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to enhance efforts to promote and protect the rights of girls and women in Africa. The Campaign was officially launched at the continental level on 29 May 2014.

The overall purpose of the Campaign is to accelerate the end of child marriage in Africa by enhancing continental awareness of the effects of child marriage. The Campaign works on already existing activities of governments and partners in ending child marriage. It is based on three main components advocacy, monitoring and evaluation and capacity building and technical assistance.
 

2014-2017

Launch of the Campaign in 24 countries

the purpose of the launches is to increase national conscience on the rights and welfare of the girl-child and obtain Member State buy-in toward ending the harmful practice of child marriage, the countries that launched are: Ethiopia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mali, The Sudan, Ghana, Eritrea, The Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Benin, Lesotho, Gabon, and Guinea Biassau.

2014-2017

January 2015

The High Level Advocacy Breakfast Meeting on Ending Child Marriage

On the fringes of the January 2015 AU Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa– Hosted and championed by the President and First lady of the Republic of Chad;

2015

Commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2015

In Soweto, South Africa, under the theme - “25 Years after the adoption of the African Children’s Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa”, the DAC took place on the fringes of the June 2015 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Sandton, South Africa;

2015

June 2015

Development of the African Common Position on Ending Child Marriage

In Africa and its Action Plan, which was endorsed by the Ministerial Meeting of the Special Technical Committee on Labour, Employment and Social Development, and submitted to the Executive Council and the June 2015 Assembly of Heads of States and Government for adoption;

12 Dec 2015

Completion of three desk studies

i) Effects of Traditional and Religious Practices of Child Marriage to the Socio-economic Development of Africa’; ii) The linkages between child marriage and HIV/AIDS in Africa; iii) Desk Review on Linkages between Child Marriage, Teen Pregnancies and Its Negative Effects On Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health. The purpose of the studies is to help the Campaign generate a body of evidence to guide the work of the Commission and its partners in addressing the practice of child marriage;

12 Dec 2015

November 2015

The First African Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa(November

The Commission of the African Union in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Zambia and with support from various partners organized the First African Girls' Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa, in recognition of the efforts being made by African Governments and other stakeholders that have been actively working to end the harmful practice of child marriage by raising awareness of the adverse consequences for girls and running programs that provide girls with viable alternatives to marriage, as well as working towards more effective enforcement of existing laws that condemn child marriage;

September 2016

Setting up of a Civil Society Reference Group

This reference group is comprised of 10 civil society organizations working on child marriage, child rights and child protection issues, the CSOs were selection by the Commission. The reference group will provide ab opportunity for networking of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa to drive CSO engagement and ensure better targeted grassroots’ reach;
 

September 2016

March 2016

Regional Capacity Building Trainings for Regional Economic Communities, Member States and CSOs on Ending Child Marriage

The AUC Department of Social Affairs organized three capacity building workshops for Regional Economic Communities, Member States and CSOs. The workshops were held in September & October 2015 and March 2016, in Zambia (bringing together participants from East and Southern Africa), Nigeria (bringing together participants from West and Central Africa) and Egypt (bringing together participants from North Africa) respectively;

September 2016

Capacity Building training for religious, traditional leaders and parliamentarians in Addis Ababa

This workshop provided an understanding of child marriage and other harmful traditional practices focusing on the role of Religious and traditional Leaders/bodies as well as parliamentarians as important agents of change in ending child marriage in Africa;

September 2016

November 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, the second in Ghana (27 February – 01 March 2017)

Regional capacity building trainings for the media on ending child marriage

The main objective of the trainings is to enhance the capacity of the media to better investigate and report on child marriage in Africa with a focus on addressing the different facets of the issue and challenging all stakeholders towards ending the practice. The workshops will be regional, the first workshop will take place in November 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, the second in Ghana (27 February – 01 March 2017) for the West and Central African Stream, and the third in Botswana (28 - 30 March 2017)  for the Southern African Stream with following workshops for North Africa, West & Central Africa and Southern Africa.  

November 2016

Promotion of the Campaign

In collaboration with CAF and UNICEF during the AFCON Women’s Football Championship – November 2016

November 2016

31 January 2017

High-Level Breakfast on the Implementation of the Common African Position on Ending Child Marriage in Africa

This high- level event was hosted by the President of the Government of Zambia H.E. Edgar C. Lungu in collaboration with the AUC. The Breakfast was on the progress made by the campaign over the past two years as well as recommitments of Heads of States to end child marriage in Africa.

19 – 20 April 2017

CSO Reference Group Inception Meeting

Took place 19 – 20 April 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In April 2017, the Campaign together with the Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage established a Civil Society Reference Group with ten (10) organizations selected across Africa, representing different stakeholders and reflecting regional balance, to support the efforts of AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa by providing advice to the Campaign, while galvanising and deepening the participation of CSOs in implementing the Campaign's objectives on a larger scale.

19 – 20 April 2017

24 -28 April 2017

Second Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee(STC) on Social Development, Labor and Employment

The STC meeting took place in Algiers Algeria under the theme “Social Development, Labor, and Employment: Benefits of the Demographic Dividend for Inclusive Development” with the Objective to consider which investments would be required to address opportunities and challenges in reaping benefits of the demographic dividend with the inclusion of vulnerable groups and maximizing labor outcomes. The biennial report on the progress of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa and the achievement made at the national level in ending child marriage within the framework of the campaign were noted. The STC emphasized the need to end child marriage with concrete recommendations from Member States and other stakeholders on actions to be taken to end child marriage. A declaration  was also developed stressing : ‘Continue to collaborate with the African Union on the campaign to end child marriage and to engage with various stakeholders at community, national, regional and international levels in the fight against this harmful practice and others negatively affecting children’

June 2017– May 2018

Project on Communication and Data Management Support to the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa

The AU Campaign to End Child Marriage is working with the Youth Division to recruit youth volunteers to support the campaign. The main objective of the support will be to enhance the capacity of AU Member States to better address the cardinal components of the AU Campaign on Ending Child Marriage in Africa; i.e. Advocacy and Social Mobilization; Monitoring Evaluation, Accountability and Learning; and Facilitating Technical Assistance and Capacity Building, by bridging the existing communication gap between the different government ministries and partners, working to end child marriage and ensuring effective data collection and dissemination.

June 2017– May 2018

June 2017

Peace and Security Open Session on Ending Child Marriage

  • In June 2017, the Peace and Security Council held an open session on ending child marriage chaired by the Ambassador of Zambia. The session aimed at raising awareness on the impact of children who are often forgotten or invisible during conflict and are vulnerable to all forms of sexual exploitation and abuses including child marriages and address. The session came out with concrete recommendations focusing on the need for Member States and other stakeholders to do the following:

 

  • Invest in research on the situation of children before and during disaster hit countries to have sufficient data on child marriage in conflict affected areas;
  • Put in place special measures to protect children against child marriages and provide rehabilitation for children affected by conflict particularly psycho-social and mental support for children who are displaced or refugees;
  • Provide adequate resources for ending child marriage programs and strengthen legal frameworks treat child marriage as a criminal act and to punish perpetrators of child marriage
  • Strengthen education systems and child friendly safe zones as an alternative to child marriages ;
  • Provide sensitization and training for armed forces and law enforcers on child rights and protection of children;
  • The AU should continue to give capacity building trainings to different stakeholders in fight against child marriage and engage more closely with traditional leaders who have strong influence in communities ;

June 2017

Webinar on Ending Child Marriage and Stopping the Spread of HIV (June 2017)

The Commission of the African Union and RIATT-ESA co-hosted a webinar on Ending Child Marriage and Stopping the Spread of HIV, the focus on existing challenges and the opportunities for action. The webinar was an important opportunity to launch the research finding and ensure that many people know about the study and where to access it.

June 2017

June 2017

High-Level Luncheon on Ending Child Marriage

The African Union Commission together with Plan International and UN Women Organized a high-level lunch as a side event during the Gender Pre-summit. The aim was to enhance to advocacy against child marriage and increased commitment of the Ministers and heads of state to fight against the harmful practice of child marriage

September and October 2017

Fact finding Mission to Tanzania and Mali

The AU Goodwill Ambassador and Special Rapporteur on Ending Child Marriage conducted fact finding missions to Tanzania (September 2017), Mali(October 2017) and Zambia (May 2018)respectively. These visits were useful to the Campaign to assess the current status of member states who have launched the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage.

September and October 2017

October 2017

High-Level Meeting on Ending Child Marriage for West and Central Africa

The West and Central Coalition on Ending Child Marriage, an organization comprised of 10 CSOs, NGOs, and UN Agencies, organized a high level meeting to enhance awareness and increase political commitment of Heads of State, Religious, Traditional and Parliamentary leaders, First Ladies etc.  Member States welcomed the AU’s leadership through the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage and aims to galvanize the local national and regional actions to end child marriage in West and Central Africa, and to contribute to the continued continental momentum driven by key continental initiative.

May 2018

2nd CSO Reference Group Meeting on Ending Child Marriage

The 10 CSO RG member of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage convened their second meeting in preparation of the 2nd African Girls’ Summit. The meeting also entailed synergizing the workplan of the CSO RG with the AU Campaign workplan for the year 2018, and clearly defining role of CSO RG moving beyond 2018.

May 2018

2018 -2019

Newsletter for the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa

AFRICAN GIRLS CAN CODE INITIATIVE:
More than 100 girls will be taking part in an exciting new initiative entitled “African Girls Can Code” in Addis Ababa in August 2018. The purpose of this initiative is to enhance entrepreneurship and new business opportunities through use of new information technology and how African countries can draw on new digital – including mobile - technologies and skills transfer to allow business models and entrepreneurships to leapfrog. This initiative is a joint project between the African Union Commission, UN Women and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) aiming at promoting girls in STEM and ICT.

25 - 27 September 2018

Post Launch Country visit: Cairo, The Republic of Egypt:

The Arab Republic of Egypt has been a key advocate in promoting the rights and welfare of children by developing concrete national strategies to empower vulnerable children.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss and identify the current status and progress made by Egypt in improving the national strategies and the level of intervention for the protection of the girl child. The aim was to connect with the National Council of Childhood and, Motherhood, (NCCM) the leading Ministry in Egypt working for the protection of children, as well as connecting with relevant governmental ministries, partners and stakeholders to share experiences on the legislation and actions that have been taken in Egypt to protect the girl child and combat child marriage.

The AU delegation including representatives from the NCCM had the opportunity to go for a field visit outside of Cairo to the governorate of El Fayoum to meet the Governor General Essam Saad and to see the latest activities implemented in El Fayoum Governorate “Promoting Children’s Rights and Family Empowerment” programme

25 - 27 September 2018

October 16 – 18 2018

Post Launch Country Visit: Asmara, The State of Eritrea:

The AUC Campaign to End Child Marriage team conducted a post launch country visit to the State of Eritrea where they met with the ministries working to end child marriage specifically Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour.

Eritrea has developed a committee consisting of these ministries including other ministries as part of a multi - sectorial approach in their strategy to end child marriage and female genital mutilation in the country. The team also went on a field visit to the town of Aditekelezan where they met with the community- religious and traditional leaders, parents, legal officers and also visited the Community Hospital. This field visit showcased the good practices that Eritrea has from national to community level working to end child marriage as well as the number of stake holders involved in fighting against harmful practices.

It was noted that Eritrea needs to document their good practices and share with other African countries to learn their programs and experiences in ending child marriage and FGM.

31 October - 1 November 2018

Meeting on Youth Volunteers’ Contribution to the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Johannesburg, South Africa:

The African Union’s Campaign to End Child Marriage in collaboration with Ford foundation hosted an evaluation meeting in Johannesburg with the AUC Youth Division.

The objective of this meeting on the youth volunteer project on ending child marriage was an open discussion on the campaign, experience sharing and a learning opportunity that informed the way forward and how better to engage ministries at country level and other stakeholders on ECM.

The meeting gave an opportunity for each of the youth volunteers who were deployed to Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe respectively to work in Ministries working to end child marriage to each make a brief presentation on their experiences including achievements and challenges during their one year deployment

31 October - 1 November 2018

29 – 31 October 2018

The 2nd International Conference on Maternal, New born and Child Health Nairobi, Kenya:

As child marriage is one of the main reasons for teen pregnancies in the developing world, the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage team was invited and given the opportunity to attend the 2nd International Conference on Maternal, New born and Child Health in Nairobi, Kenya and present in the parallel session entitled "Breaking the cycle by ending child marriage-key to ending teen pregnancy".

The Conference aimed to maintain momentum and focus towards ending preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

The session was a success in promoting the work of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage, furthermore in forging possible new partnerships with relevant organizations to increase momentum of the campaign.

November 2018

The 2nd African Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage and other Harmful Practices: 23 – 24

African union commission hosted the 2nd African Girls Summit on the theme “Enough with the Silence” from 23-24 November 2018.  The summit was opened in the presence of H.E. Rebecca Akufo - Addo the First Lady of Ghana as well as the First Ladies of Niger, Liberia, Chad and Sierra Leone.

Other relevant stakeholders namely development partners, celebrity Ambassadors, the advisory committee on Ending Child Marriage, traditional and religious leaders, youth groups, government agencies, NGOs and CSOs, market women association and law enforcement agencies and associated groups were also in attendance.

Two days prior to the Girls Summit there was a Youth Pre- Summit from 21 – 22 November for youth where they were given the opportunity to bring their ideas from different perspectives such as education for boys and girls, sexual reproductive health, ending child marriage, the role of the youth in community, among others and the way forward.

The African Girls summit was organized by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana and the office of the First Lady of Ghana in order to zero in on adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and how to overcome the barriers to adolescent health education and services. Both, the conference of African First Ladies and the 2nd African Girls Summit will be held concurrently.

November 2018

4 - 6 December 2018

Post Launch Country Visit: Mozambique

The Commission undertook a post launch visit to the republic of Mozambique on the 4 - 6 December to further enhance the efforts being made at country level to combat child marriage and continue to bring meaningful change. This visit further accelerated a Pan-African movement to end child marriage and to protect the girl child’s human rights across the continent.

The visit involved meetings with relevant Government Ministries focussing on addressing the practice of child marriage as well as national collaborating partners including religious, traditional and community leaders and various civil society organizations in the fight to end child marriage

10 – 22 March 2019

CSW event in New York

Undertaking innovative measures to ensure social protection for girls and women is amongst the important prerequisites to guarantee the success of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage as well as the Campaign on Ending FGM in Africa which are both under the Division of Social Welfare, DSA. The Commission on the Status of Women 2019 – CSW63 under the main theme Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls was organized in New York, USA.

The purpose of this mission was amongst others to share key achievements and challenges of social protection programs in Africa, and in the meantime learn from the experience various governmental and non-governmental institutions from across the world which were present.  In light of this, the delegation participated in multiple side-events on social protection as well as organized their own side-event on addressing social protection in the perspective of child marriage.

10 – 22 March 2019

March 2019

Meeting of CSO Reference Group in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Prior to the introductory meeting which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2017, the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage held the following CSO Ref Group in May 2018 where the main objectives of the meeting were to discuss how to better link the AU Campaign to community level organisations, establish a clear definition of the ways of work of the CSO RG, as well as link the work plan to the AU Campaign in order to achieve a strong synergy.

In light of the upcoming STC it was imperative that the African Union would make a decision to extend the Campaign to End Child Marriage for a five year period namely 2019 to 2023 hence the convening of the next CSO Ref group meeting held in March 2019. This meeting was to offer recommendations for the Strategic Directions for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, together with a proposed road map defining the next steps.

The dynamic role of the CSOs in the communities led the Commission’s Department of Social Affairs to assemble a CSO Reference Group in 2015 to work directly with the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage. The CSO RG is comprised of nine organizations across Africa, representing different stakeholders and reflecting regional balance.

The CSO Reference Group is to provide technical advice and leverage its knowledge and network base in furtherance of the African Campaign to End Child Marriage working through the office of the African Union Goodwill Ambassador. In addition, the AUC Campaign established a Technical Working Group of partners mostly based in Addis Ababa to be a platform for information sharing mostly with development and funding partners.

March 2019

Meeting of CSO Reference Group in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Prior to the introductory meeting which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2017, the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage held the following CSO Ref Group in May 2018 where the main objectives of the meeting were to discuss how to better link the AU Campaign to community level organisations, establish a clear definition of the ways of work of the CSO RG, as well as link the work plan to the AU Campaign in order to achieve a strong synergy.

In light of the upcoming STC it was imperative that the African Union would make a decision to extend the Campaign to End Child Marriage for a five year period namely 2019 to 2023 hence the convening of the next CSO Ref group meeting held in March 2019. This meeting was to offer recommendations for the Strategic Directions for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, together with a proposed road map defining the next steps.

The dynamic role of the CSOs in the communities led the Commission’s Department of Social Affairs to assemble a CSO Reference Group in 2015 to work directly with the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage. The CSO RG is comprised of nine organizations across Africa, representing different stakeholders and reflecting regional balance.

The CSO Reference Group is to provide technical advice and leverage its knowledge and network base in furtherance of the African Campaign to End Child Marriage working through the office of the African Union Goodwill Ambassador. In addition, the AUC Campaign established a Technical Working Group of partners mostly based in Addis Ababa to be a platform for information sharing mostly with development and funding partners.

March 2019

1 – 5 April 2019

STC / Media Award held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Social Development, Labour and Employment on "Poverty Eradication through strategic investments at National Regional levels on Social Development, Labour and Employment" took place on 1 - 5 April 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Subsequently the Ministers adopted the decision for the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage to run for another 5 years (2019 – 2023).

MEDIA AWARD

The AU Campaign has been working with a number of stakeholders notably the media in reporting on child marriage issues, in 2018 the Commission in collaboration with an organization called Regional Inter Agency Task Team on Children & Aids-Eastern and Southern Africa (RIATT ESA) put out a call for applications for journalists to submit their work (in print media, blogs, social media, documentaries etc.) on ending child marriage and the most exemplary works were selected by the Commission -Department of Social Affairs and RIATT ESA. Subsequently, the Department of Social Affairs along with RIATT-ESA awarded two winners (in the amount of $2,000 for each winner) so as to encourage all stakeholders in the media to extensively report on the negative effects of child marriage on the girl child and its repercussion on the society and country at large.

19- 20 June 2019 Cairo,

Conference on Ending Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation on Egypt

Representatives of African governments, UN agencies, the African Union, religious and traditional leaders including youth and civil society organizations are taking part in a high level conference on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation in Cairo, The Arab Republic of Egypt.

The conference deliberated over a two day period 19 and 20 June and had interactive discussions on the harmful effects of child marriage, female genital mutilation and the role of different stakeholders such as youth, religious and traditional leaders in accelerating an end to these harmful practices. The conference had a main outcome document – “A Call to Action on Ending child marriage and FGM in Africa’

19- 20 June 2019 Cairo,

1-2 July 2019

Side event on Girls’ and Women’s Empowerment on the margins of the AU Summit on Niamey, Niger

Representatives of Member States of the African Union, Development Partners, UN Agencies, religious traditional and community leaders, Civil society organizations and NGOs involved in the field of youth all took part in the Pre - Summit event on “Advancing Girl’s and Women’s Empowerment” in Niamey, Niger.

“It is important for the Republic of Niger to put women and girls’ empowerment as a priority as part of the country’s development to accelerating gender equality and protecting the rights of girls and women” Specified the Governor of the Niamey Region, Mr. Mamoudou Moctar in his opening statement.

The Pre - Summit deliberated over a two day period from 1 - 2 July and had interactive discussions on how to improve the livelihoods of women and girls and to reflect on ways to ensure an effective and timely implementation of the legal frameworks, policies and strategic plans at national, regional and international levels in order to accelerate women and girls empowerment which fits with the Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063.

The Pre - Summit adopted an ‘Outcome document’ with key actions towards an accelerated empowerment of women and girls.

22 - 25 July 2019

AU Campaign to End Child Marriage Pre Consultation Workshop on the 5 year strategic plan (2019-2023) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Considering the significant gains made, and the distance yet to be covered, since many girls are still living under the threat of early and forced marriages, the AU statutory meeting of ministers in charge of Social Development, Labor and Employment took a decision calling for an extension of the campaign to end child marriage for a five year period from 2019 to 2023. It was therefore essential to review the past strategy in order to develop a new strategy to consolidate the gains and propose more innovative mechanisms for ensuring that all children are protected and appropriately engaged for education and empowerment to be able to achieve their full potential. Key partners and members of the CSO ref group took part in this workshop and discussed and offered recommendations for new strategic directions for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, and proposed a road map defining the next steps with clear targets.

The first draft 5 year Strategic Direction document was formulated during this meeting and it recognizes the existence- and explores synergies with other campaigns at the continental level and spearheaded by the African Union, such as the Saleema Initiative, the Girls Education Initiatives, the Violence Against Women and Girls initiative, Registration of Vital Statistics, the CARMMA Campaign and so on.

22 - 25 July 2019

30 July – 15 August 2019

African Girls Can Code Initiative Adama, Ethiopia

UNWOMEN in partnership with the AUC and ITU held the 3rd training camp on the African Girls Can Code Initiative. This time the camp was held concurrently in Addis Ababa, Adama and Awassa, Ethiopia. More than 400 girls took part in this initiative learning leadership skills and binary coding from international experts; once again each girl went home with a brand new laptop for their personal use.

The girls showcased their amazing projects at the final day of the coding camp. The projects included a wheel chair for the handicapped which has a sensory system installed that can detect objects ahead, a flood detector, an engaging student study application, a light bulb control system, several animations with moral stories amongst others. These projects are a testament of what the girls can do if provided with the opportunity and proper motivation. However, the overarching goal of AGCCI can be attained when they expand on the knowledge gained and in turn motivate others in their communities. Hence, a proper engagement mechanism with the trainees should be in place in order to ensure its effectiveness. In addition, although all projects were exceptional, the questions on how to link the girls with the most innovative project to international scientific and technological institutions should be taken into consideration