GNB Whole Government Whole Girl

Publication Author

Lyric Thompson (ICRW), Lena Minchew (International Women’s Health Coalition), Gayatri Patel (CARE USA) and Rachel Clement (ICRW)

Enlisting the Whole Government to Benefit the Whole Girl: Ending Child, Early, and Forced Marriage

Girls Not Brides USA (GNB USA), the premier U.S. advocacy coalition dedicated to ending child, early and forced marriage (CEFM), encourages the U.S. Government to continue and enhance its work to empower adolescent girls by working to end this global problem. CEFM, which is recognized internationally as a violation of numerous fundamental human rights, inhibits the achievement of various U.S. foreign policy goals and undermines girls’ development and futures. This practice occurs globally, and is not tied to any one region, culture, religion, or ethnicity.

Concrete actions undertaken by the U.S. to advance the rights and empowerment of adolescent girls and end CEFM will make the world a more secure and prosperous place and will ensure American foreign policy is more effective and efficient at fostering global equality, justice, human
rights and development. Ending CEFM and responding to the needs of already married adolescents must be chief among those issues U.S. foreign policy and assistance seek to tackle in the promotion of girls’ education, health and empowerment.

To that end, we offer some guidance on implementing a whole–of-government approach to ending CEFM, specifically by utilizing the suite of existing U.S. policies, strategies, and programs already targeted towards adolescent girls’ needs. This will particularly necessitate the full funding and implementation of the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls (the Strategy), and the continued work on other crosscutting initiatives, such as the DREAMS program, focused on reducing adolescent girls’ exposure to HIV/AIDS, and Let Girls Learn, which complements the Strategy by focusing on overcoming barriers to girls’ education, advancement, and development.