Joint Assessment of Adaptations to the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage in light of COVID-19

Publication language
Date published
01 Nov 2021
Impact assessment
Children & youth, COVID-19, Evaluation-related

The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage was designed as a 15-year programme (2016-2030) to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 5.3, which aims to eliminate all harmful practices, including child marriage. The COVID-19 pandemic hit at the very beginning of Phase II (2020-2023) of the Global Programme, and we know that it profoundly affected the everyday lives of girls, including their physical and mental health, education, and the economic circumstances of their families and communities. Up to 10 million more girls are estimated to becoming child brides by 2030, as a result of the pandemic.

UNFPA and UNICEF Evaluation Offices conducted a joint assessment of the Global Programme adaptations to the COVID-19 crisis in 2021. The results of the assessment indicate that:

  • It is critical to keep the focus and efforts to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized adolescents, including those in remote areas. Lessons could be extracted from experiences using multi-channel and two-way communication approaches, while being attentive to the digital divide.
  • Vulnerable adolescents must continue having access to education (especially if provided remotely), health and social welfare services. It is also key to overcome drivers of poverty by leveraging existing social protection schemes.
  • Ensuring the use of evidence to inform programming is important, as well as advocating with governments to keep child marriage prevention and response on the national agendas and continue developing legal and operational frameworks that help accelerating the end of child marriage.

These results will inform further adjustments and refinements of the programme, to continue delivering in changing contexts and to accelerate the pace, during the Decade of Action, to eliminate the practice of child marriage to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.