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Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage

Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage
Photo credit: © Ollivier Girard

14 million girls are married each year as children, fundamentally limiting their health, education, future prosperity, and well-being.

America Abroad, an award-winning program distributed by Public Radio International, spoke with Annabel Erulkar, the Population Council’s Ethiopia country director, to highlight her path-breaking work on ending child marriage.

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“Underage Brides Are Everywhere”

The New York Times documents child marriage in Guatemalan villages, where about 53% of women age 20–24 marry before age 18, and 13% before age 15, according to Population Council research cited in the report.

Reporting and photography by journalist Stephanie Sinclair.

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Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting within a Generation

Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting within a Generation
Photo credit: Population Council

February 6th marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

FGM/C is a severe violation of girls’ and women’s human rights, may cause immediate and lifelong trauma, and has no health benefits. More than 120 million girls and women have already undergone FGM/C, and up to 30 million girls under age 15 are currently at risk.

Building on decades of research on FGM/C, the Population Council has received an award from the UK Department for International Development that will expand the Council’s comprehensive research agenda to illuminate the dynamics of FGM/C and generate empirical evidence on interventions to encourage its abandonment.

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Media Coverage

Can Teaching Kenyan Girls to Save Money Also Save Them from HIV?

Can Teaching Kenyan Girls to Save Money Also Save Them from HIV?

PBS NewsHour covers a Council program in Kenya that gives girls in Nairobi slums the tools they need to lead healthier, more productive lives. The Safe and Smart Savings program has already reached more than 11,000 adolescents in Kenya and is being expanded to an additional 8,000.

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Ending Child Marriage

A new Time magazine article on the US–Africa Leaders Summit highlights the human rights violation that is child marriage, as well as solutions and players working to stop it, including the Population Council.

The Council’s Berhane Hewan project, which significantly reduced child marriage and increased schooling among enrolled girls aged 10–14, was discussed at a Summit side event on ending child marriage hosted by the International Center for Research on Women along with Human Rights Watch and the International Women's Health Coalition. 

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Displaced by Climate Change in Bangladesh

Rising sea levels due to climate change will displace millions of people over the next century. Considered one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change due to multiple factors—including population density, poverty, and topography—Bangladesh offers a preview of a hotter, crowded world forced to deal with climate disruption. A new article in Foreign Policy by Kenneth Weiss describes the country’s struggle.

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Female Health Workers Boost Family Planning in Bangladesh

In Matlab, Bangladesh in the 1970s, an experiment that used female community health workers to provide doorstep delivery of family planning services led to dramatic improvements in maternal and child health, increased contraceptive use, and a rapid decline in fertility. The program was so successful that it was expanded across the country, with extensive technical assistance and support from the Population Council.

"Matlab showed us the way," says Ubaidur Rob, the Council’s Bangladesh country director, in a new Guardian article by Kenneth Weiss that details the success and scale-up of the Matlab project.