Foto: Pablo Tosco

Marriage: No Child's Play

"More than Brides" Alliance (Save the Children Netherlands, Oxfam Novib, Simavi, Population Council) works so that young people, especially girls, are able to decide if and when to marry and pursue their sexual and reproductive health and rights in a supportive environment.

Oxfam Novib, together with Save the Children, Simavi, and the Population Council, is part of the ‘More than Brides' Alliance. Through its 5-year program ‘Marriage: No Child’s Play’, this alliance aims to reduce child marriage and its adverse effects on young women and girls in India, Pakistan, Malawi, Niger, and Mali. We are convinced that young people, especially girls, are only able to decide if and when to marry if they are empowered to make informed decisions, if their protective assets are built, and if their community respects their rights. The Alliance thus offers a multi-pronged approach of equipping adolescents with necessary skills and information, increasing their access to services and opportunities, and building their agency, while at the same time shifting social norms related to marriage formation, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and gender equality.


  • Project name: Marriage: No Child’s Play
  • Project period: 2016-2020
  • Target group: Oxfam Novib aims to empower girls both at risk and affected by child marriage. Oxfam Novib also aims to change social norms and practices by targeting girls and boys, husbands, parents of adolescents, community groups, influential leaders, and institutions such as schools and health centres
  • Location: Pakistan (Oxfam Novib), Niger and Mali (Oxfam Novib and Save the Children Netherlands), Malawi and India (Simavi and Save the Children). Population Council supports research and base- and endline studies in all countries except Pakistan.
  • Budget: € 29.275.000 (Oxfam Novib: € 6.650.000)



Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. Most of these girls are deprived of their fundamental human rights to health, education, safety, and bodily integrity. Child brides are at greater risks of suffering from maternal death and dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth as well as from domestic violence and sexual abuse. In addition, most girls are forced to terminate their education after marriage. With limited access to education and economic opportunities, child brides and their families are more likely to live in poverty. If there is no reduction in child marriage, an additional 1.2 billion girls will be married by 2050. Consequently, Oxfam Novib identified the urgent needs to prevent child marriages and to guarantee the fundamental rights of child brides.


The program ‘Marriage: No Child’s Play’ employs the following 5 strategies:

  1. Empowering at risk-, and already married adolescents, girls in particular, with Life Skills Education, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information. We will strengthen adolescents' protective assets and equip them with knowledge and skills to navigate the challenges and opportunities in the transitions from puberty to adulthood.
  2. Providing alternatives to child marriage and mitigate the impact on married girls, through enhancing access to education-, economic opportunities-, and child protection systems for girls and their families.
  3. Increasing access to SRHR services for young people.
  4. Changing social norms. We will engage a variety of stakeholders to raise awareness, promote community dialogue, facilitate social mobilization and support collective action.
  5. Influencing legal and policy frameworks. We will conduct policy dialogue and advocate towards policy-makers for the development, adaptation and implementation of laws and policies that reduce child marriage.


The ‘Marriage: No Child’s Play’ program aims to enhance the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people in order to improve their wellbeing and life chances. This includes the reduction of child marriages as well as teenage pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies among adolescents.  It also means that more (married and unmarried) girls have access to contraception and a say in marital and child bearing decisions.


Brochure - Marriage: No Child's Play


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