9 Best Charities That Fight to End Child Marriages (Complete 2022 List)
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Every year, 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18 and around 650 million women alive today were married as children. Child marriages expose girls to both physiological and psychological risks, including a lack of access to education and exposure to domestic violence. Fortunately, there are many charities working to end child marriages. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that fight to end child marriages?
The best charities that fight to end child marriages are Too Young to Wed, Girls Not Brides, VOW for Girls, and Unchained at Last. Other charities such as Forward and Equality Now focus on advancing girls’ rights and advocating against child marriages.
Whether you want to ban child marriages, support child marriage survivors, or help at-risk girls to access vital educational and health services, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that fight to end child marriages are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.
Here’s What All the Best Charities That Fight to End Child Marriages Have in Common
The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to Asia, providing educational and support programs to vulnerable communities, as well as raising awareness of child marriages on a global scale.
Many of these charities support community-based efforts to help young girls avoid or escape child marriage. Some focus on raising awareness by highlighting the stories of child brides. Others strive for policy and legal change. Yet they all share the same goal of putting an end to child marriages.
These Are the 9 Best Charities That Fight to End Child Marriages
Below are our favorite charities that fight to end child marriages:
- Too Young to Wed
- Girls Not Brides
- VOW for Girls
- Unchained at Last
- Equality Now
- Plan International
- World Vision
(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)
Too Young to Wed: Empower Girls and End Child Marriage Globally
Too Young to Wed was founded in 2012 by visual journalist Stephanie Sinclair to launch a campaign to end child marriage. Today, the charity advocates against child marriages by amplifying victims’ stories and voices on a global scale.
“Envisioning a world where girls are free to simply be children and determine the course of their own lives.”Too Young to Wed
What they do: Too Young to Wed uses visual storytelling to campaign against child marriages and provides humanitarian services in at-risk communities. For example, their Afghanistan Emergency Initiative, established after the start of the Taliban rule, provides food security, livelihood, and education programs as well as rescue missions for child brides. Additionally, Too Young to Wed runs a scholarship fund to support the education of child marriage survivors and girls at high risk of child marriage.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Too Young to Wed’s media campaigns have accumulated billions of views, which have raised awareness of child marriage on a global scale. For example, the charity’s photographs from a workshop in Kenya were viewed more than 6 billion times. Additionally, Too Young to Wed’s Afghanistan programs have helped to feed more than 2,700 people monthly and evacuated more than 900 highly at-risk women and their families.
Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriages
Girls Not Brides was founded in 2013 by The Elders, a group of independent global leaders, to build a partnership to fight for the end of child marriages. Today, the charity is a global network working to create a world free from child marriages.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial reports, Girls Not Brides spend 98.7% of their income on charitable activities.
“We know that we are more effective when we work together, and believe that – as a Partnership – we will foster real change in girls’ lives.”Girls Not Brides
What they do: Girls Not Brides partners with organizations, both international and grassroot, to fight against the practice of child marriage. They do this by running campaigns, events, and consultations for members while also offering peer-to-peer learning and resources, such as the Theory of Change which outlines the range of approaches needed to tackle child marriages. Additionally, Girls Not Brides has partnered with the UN for the CRANK project which harmonizes and coordinates the work of child marriage researchers and policymakers.
What they’ve achieved: Today, Girls Not Brides has a network of 1,602 organization members from 102 countries, with 51% of these organizations being community-based. The charity’s advocacy has led 79 governments to support the end of child marriages in global platforms, such as the UN. Additionally, Girls Not Brides contributed to the UN Human Rights Council’s 5th Resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage which implemented stronger and more concise language to effectively protect girls’ human rights.
VOW for Girls: Take a Vow to End Child Marriage
VOW for Girls was founded in 2018 by Mabel Van Oranje and Darren Walker to address the child marriage crisis. Today, the charity is a growing movement working to end child marriage through innovative fundraising.
Their impact and transparency ratings: VOW for Girls holds a Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
“A world where no child is ever a bride.”VOW for Girls
What they do: VOW for Girls supports community-based efforts to advance girls’ rights by encouraging couples to raise funds through their wedding ceremony. Couples can get involved by downloading the charity’s guide on how to support a cause with their wedding, as well as to find additional inspiration and tips. The charity also partners with professionals of the wedding industry through their VOW Pro network. Wedding professionals and businesses incorporate the principles of VOW for Girls by raising awareness of child marriages as well as sharing the work of the charity with couples.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, VOW for Girls has directly impacted more than 260,000 girls and had an outreach of 1.6 million people. For example, they have funded 177 grantees in 6 different countries, including India, Dominican Republic, and Uganda to help end child marriages. Additionally, through their VOW Pro network, the charity has partnered with wedding professionals in 30 countries. Furthermore, more than 8,000 couples have raised money on their wedding day to end child marriage.
Unchained at Last: Ending Child Marriage in the US
Unchained at Last was founded in 2011 by Fraidy Weiss, a forced marriage survivor, to end forced and child marriages in the US. Today, the charity advocates against child marriages and provides free legal and social services to vulnerable women and girls.
Their impact and transparency ratings: Unchained at Last has a Finance & Accountability Score of 97% from Charity Navigator.
“A world where a girl is never a bride, and where every adult is free to choose whether, when and whom to marry, and whether to get divorced.”Unchained at Last
What they do: Unchained at Last provides direct free services to girls and women who are fleeing a forced marriage or resisting one. These services include planning and implementing an escape, free legal representation, housing assistance, therapy, career counseling, and financial coaching. The charity also advocates relentlessly to ban child marriages by law in all 50 states of the US through peaceful protests and interactive presentations.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Unchained at Last has successfully advocated for seven US States to pass laws that prohibit marriage before the age of 18, with no exceptions. The charity also conducted a study on the prevalence and implications of child marriages in the US. After this study, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York banned the marriage of minors. Additionally, since 2017, the charity holds special consultative status from the United Nations (UN).
Ways to contribute: You can donate to Unchained at Last through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by participating in one of their protests. Additionally, you can make a bridal gown donation for their protests.
Forward: Dignity and Change for African Women and Girls
Forward (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) was founded in 1985 by Efua Dorkenoo to raise awareness and advocate against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Today, the charity works to empower African girls and women as well as end any form of violence, including child marriages.
Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial reports, Forward spent 83.7% of their expenditure on charitable activities.
“We are working for the day when African girls and women will live in dignity, are healthy, have choices and enjoy equal rights free from fear of violence.”Forward
What they do: Forward advances the rights of women and girls through support services, training, partnerships, and advocacy. For example, the charity runs programs in sub-Saharan countries, such as their ‘Haki ya Binti’ Tanzania program, to support child brides and eradicate the practice of FGM and child marriages. They do this by partnering with community-based organizations, local authorities, traditional leaders, and UN agencies. Additionally, Forward works with African girls and women in the diaspora, specifically in the UK and Europe, to help shape policies and advocate against child marriages in their communities.
What they’ve achieved: To date, Forward’s educational and awareness efforts have reached 24,393 school girls and boys in Africa as well as 36,000 students in the UK. Through their Tanzania program, the charity also helped 1,185 girls and young women to develop leadership and confidence-building skills and encouraged 113 young women to undertake income-generating activities. Additionally, Forward organized the first-ever conference on child marriage in West Africa which led to the Ouagadougou Declaration on Child Marriages, signed by 6 African countries.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Forward through their website. You can also support the charity by using Savoo to do an internet search. Additionally, you can contribute by volunteering or by shopping at their online store.
Equality Now: A Just World for Women and Girls
Equality Now was founded in 1992 by Jessica Neuwirth, Navanethem “Navi” Pillay, and Feryal Gharahi to use the law to protect the human rights of girls and women around the world. Today, the charity works to achieve legal equality and change, including the end of harmful practices such as child marriage.
“Social change often begins with legal change and so we use the power of the law to create enduring equality for women and girls everywhere.”Equality Now
What they do: Equality Now uses the law as a tool of change for women and girls through their expertise in human rights, sex discriminatory laws, and gender equality. For example, the charity works to end child marriage by establishing a minimum marriage age of 18 everywhere in the world as a legal standard. To achieve this, Equality Now collaborates with organizations and people worldwide, from grassroots activists to UN agencies, to bring change at community level as well as national and international level. Additionally, the charity offers legal counsel to child brides. For example, they have helped child brides in Saudi Arabia to win the right to a divorce.
What they’ve achieved: To date, Equality Now has reformed 60% of the discriminatory laws that they have focused on, which has improved lives of women and girls around the world. For example, in 2021, the charity directly impacted 1,861 girls and women and around 1,537,000 million girls and women are expected to benefit from the legal changes. Additionally, Equality Now’s legal team has aided in crucial child marriage legal cases all over the world, from protecting girls from child marriage in Tanzania to providing legal expertise for a groundbreaking case of a Sudanese child bride.
Plan International: Ending Child Marriage
Plan International was founded in 1937 by John Langdon-Davies and Eric Muggeridge, during the Spanish Civil war, to provide humanitarian services for children in Spain. Today, the charity is an international organization committed to ensuring children live a life free from poverty, injustice, violence, and child marriage.
“We strive to enable girls to avoid early, forced and child marriage, stay in school and benefit from a quality education.”Plan International
What they do: Plan International improves the lives of children by raising awareness and running developing projects, such as their 18+ End Child Marriage program. This program helps young girls to stay in school and avoid an early marriage whilst also highlighting the stories of child brides to raise awareness and empower girls to be the leaders of change. Additionally, Plan International works with parents, traditional leaders and authorities to understand, identify and stop child marriages.
What they’ve achieved: Today, Plan International is present in 78 countries and their child marriage program runs in 12 countries of South and East Africa. The chairty’s child marriage campaigns and projects reach thousands of young girls and boys each year. For example, from 2018 to 2021, the charity stopped more than 2,000 child marriages and empowered 700,000 young people to say ‘no’ to an early or forced marriage.
Breakthrough India: Stopping Child Marriage Together
Breakthrough India was founded in 2000 by Indian-American human rights activist Mallika Dutt to end violence against girls and women. Today, the charity uses the power of media and pop culture to address discrimination and violence against women, including the issue of child marriages.
Their impact and transparency ratings: Breakthrough has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
“Working to drive cultural change, we need to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and respect.”Breakthrough India
What they do: Breakthrough India develops media-related projects to help raise awareness of women’s rights and inspire real action in India and the US. For example, the charity runs early marriage prevention programs in the areas of Jharkhand and Bihar which have the highest rates of child marriage in the country. Furthermore, Breakthrough India’s programs raise awareness of the consequences of child marriage by using social media campaigns and funding the development of school-based curriculums that encourage young girls to stay in schools.
What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Breakthrough India has reached more than 132 million people through their child marriage programs. The charity also raised the age of marriage by 2 years in Uttar Pradesh, India, and transformed the gender regressive views of 15.5% teenagers in Haryana, India. Additionally, Breakthrough increased community involvement by 16% to end child marriage in India.
World Vision: Hope, Joy and Justice for All Children
World Vision was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce to provide missionary services for emergencies in East Asia. Today, the charity is dedicated to improving the lives of children, including fighting to end child marriages.
“We believe that child marriage is an extreme violation of children’s rights – it brings down the darkness in the life of a girl and destroys childhoods.”World Vision
What they do: World Vision works to end child marriages by supporting girls’ education, helping them learn income-generating skills, and by working with communities to help them understand the effects of an early marriage. The charity also runs community-based groups such as the Men Care Group or youth-led groups like Girl Power Group and Child Forums to educate communities on child marriages and to show individuals how to intervene when one is about to happen.
What they’ve achieved: Today, World Vision is present in 100 countries, including Niger, South Sudan, and India which have some of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. The charity runs more than 100 projects every year in these countries to lower the rates of child marriages. Additionally, World Vision developed the Ending Child Marriage by 2030 report, a policy paper that identifies the gaps and progress made in regard to the issue of child marriage.
Ways to contribute: You can donate directly through the World Vision website. You can also support the charity and their pledge to end child marriage by signing their Open Letter on Child Marriage or by sponsoring a child.
How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?
The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that fight to end child marriages. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.
- Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
- Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission.
- Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
- Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
- Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
- Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.
How Can You Best Support These Charities?
After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you.
Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:
- Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
- Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
- Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
- Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
- Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
- Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.
Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to fighting to end child marriages – based on the causes that matter most to you.
PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:
- UNICEF DATA: Child Marriage
- UNICEF: 25 millions Child Marriages Prevented in the last decade
- UNICEF: Child Marriage
- Too Young to Wed: Home
- Too Young to Wed: About Us
- Charity Navigator: Too Young to Wed
- GuideStar: Too Young to Wed
- Too Young to Wed: Original Reporting
- Too Young to Wed: Emergency Fund
- Too Young to Wed: Our Impact
- Too Young to Wed: Afghanistan Emergency Initiative
- CNN: The Rescue of Parwana
- Too Young to Wed: Education
- Too Young to Wed: Our Impact
- Too Young to Wed: Donate
- Girls Not Brides: Home
- The Elders: Home
- Girls Not Brides: About Us
- Charity Commission for England and Wales: Girls Not Brides
- Girls Not Brides: Our Partnership
- Girls Not Brides: Become a Member
- Girls Not Brides: Impact Report 2021
- Girls Not Brides: Child Marriage Research
- Girls Not Brides: Support a Campaign
- Girls Not Brides: UN Human Rights Council
- Girls Not Brides: Donate
- Girls Not Brides: Support a Campaign
- VOW for Girls: Home
- VOW for Girls: Director of Communications and Marketing
- U.S. News: VOW for Girls Uses Weddings to Fight Child Marriage Globally
- GuideStar: VOW for Girls
- VOW for Girls: About
- VOW for Girls: Impact
- VOW for Girls: VOW Pro
- VOW for Girls: Donate
- VOW for Girls: Shop
- Unchained at Last: Home Page
- Unchained at Last: History of Unchained
- Charity Navigator: Unchained at Last
- Unchained at Last: Direct Client Services
- Unchained at Last: Advocacy
- Unchained at Last: About Child Marriages
- Unchained at Last: United States’ Child Marriage Problem – Study Findings
- Providence Journal: RI Governor poised to sign ban on marriage under 18
- Unchained at Last: Rhode Island Just Ended Child Marriage
- Unchained at Last: Massachusetts Just Ended Child Marriage
- Yahoo News: New York only just ended child marriage – but what about the rest of America?
- United Nations Digital Library: List of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council
- Unchained at Last: Donate
- Unchained at Last: Volunteer
- Unchained at Last: Chain-In
- Unchained at Last: Bridal Gown Donation
- Forward: Home Page
- Forward: Our Herstory
- Charity Commission for England and Wales: Forward
- Forward: Support Services
- Forward: Training
- Forward: Partnerships
- Forward: Policy & Advocacy
- Forward: Child and Forced Marriage
- Forward: Diaspora
- Forward: African women and girls in the UK
- Forward: Our Impact
- Youtube: Haki ya Binti
- Weld: Ouagadougou Declaration on Child Marriages
- Forward: Donate
- Forward: Take Action
- Forward: Volunteer
- Forward: Shop
- Equality Now: Home
- Equality Now: The History
- Charity Navigator: Equality Now
- GuideStar: Equality Now
- Equality Now: Achieve Legal Equality
- Equality Now: Ending Harmful Practices
- Equality Now: Our Approach
- Equality Now: 2021 Impact Report
- Equality Now: By Region
- Equality Now: Tanzania – Landmark Ruling Against Child Marriage
- Equality Now: Donate
- Equality Now: Fundraise
- Equality Now: Clothing Store
- Plan International: Home
- Plan International: History
- CharityNavigator: Plan International
- GuideStar: Plan International
- Plan International: Child Marriage
- Plan International: Annual Review
- Plan International: Child Marriage Program
- Plan International: Ending Child Marriage
- Plan International: Donate
- Plan International: Sponsor a Child
- Breakthrough: Home
- Breakthrough: Our Story
- GuideStar: Breakthrough
- Breakthrough: Early Marriage
- Breakthrough: Our Work
- Breakthrough: Nation Against Early Marriage
- Breakthrough: Donate
- Breakthrough: E-Volunteer
- World Vision: Home
- World Vision: Our History
- Charity Navigator: World Vision
- GuideStar: World Vision
- World Vision: Child Marriages & Child Brides Charity
- World Vision: Fathers Stand Together
- World Vision: Stopping a Child Marriage
- World Vision: Children’s Participation in Ending Child Marriages
- World Vision: Locations
- World Vision: Untying the Knot: 10 Worst Places for Child Marriages
- World Vision: Facts and how to help
- Ending Child Marriages Before 2030 Report
- World Vision: Donate
- World Vision: End Child Marriage Petition
- World Vision: Sponsor a Child