What would you do if a girl you know is one of the 650 million women and girls who were married as children? By 2030, nearly 1 billion girls and women will have been married as children. Help us stop this number from rising.
Did you know that because of child marriage, we all lose out? When the potential one-third of girls in developing nations is cut short, everyone is affected.
The decline in child marriage is still slow. To end child marriage in Nepal by 2020, an accelerated effort is required. Zonta supports the Global Programme to End Child Marriage, which is working to end this harmful practice in 12 countries by promoting the rights of adolescent girls to avert marriage and pregnancy and enabling them to achieve their aspirations through education and alternative pathways. Join us in ending all violence against women and girls.
For the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Zonta Club of Cheektowaga-Lancaster, USA, District 4, is raising awareness of child marriage.
This year, the Zonta club will continue with some traditional projects, as well as incorporating new ways to advocate for women’s rights.
One such tradition is working with the Family Justice Center in a variety of activities during the 16 Days of Activism. These include donating purses, collecting throws, robes or beach towels for women to use during physical exams, as well as assembling motivational quote books.
“We do a lot with the Family Justice Center. They’ve become a partner of ours over time,” member Heidi Salvo said. “There’s so many different things that needed to be tended to and it was so fragmented. The Family Justice Center created a central location where they could work on medical treatment, people could speak with a lawyer, go through the legal system and also just get into a shelter.”
Did you know that education can be one of the most powerful tools to enable girls to avoid child marriage and fulfill their potential? Through the Let Us Learn project, Zonta is creating opportunities for vulnerable and excluded children—particularly girls—in Madagascar with UNICEF USA. Learn more at https://foundation.zonta.org/Let-Us-Learn-Madagascar.
“With our major international project to end child marriage—whose victims are mostly girls—Zonta addresses not only a humanitarian issue, but one that also negatively affects societies. When girls become brides and subsequently mothers, this often ends their education. We advocate for every girl to have the right to finish school.”
—President Susanne von Bassewitz
As part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, the Zonta Club of Prowers County, District 12, worked with the city of Lamar, Colorado to issue a proclamation. The proclamation declared the days between 25 November and 10 December as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Club members are also raising awareness of the issue of violence against women around their community by distributing posters and banners to local businesses.
This year, Zonta clubs in Germany broke a record by having a whopping 90 percent of all clubs, out of 130 total, run a Zonta Says NO campaign. Additionally, nearly all of those clubs lit up an estimated total of 700 buildings, bridges, landmarks, offices, banks and schools in orange light in alignment with the UN’s campaign to orange the world to end violence against women.
In all 16 federal states from North to South and East to West, from the smallest rural towns to the major German cities, the country radiated orange on the night of 25 November as a symbol of hope against the problem of violence against women and child marriage. Famous buildings such as the Munich airport, Funkturm Berlin radio tower, Parliament building in Düsseldorf, St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt, Alster Lake in Hamburg and even the world famous football arena from FC Bayern in Munich, Allianz Arena, were lit up in orange light.
Zonta clubs around Germany worked tirelessly for months convincing local politicians, institutions, corporations and like-minded organizations to cooperate with them and join in the campaign. Some clubs, such as the Zonta clubs of Dortmund and Osnabrück Westfälischer Friede, managed to light up over 80 buildings in their town alone and others such as the Zonta clubs of Leverkusen and Moenchengladbach Area helped decorate city buses in orange.
This concerted nationwide campaign was accompanied by a huge press campaign on local, regional and national levels. The campaign appeared on German television, radio, online media, newspapers and magazines. The combination of the strong visual theme, the urgency of the problem, the concrete club activity, often in cooperation with other local partners and states, as well as the nationwide campaign, was powerful enough to garner the interest of the press.
Around 25 Zontians helped to make this happen by volunteering to join the national Zonta Says NO Action Group – an inter-district group with representatives from all seven areas in five districts. They developed a huge catalogue of promotional materials with a graphic designer, a fellow Zontian. A flyer, poster, banner and rollup written in Germa, as well as branded umbrellas, scarves, giveaways and more were designed and could be ordered and customized by all German clubs.
Furthermore, they developed a comprehensive press kit with facts and figures on all aspects of the campaign, thanks to the extensive research done by the German Advocacy Group, and provided the clubs with a press release template they could easily customize for their local activity. They worked endlessly to contact regional and national media and helped find interviews.
One Zontian managed to convince a production company to produce a professional radio spot, which many German radio stations aired at no cost.
Students in one district produced an outstanding video that clubs and other districts could use to motivate local state institutions and corporations to join the campaign. The Zonta webmasters for the German website and Facebook pages made sure the information was current, attractive and motivating for Zontians, the media and the general public alike.
This great success demonstrates the power of the Zonta says NO campaign and what can be achieved if clubs join forces and a national committee or action group leads and motivates clubs, coordinates and consolidates activities and produces concrete tools and guides for clubs. That inspiration and concrete support of the clubs makes all the difference.
The Zonta Club of Bad Nauheim-Friedberg, District 28, organized a public display as part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.
They created a stage that held informational stands and a lightning campaign focused on “organging” the town in orange lights on 25 November.
There were about 200 people who visited the stage and were interested in learning more.
The club partnered with multiple city officials to put on the event and light up eleven buildings in the city area. Eighty shops were decorated in orange as well.
Zontians also handed out orange flowers and oranges in honor of the color theme.