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An example of awareness-raising

Bringing the 10 steps together: fundraising around the International Day of the Girl

This example was written to show how bringing the 10 steps together can work in practice.

Aisha is a secondary school student who has been learning about forced marriage. She knows that her aunty was pushed into a marriage she didn’t want when she was younger, so this issue feels more personal to Aisha. In reading about forced marriage, she has learnt that young people and children are most at risk. She decides her school community is a very relevant space to start conversations.


Aisha learns that an estimated 640 million girls and women alive today were married in childhood. She looks at the Human Rights Calendar and decides that she wants to link her awareness-raising to the International Day of the Girl.

Aisha thinks about how she could make this happen, in a way that will engage her school community. After doing some research and making contact with My Blue Sky, Aisha learns about a service in her local area that supports young people affected by forced marriage, but doesn’t have the capacity to support every young person that comes to them seeking help.

Aisha uses the Community Mindmap to brainstorm the needs and characteristics of her school community. She also uses the Target Table to think about who could help her achieve her goal, and how. In the end, Aisha decides to speak to her headteacher and principal. In sharing her idea, Aisha also shares a few of the facts she’s learned, e.g. 11 October is the International Day of the Girl; did you know that across the world, one in every five girls is married, or placed in a union, before reaching the age of 18?’ Aisha tells them she wants to raise awareness about the issue, and fundraise for the organisation she has in mind.

Aisha is given permission to organise a fundraiser and to speak at her school assembly, to answer the three questions for your audience (What is the issue? Why should they care? And what can they do about it?). Aisha announces that she will be fundraising through a cake stall at the next school fete, where parents will be attending (expected to be your greatest donors). She lets any peers who are interested in helping know that they can bake something and/or help collect funds on the day. Aisha talks to My Blue Sky and orders some posters from them illustrating rights around marriage, which she will put up around the cake stall. She also orders some educational pamphlets on forced marriage that she and others will give out at the stall. Aisha feels very determined and hopeful to reach a certain funding goal, but she tries to keep her expectations realistic.

In speaking to her assembly, and then in selling baked goods, giving out resources and talking to curious students, parents and school staff about forced marriage, Aisha has educated a large portion of a school community. Hundreds of peers, their parents and dozens of school staff now know the following: what forced marriage is, that it happens here, why it’s important, and what we can do about it.

Aisha has started a ripple effect – each of these people will bring that core knowledge of forced marriage into their own lives, social circles and their understanding of rights around marriage.

Some examples of awareness-raising across the world

To help inspire you, we list some examples here of some creative ways of addressing forced marriage and raising awareness. While some of these efforts have made a global splash, please remember that any action you take, including just starting a conversation with someone, makes a positive difference.

‘Brides for Sale’

Sonita Alizadeh is an Afghani-American rapper who was almost sold in marriage to a man as a teenager. She created a rap in response, ‘Brides for sale’ (or ‘Daughters for sale’). It went viral: resonating around the world, and translated into multiple languages. Learn more about Sonita’s story by clicking here. Watch Sonita’s rap on YouTube


The White Bindi Art Project

In India, coloured bindis are popular and red bindis are worn by married women. White bindis are almost never seen. This is how the White Bindi Art Project was born in 2014, when Child Survival India and the New Delhi-based advertising agency Havas Worldwide collaborated on using the accessory to start a national conversation around child marriages. In 2014, an estimated 39,000 underage girls were being forced into marriages across the world every day. Once the project sold 39,000 white bindis across India, they used 39,000 bindis to create an artwork to draw attention to child marriage. Funds raised are used for community education. Photo source.

Leading the way in Malawi

Chief Theresa Kachindamoto is the first female leader of her village in Malawi, South Africa. She has led the way in preventing forced marriages, including annulling thousands of child marriages. Chief Kachindamoto has made efforts on multiple fronts: by using her position as Chief to create changes to law, as well as leading cultural change in her community. She also combats forced marriage in less direct ways, such as by subsiding schooling for teenage girls – education delays early marriages, and gives girls access to more opportunity and independence in life. You can watch this YouTube video to learn about Chief Kachindamoto’s life and legacy.

Explore our Toolkit, and find out how you can make a difference.

Section One: How to support a friend

Section Two: The facts and the myths

Section Three: Engaging with your community

Section Four: Responding to prejudice and racism

Human Rights Calendar