Life Interrupted: UN launches campaign to end girl child marriage


To mark the International Day of the Girl Child, UNFPA and UNICEF, together with creative partner, Wunderman Thompson Portugal, have launched a campaign to raise awareness for their End Child Marriage programmes across the globe.

Understanding the importance of investing in girls’ leadership and well-being in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, UNFPA and UNICEF have been committed to ending child marriage as an urgent priority through their Global Programme to End Child Marriage.

‘Life Interrupted’ campaign

The campaign, ‘Life, Interrupted’, features print ads that tell the stories of Aisha, from Yemen, Dembe, from Uganda, and Sonakhi, from India, to raise awareness of child marriage and underscore how ending child marriage is a difficult task that needs the support of governments, institutions, companies, and people around the world.

Worldwide, one in every five girls is married, formally or informally, before reaching 18 years of age.

In the least developed countries, that number almost doubles: 36% of girls are married before 18, and 10% before age 15. That’s more than 12 million children whose lives are interrupted ahead of time.

The consequences to their lives are as devastating as they are to the world: more often than not, untimely marriage means being deprived from attending school, which means financial dependency and lost potential in assisting their peers and communities.

It also means, in most cases, early pregnancies with an increased risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth – these complications are the leading cause of death among older adolescent girls.

When given the opportunity to reach their full potential, through school and other skills programmes developed and promoted by the Global Programme, girls are likely to become leaders and pillars of their communities, helping to empower other girls in their circle.

The consequences of this positive feedback-loop are tremendous: improvements in health, education, gender equality, sustainable economic and environmental practices, amongst many others.

Commenting on the campaign, Daniel Bonner, Global Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Thompson said: “Raising the awareness of such an important initiative is a huge responsibility for us and we feel privileged to be a part of it.

“Bringing the End Child Marriage global programme to the world’s attention requires a standout message, and thanks to the support of UNFPA-UNICEF, we have been able to deliver a less conventional campaign which combines the incredible power of an authentic human story, dramatised with a less conventional use of language and typography.”

Nuno Santos, UNICEF Global Client Lead at Wunderman Thompson added: “Wunderman Thompson is extremely proud to help UNFPA and UNICEF rally the world to join forces in order to end child marriage by 2030.

“It is a disturbing reality that happens far too often, and we hope that by sharing these stories we can raise awareness of the implications and help end child marriage across the world.”

‘Life, Interrupted’ will run in the press and on UNICEF and UNFPA’s global social media platforms from today.