October 10, 2017
The Soul Beat

Soul Beat Africa

The Soul Beat 270 - Protecting Girls from Child Marriage and FGM
October 10 2017
From SOUL BEAT AFRICA - where communication and media are central to AFRICA's social and economic development
In this issue:

This issue of The Soul Beat e-newsletter focuses on the role that media and communication plays in protecting girls from child marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). It includes a selection of reports, resources, and project experiences featured on the Soul Beat Africa website
that highlight how communication approaches such as community engagement, social mobilisation, advocacy, media, and entertainment education are being used to change the social structures and norms that promote these harmful practices affecting many young girls in Africa.


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  • 1. Communications to Change Discriminatory Gender Norms Affecting Adolescent Girls [September 2015]
    By Rachel Marcus
    This research and practice note, published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), explores insights into the power of communication programmes in changing gender norms, attitudes, and behaviour that affect adolescent girls. These programmes cover a range of approaches, such as TV and radio-based messaging, community dialogue, and non-formal education, all aiming to challenge discriminatory gender norms and promote gender equality - either by giving girls the information and skills they need to change their lives and claim their rights, or by seeking to change the views of people who influence and make decisions about girls' lives.
  • 2. Social Norms and Girls' Well-Being: Linking Theory and Practice [July 2017]
    By Bapu Vaitla, Alice Taylor, Julia Van Horn, and Ben Cislaghi
    This report synthesises the literature on social norms and their interactions with the lives of adolescent girls, providing illustrations of communication initiatives working to address harmful social norms. Strengthening the linkage between theory and practice is the primary goal of the report, which is from Data2x, an alliance housed at the United Nations Foundation that is dedicated to improving the quality, availability, and use of gender data. To that end, following a review of the landscape of theory around social norms, it includes two case studies about programmes that have changed norms around child marriage in Guatemala and FGC/M in Senegal.
  • 3. Passages Project - Transforming Social Norms for Sexual and Reproductive Health
    Passages is a research-to-practice project that seeks to address the core challenges to improving sexual and reproductive health such as gender-based violence, child marriage, and unintended pregnancy by transforming social norms. Researchers on the Passages Project develop and test scalable approaches to promote social norms that support healthy behaviours. They also study interventions that promote collective change through media, advocacy, community campaigns/mobilisation, and discussions within social networks and among community leaders. Results from the research will be used to build an evidence base and contribute to the capacity of organisations working to strengthen normative environments that support reproductive health.
  • 4. Manual on Social Norms and Change [2016]
    This manual is meant for training programme managers to promote the abandonment of FGM/C. It has been designed under a joint programme of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which applies an innovative approach to FGM/C abandonment, using a social norms perspective to guide the selection of an appropriate mix of strategies and activities most conducive to self-sustained social change.
  • 5. Applying Theory to Practice: CARE's Journey Piloting Social Norms Measures for Gender Programming [2017]
    By Leigh Stefani and Theresa Hwang
    CARE has been working to develop a deeper understanding of social norms and how they can shed new light on what is holding certain behaviours in place. Beginning in 2014, a small team across CARE came together to develop and pilot new measures for social norms through an iterative learning process across 3 pilot sites in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia. This process included an initial training on social norms theory and measurement from researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Social Norms Group (UPenn SoNG). This report shares experience and learning on translating social norms theory into practical measurement tools for development programming.

  • 6. Taking Action to Address Child Marriage: The Role of Different Sectors - Briefing Series [March 2016]
    Developed by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in collaboration with Girls Not Brides, this series of 10 briefs provides a short, accessible introduction to incorporating and measuring child marriage prevention and response throughout the programme lifecycle within a variety of sectoral and cross-sectoral programming. The overview brief and accompanying sector briefs are intended to serve as quick, go-to resources for a broad audience and may be of particular use during the needs assessment and programme design stages.
  • 7. Lessons Learned from National Initiatives to End Child Marriage - 2016 [2017]
    By Ellen Travers and Matilda Branson
    This report shares the lessons learned from national initiatives to end child marriage, particularly in relation to their implementation across sectors. The report considers the experiences in 11 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Nepal, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Published by Girls Not Brides, it is hoped that the lessons learned will be useful to other countries considering similar national initiatives, in particular Girls Not Brides members in countries where (i) a national initiative is still in development, (ii) is about to be rolled out, or (iii) is currently being implemented.
  • 8. "She Cannot Just Sit Around Waiting to Turn Twenty" - Understanding Why Child Marriage Persists in Kenya and Zambia [2016]
    By Mara Steinhaus, Amy Gregowski, Natacha Stevanovic Fenn, and Suzanne Petroni
    This report discusses the findings of qualitative research conducted in Zambia and Kenya to better understand the drivers of child marriage in these countries in order to inform programmatic and policy actions. Conducted by the ICRW, in partnership with Plan International Zambia and Kisumu Medical Education Trust (KMET), this research sought to: 1) explore and document the contextual factors that both promote and prevent child marriage; and 2) understand the process by which adolescent girls get married.
  • 9. What Role Can Parliamentarians Play in Ending Child Marriage? [July 2016]
    This toolkit aims to provide concrete examples and recommendations on how interested parliamentarians can take action to end child marriage. Developed by Girls Not Brides, it seeks to raise awareness about child marriage among parliamentarians, explore why it is an issue, and offer practical ways they can take action to end the practice.
  • 10. Entertainment-Education and Child Marriage: A Scoping Study for Girls Not Brides [January 2017]
    By Martine Bouman, Sarah Lubjuhn, and Hester Hollemans
    Developed by the Center for Media & Health (CMH) and dance4life for Girls Not Brides, this report looks at the opportunities and challenges of entertainment-education (EE) - the use of radio, television, soap operas, theatre, and comic books to effect positive social change - as a way to address child marriage. Informed by a range of practical and theoretical insights, the report analyses a selection of current initiatives (in 9 countries: Pakistan, India, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Nepal, Nigeria, and Nicaragua), draws out key lessons, and provides tips for practitioners and donors of EE initiatives.
  • 11. Now Girls Know Their Rights - Lessons From an Intervention on Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation in Mara Region, Tanzania [August 2016]
    This report was produced as part of the three-year project, Mobilising Action to Safeguard Rights of Girls in Tanzania, which was implemented by FORWARD, Children's Dignity Forum (CDF), and Chama Cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI). The project sought to mobilise multiple stakeholders to promote the rights of girls and young women to be safe from the multiple forms of violence they face in rural communities, including FGM, child marriage, and lack of economic opportunities. This report shares lessons from the project and provides insights into the project strategies, structures, outcomes, and challenges.
  • 12. Family Honour and Shattered Dreams: Girl Brides in Mali, Niger and Senegal [2016]
    By Jenny Morgan
    This report describes the results of qualitative research conducted by Plan International in West Africa & Central Africa (PLAN WARO) over two years, which seeks to contribute to the ongoing efforts to better understand the drivers of child marriage in West Africa. The research took place in Mali, Niger and Senegal and explored the contextual meanings of concepts such as "childhood", "adulthood" and "marriage" from the point of view of girls, boys, their parents and other members of the communities where the research took place. In addition, the researchers explored the role and processes of marriage; the reasons for marrying girls early; and the benefits and risks associated with it.
  • 13. Child, Early, and Forced Marriage Resource Guide [September 2015]
    By Alison M. Glinski, Magnolia Sexton, and Lis Meyers
    This resource guide provides information on how the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sectors, missions, and staff can integrate child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) prevention and response into their programming. It provides both the rationale of why and approaches to how USAID's efforts can address CEFM.

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  • 14. Seventeen Ways to End FGM/C - Lessons from the Field [July 2017]
    The 2016 Annual Report for the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting provides two perspectives: The main document analyses progress in quantitative terms, offering profiles of each of the 17 programme countries. A partnership between UNFPA and UNICEF, the Joint Programme works to apply a culturally sensitive, human-rights-based approach that strategically leverages social dynamics to promote abandonment of FGM/C. This companion booklet uses a qualitative and narrative approach to examine more specifically the challenges, complexities, and achievements on the ground. It explores the approaches the Joint Programme teams, partners, and activists employ to deconstruct the social norms that allow FGM/C to continue in many communities.
  • 15. Gender and Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Training Manual [2017]
    This training manual on FGM/C approaches the issue from a gender perspective in order to increase workshop participants' understanding of FGM/C as a harmful practice and a form of violence against women and girls (VAWG). By the end of the training, participants should be able to translate the gender analysis for the abandonment of FGM/C promoted by this training into respectful and culturally sensitive strategies appropriate to the environments in which they work. It was developed by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in partnership with UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C.
  • 16. The Girl Generation Campaign
    Launched in 2014, the Girl Generation Campaign is a social change communication initiative that seeks to provide a global platform for galvanising, catalysing, and amplifying the Africa-led movement to end FGM. The initiative seeks to bring together campaigners from all over the world to push for change more effectively and to strengthen the Africa-led movement by: communicating positive stories of change, convening events, initiating media advocacy campaigns, and supporting ambassadorship programmes and efforts of African diaspora to help end FGM in their countries of origin. At the core of the campaign and its activities is social change communication, which is considered vital in bringing about the necessary changes in social norms and culture to end FGM.
  • 17. Health Impacts of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Synthesis of the Evidence [October 2016]
    by Samuel Kimani, Jacinta Muteshi-Strachan, and Carolyne Njue
    This report synthesises the evidence on the health impacts of ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), identifies recommended interventions, and compiles and analyses existing reference materials intended for health care providers. The goal of this review is to inform the development of a comprehensive set of training guidelines and materials for frontline health care providers so they can manage the care of women and girls who have undergone FGM/C, prevent the practice at the community level, and accelerate abandonment of FGM/C practices.
  • 18. One Hand Can't Clap by Itself: Engagement of Boys and Men in Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma's Intervention to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in Kembatta Zone, Ethiopia [September 2015]
    By Erin Stern and Althea Anderson
    This report discusses findings of a study to document and assess how Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma (KMG) Ethiopia has engaged with men to challenge social acceptance of, and reduce the prevalence of, FGM-C in the Kembatta zone of Ethiopia. KMG has been working to encourage communities to abandon the practice of FGM-C for the last two decades. Feedback received by KMG indicates that its interventions have not only reduced the practice of FGM-C, but also reduced other harmful practices against women including bride abduction, widow inheritance, and intimate partner violence.


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