Fighting child marriage requires commitment and dedication. However, that alone is sometimes not enough. Child Marriage and teenage pregnancy are topics that have been talked about for many years, however, the harmful vices still exist in communities in Northern Uganda and elsewhere. The Girls Advocacy Alliance project implemented by Trailblazers Mentoring Foundtion with support from PLAN International Uganda seeks to promote a world where girls and young women enjoy equal rights and opportunities and are protected from all forms of GBV, including child marriage. Basing on this premise, TMF is working with boys and young men as champions to advocate for the rights of girls and young women to protection from all forms of GBV, and equal access to opportunities in the communities they live in.
Using this approach, boys/young men visit potential hotspots in their communities where they engage with their peers/potential perpetrators of child marriage and other forms of GBV. Such hot-spots include boda-boda stages, markets, trading centers, football pitches and video halls to mention a few. However, getting the attention of youth and people in a gathering is no easy task. Innovation and creativity is required in order to gain a few precious minutes of attention in order to convey the message against child marriage to those targeted in the various hot-spots. This is exactly what was exhibited by the boys/men champions of Agali Sub County in Lira district when they visited a video hall in Adyaka Parish to engage their peers about the dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy. In order to gain the attention of those in the video hall, the boys/men champions came up with the unique idea of paying for everyone in the video hall using their own money, and then asking for a few minutes to speak to the people in the video hall about the dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy. This enabled them to get the platform they needed to pass on the message against child marriage and teenage pregnancy to their peers and possible perpetrators of child marriage. The fight against child marriage is complex and requires dedication and sometimes, sacrifice as exhibited by the boy/men champions from Agali Sub County. However, with dedication and innovation, boys/young men within the GAA project will be able to influence communities and advocate for an end to child marriage in the communities they live in. Such examples can serve as motivation to all actors advocating for the right to protection against GBV, specifically child marriage for girls and young women.