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Gender-based discrimination leads to economic, social and health disadvantages for young women and girls, affecting their own and their families' wellbeing in complex ways throughout their lives and into the next generation.

In many societies, harmful traditional practices and attitudes impact negatively on the sexual and reproductive health of young people, especially girls. 

Globally, 12 million girls under the age of 18 are married each year, impacting negatively on their sexual and reproductive health, and physical and mental wellbeing. 30 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the next decade, and around 1 in 10 (120 million) has been a victim of sexual violence. 

Our approach

We work to improve the sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing of young women and girls by reducing the impacts of harmful traditional practices, including gender-based violence (especially sexual violence), early forced marriage, female genital mutilation, male child preference, and taboos and unhealthy practices around menstruation. 

We understand that young people are often best placed to empower other young people, and so much of our work is based on peer-to-peer interventions.  We train community-based youth advocates and peer mentors, who provide a safe space for young people to discuss their concerns and find their own solutions. 

We work to raise awareness of the damaging impacts of traditional practices, and advocate for changes in attitudes, in novel and engaging ways – including through interactive theatre, sport, and film. 

We also engage local leadership through networks of community volunteers, encouraging them to uphold existing legislation prohibiting practices such as early marriage and FGM. 

Programmes reducing harmful traditional practices:

Other areas of our work supporting healthy communities