In 2013, Rise Up began funding several Guatemalan partners to advocate for a law to end child marriage. Rise Up leaders collaborated with a coalition of civil society partners to achieve an important legislative victory in 2015, when the Guatemalan Congress passed a national law banning the marriage of minors. However, the 2015 law contained a loophole stating that minors could still be married with permission from a judge. With this loophole in place, girls' fundamental rights remained at risk, as they could still to be forced into early marriages against their will.
Rise Up leaders continued fighting for girls' rights by advocating for an amendment to the 2015 law. On August 17th, 2017, the Guatemalan Congress repealed the child marriage loophole. Now, no Guatemalan minor may legally be married for any reason, with no exceptions.
This victory is a huge win for girls and women. Research demonstrates that girls who delay marriage are much more likely to stay in school, postpone childbearing, and grow into women who can pursue their own hopes for the future.
Our Rise Up team is honored to have contributed to this landmark achievement for Guatemalan girls. We celebrate with Rise Up's Let Girls Lead team in Guatemala, and especially want to thank our Country Representatives, Verónica Buch and Juany Garcia, for their deep dedication, persistence, and strategic girl-centered advocacy with Guatemalan decision makers.
As this important victory in Guatemala shows, girls, youth, and women really do have the power to transform their own lives, communities, and countries. To learn more about Rise Up's work with girl leaders, please check out our latest blog post by Rita, a 17-year-old Guatemalan girl leader who is part of our Guatemalan Girl Network. Si se puede!