In Ethiopia, UN Women and partners fight gender-based violence.

Mengistie Tegenie's four sisters were married before the age of 18. Bright and academically gifted, their schooling-like that of many young women in Ethiopia-stopped after their arranged marriages.During his first year at university, Tegenie says he felt guilty that he was able to continue his studies while his sisters were not. For many young women, he adds, child marriage doesn't just block them from career opportunities; it comes with the added risk of gender-based violence (GBV).'I saw the impact of child marriage on all our lives, especially for women and girls who are disproportionately affected by violence. I knew it's the men who also must speak up; that I'd have to be the one to make the change.'Today, Tegenie, a GBV specialist for Norwegian Church Aid, has dedicated his life to ending child marriage and violence against women.These threats, Tegenie says, have only been growing more severe: GBV has spiked amid a brutal two-year conflict, drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have trapped women and girls in vulnerable conditions. Child marriages have also more than doubled in the country's four hardest-hit regions.In response, Tegenie and Norwegian Church Aid have partnered with UN Women and UNFPA to address attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate GBV and gender inequalities in several local Ethiopian communities. The initiative, started in 2021, is supported through a Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) global grant allocation on GBV prevention and response that has been implemented in six countries, including Ethiopia.Changing social norms begins at the grassrootsTo change social norms, Tegenie says, awareness raising must begin at the grassroots level. With support from UN Women, Norwegian Church Aid held community conversations led by...

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