Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. Zonta has over 29,000 members in 63 countries working together to improve the lives of women and girls.
Zonta International and UNICEF USA have been in close partnership since 1972, helping UNICEF advance the status of women and children worldwide through education, health and protection services.
Since 2016, Zonta has supported Let Us Learn in Madagascar, a program that creates opportunities for vulnerable and excluded girls to realize their right to an education in a secure and protective environment. The program is focused on three equity pillars: reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls' education and improving quality outcomes for learners. In the 2018-2020 biennium, over 36,000 girls benefitted from this program and over 3,000 teachers were trained. Zonta continues to support this program in the 2020-2022 biennium, enabling more than 45,000 children to access a quality education thanks to new classrooms, teacher trainings, cash transfers, catch up classes and violence prevention services.
Zonta International has continued their committed to support the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to End Child Marriage in 12 countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Worldwide, almost 650 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday and an estimated 280 million more girls are at risk of becoming brides. If current trends continue, the number of girls and women married as children will reach nearly 1 billion by 2030. Zonta International’s commitment to this program will enable UNICEF and UNFPA to implement activities with the following five outcomes, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that girls fully enjoy their childhood free from the risk of child marriage:
- Adolescent girls at risk of or affected by child marriage are better able to express and exercise their choices.
- Households demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviors toward investing in and supporting adolescent girls.
- Relevant sectoral systems deliver quality and cost-effective services that meet the needs of adolescent girls
- National laws, policy framework and mechanisms to protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights are in line with international standards and properly resourced.
- Governments and partners within and across countries support the generation and use of robust data and evidence to inform policy and programing, track progress and document lessons.
In the 2020-2022 biennium, Zonta International will also be supporting the Adolescent Girls’ Health and Protection project in Peru. The project will contribute to guarantee the rights of indigenous and rural adolescents, especially girls, and respond to needs such as preventing pregnancy, addressing mental health concerns and providing a protective environment from violence.
Together, Zonta International and UNICEF USA are positively impacting tens of thousands of women and girls, building brighter, safer and healthier futures.