Tipping Point - Identifying root causes of child and early marriage - CARE

Tipping Point

The Tipping Point initiative identifies the root causes of child, early, and forced marriage and facilitates innovative strategies to create alternative paths for adolescent girls.

The project also seeks to influence the way policymakers, donors, researchers, and civil society approach the issue of child marriage, specifically to steer the global discourse beyond short-term solutions.


Tipping Point is a multi-country initiative addressing child marriage by focusing on its root causes. We see child marriage as an act of violence, so we enable girls to assert their rights, help families and communities to support them, and influence policy to sustain change.


Phase 1 (2013-2017)

Phase 1 (2013-2017) of this three-phase project used complementary approaches with groups of girls, boys, and parents—who regularly participated in meetings—as well as advocacy events to raise public awareness and promote gender-equitable social norms. The project also engaged allies and potential champions for girls’ rights, including government and civil society, to help drive social change and direct more resources toward girls’ empowerment in project communities. Key to this advocacy was a focus on acknowledging fear and control of adolescent girls’ sexuality as a driver of CEFM.

Phase 2 (2017-2020)

For Phase 2 (2017-2020), Tipping Point has used the findings from Phase 1 to develop and test a holistic and replicable implementation package. Tipping Point engages different participant groups (girls, boys, parents, community leaders, etc.) around key programmatic topics, and creates public spaces for all community members to be part of the dialogue. Tipping Point’s approach is rooted in challenging social expectations and repressive norms and promoting movements and activism that are led by girls. These components are designed to help adolescent girls find places where they can reflect on and tackle inequality, and then take collective action on those issues.

Phase 3 (2020-2023)

In Phase 3, Tipping Point will use information gathered from successful approaches to addressing CEFM to advocate for girls’ increased visibility and meaningful participation in movements that seek to expand their voice, choice, agency, and rights. Additionally, Tipping Point is campaigning for governments and donors to recognize and be held accountable to implement and fund evidence-based policies and strategies that address the root causes of CEFM. Lastly, Phase 3 will seek to make CARE’s programming more accountable to our commitment to girls’ rights by investing in social norms and gender-transformative approaches for adolescent girls across sectors.

Program achievements

Phase 1

  • Key social norms that restrict girls’ opportunities and autonomy loosened slightly: Girls showed increased mobility and visibility, parent-adolescent relationships improved, and parents were less concerned with family honor.
  • Girls gained psychosocial skills, knowledge of their rights, social capital, and increased confidence.
  • Strong allies for girls emerged in project villages.
  • Project staff transformed their assumptions about men, women, work, and how to lead change.
  • Parents demonstrated a greater commitment to their daughters’ education and defended girls’ rights to be active citizens.
  • Girls demonstrated growth in their communication and negotiation skills, personal aspirations, and practical knowledge.
  • Boys grew into better brothers for their sisters and started to think critically about their place in a family.

Phase 2

  • Facilitated girl-led collective actions with a demonstrated increase in girls’ sense of agency.
  • Baseline reports of a randomized control trial evaluation can be found here; the endline results will be published in 2022 and are expected to show a significant impact of the Tipping Point implementation on agency, relations, structures, and social norms perpetuating CEFM.

The importance of Tipping Point

Tipping Point is unique in its thorough integration of a social norms approach, including a focus on the control of adolescent sexuality as a root cause of CEFM, the integrated implementation package, and rigorous measurement of the change in norms that occurs. Tipping Point’s “root cause” approach combines a focus on girls’ agency, the supportive relationships around them, and the structures that set the rules for their lives, so girls and their allies can assert their rights through girl-led collective action.

Tipping Point partners

CARE relies on local solutions to respond to needs of the communities where we work for a sustainable end to child marriage. In Phase 1 and Phase 2, Tipping Point worked with partners who bring years of experience in Tipping Point communities to our collaborative effort.

  • Siddhartha Samuyadayik Samaj (Nepal)
  • Dalit Social Development Center (Nepal)
  • Jaintia Shinnomul Songstha (Bangladesh)
  • Gram Bikash Kendra (Bangladesh)
  • Association of Slum Dwellers (Bangladesh)

In Phase 3, Tipping Point is shifting its partnership model to connect girl activists with social movements, women’s rights and girls’ rights organizations and coalitions that seek to expand the voices, choices and agency of girls. This diverse set of actors in each context is instrumental to driving girl-centered change.


Implementation Manuals

These components are designed to help adolescent girls find and collectively step into spaces to reflect on and tackle inequality.

Read more on the Tipping Point website

Facilitator’s Manual for Intergroup Dialogues

This Facilitator’s Manual has been designed for a specific participant group as part of the Tipping Point initiative.

Read the report on the Tipping Point website

Phase 2 Technical Brief: Girl-Led Activism and Structured Allyship

This technical brief provides an overview of the way that Tipping Point cultivated girl-led activism and movement building and engaged allies to support those girls.

Read the report on the Tipping Point website

Phase 2 Evaluation Reports

Tipping Points’ RCT baseline reports contain recommendations for policy and practice.

Read the report on the Tipping Point website

Phase 2 Monitoring and Evaluation Tools

The Tipping Point Phase 2 evaluation is using a three-arm cluster randomized controlled trial to assess individual-, relational- and social norms change outcomes linked to CEFM.

Read more on the Tipping Point website

Social Norms Innovations Series

A series of briefs on innovational practices used in the Tipping Point in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Read more on the Tipping Point website

Program Summaries

A series of program summaries and strategy briefs for different phases of the Tipping Point.

Read more on the Tipping Point website

Theory of Change

The Theory of Change outlines the pathways through which synchronized engagement with girls and boys, parents, and community members strengthens adolescent girl empowerment and reduces child marriage.

Read more on the Tipping Point website

Tackling the Taboo

A report on sexuality and gender-transformative programmes to end child, early, and forced marriage and unions.

Read the report on Girls Not Brides

See the full list of Tipping Point program resources.