Our Successes: Accomplishments from the First Five Years

Five years of progress for girls around the world.

From the beginning, Girl Up has worked tirelessly to support the empowerment of girls everywhere, and we are deeply proud of the progress we’ve made. Since our launch in 2010, we have raised $7.2 million for UN programs that help girls in developing countries have the opportunity to go to school, see a doctor and stay safe from violence. Our unique leadership training and skill development has created a generation of current and future girl leaders; leaders who have helped Girl Up raise millions of dollars for United Nations programs, lobbied members of Congress to stop child marriage and ensure that girls are registered at birth, and have showed their schools, friends and communities the true power of girls.

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments over the best five years:

U.S. Foreign Policy


Advocates across the international girl community have long been advocating for more protections to prevent adolescent girls from being forced to get married before they are ready. Fundamentally, child marriage is a violation of human rights. It’s also a harmful practice that drags down communities and economies. When girls are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered, research has shown that they help have healthier children, earn more income, and help grow economies – making them powerful agents of positive change.

Girl Up supporters rallied around the issue, coming together to take 17,000 online actions and hold dozens of meetings with their members of Congress on the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. This effort paid of in 2013 when provisions preventing early and forced marriage were included in a reauthorization bill. Senator Durbin (IL) issued a video message thanking Girl Up supporters for their tireless work on this issue.


When a girl is not counted by her government, she’s more at risk of early marriage, human trafficking and child labor. When she grows older, it will be harder for her to own land or have a bank account. Yet 40 percent of children worldwide aren’t registered by their government at birth. This lack of official documentation disproportionately affects girls.

In the 113th Congress, the Girls Count Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Thanks to the hard work of our grassroots supporters, the bill passed both chambers in a bipartisan fashion and was signed into law by the President on July 12, 2015. It is now Public Law 114-24, and states it is now U.S. policy to encourage countries to ensure all girls and boys are provided birth certificates and other official documentation.

Investments in Girls

Since 2010, Girl Up – has raised $7,200,000 for programs working to improve the lives of adolescent girls. Grants have supported comprehensive programs in Guatemala, Liberia, Malawi, Ethiopia, India, and Uganda making sure that girls have access to education and healthcare, stay safe, have leadership opportunities and are counted by their governments. Supporting both the UN and Let Girls Lead, Girl Up has invested in direct services and national advocacy efforts. Girl Up directly reaches more than 24,000 girls a year.

Our funding has also resulted in key policy changes in Liberia and Malawi.


In Malawi, about half of all girls are married by the time they are 18, so this is a much-needed step to recognize the rights of girls. And thanks to our community of supporters, we helped girls in Malawi stand up against child marriage: In February 2015, Malawi passed a law which raises the legal age of marriage from 15 years old to 18 years old.


Thanks in part to Girl Up funding, fellows with Let Girls Lead advocated for the successful passage of the Children’s Law of Liberia in 2012 and are now working to support its implementation. This law guarantees children’s rights, offers girls protection from child marriage, and provides victims of domestic abuse with increased support.

Leadership Platform


117 teen girls have participated on the Teen Advisory Board since the campaign launched in 2010. These girls have been trained to be spokespeople for the campaign and have led our strategy since the beginning, starting the first Girl Up Club, piloting the first regional Club coalition and bringing Girl Up to college with them. These girls have been featured at the UN, the White House, the State Department, at the Girls20 Summit in Russia, have traveled to Ethiopia, Guatemala,  and India with the campaign and have spoken on MSNBC, to NPR and the Guardian, on Huffington Post and many other media outlets throughout the world.


Girl Up supporters have started more than 1,330 Clubs across the U.S. and around the world, with Clubs registered in 80 countries and currently active Clubs in 43 states.


Launched in 2014, Girl Up Campus chapters can be found on 99 colleges and universities.


Girl Up hosted its 5th Annual Leadership Summit in July 2016, bringing together more than 275 girls and culminating in a Lobby Day with 152 meetings with policymakers in Washington, DC.