Founded in 1987, Nucleo de Apoyo a la Mujer (NAM) is a nonprofit organization based in Santiago de los Caballeros, the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic. The organization works to eliminate violence against women and girls through intersectoral coordination, education, research, human rights advocacy, and assistance services. NAM’s programs focus on leadership development, autonomy, and violence prevention. A key part of NAM’s mission is fighting against early marriages and unions, and the organization works to strengthen girls’ knowledge of their rights regarding this issue. NAM also provides legal and counseling services to victims of gender-based violence.
Early marriages and unions are a significant problem in the Dominican Republic. The country has the highest rate of early and forced marriages and unions in the Latin American and Caribbean region: 36 percent of women are married or in a union before the age of 18. Although the Dominican Republic legally prohibited child marriages in 2021, these marriages most often take the form of an informal union, reflecting the continued need for changes in social norms and attitudes.
The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund will support a project focused on leadership, autonomy, and poverty alleviation. NAM will work directly with a group of 25 girls, supporting their needs through programs which develop their voice and teach them to advocate against early marriages. The program will teach girls to identify and articulate the dangers of this practice, and girls will be given the opportunity to make their voices heard in local spaces, influencing their family and community members. The program will also include lessons on forming goals, managing personal finances, and making informed decisions about their bodies.
NAM recognizes the girls’ capabilities to be leaders and voices for change. With support from the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund, NAM will uplift girls in the Dominican Republic and enable them reach their full potential, unrestricted by harmful practices like child marriage. To learn more about Nucleo de Apoyo a la Mujer, please visit the organization’s social media pages: