Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Tipping Point! Below, please find the answers to questions we are often asked about our program. For more information, please contact Anne Sprinkel, Tipping Point Director at

How is Tipping Point different from other initiatives working on child marriage?

Tipping Point addresses the root causes of child marriage, such as gender inequality, repressive social norms, and a desire to control adolescent girls’ sexuality. Rather than simply reducing the number of child, early and forced marriages, we strive for sustainable, community-led change of these issues surrounding girls’ rights.

We address gender inequality through gender-transformative approaches rooted in CARE’s Gender Equality framework to build girls’ agency, change power relations, and transform structures that impact women and girls’ lives. To that end, we use gender-synchronized and norms-shifting strategies to challenge inequitable practices and repressive norms. These strategies are contextually specific to mitigate backlash and fulfill Do No Harm principles.

Finally, true transformation cannot happen if the people facilitating change are still subscribing to harmful norms of sexuality and sexual and reproductive health and rights that contribute to gender inequality and CEFM. Therefore, staff transformation is the foundation of the Tipping Point program, where we as staff at all levels critically reflect on our own internalized norms and to try to create a more gender-equitable viewpoint from which to facilitate Tipping Point activities.

How does Tipping Point talk about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)?

Our programming includes SRHR sessions with each core participant group by providing accurate information on menstruation and contraconception, encouraging critical reflection on inequitable power dynamics of intimate relationships, and facilitating discussion with Tipping Point participants on what they can do to challenge those inequitable practices and norms. Girls’ activist groups, convened by Tipping Point, often choose to address SRHR issues as one of their first collective actions at community level.

Where does Tipping Point work?

Tipping Point is implemented in the Kapilvastu and Rupandehi districts in the Terrai region of Nepal and the Rangpur and Sunamganj districts of Bangladesh. For more information on the contexts in which Tipping Point programs operate, please see The Cultural Context of Child Marriage in Nepal and Bangladesh: Findings from CARE’s Tipping Point Community Participatory Analysis. Tipping Point also partners with A Future She Deserves – CARE’s strategy to address CEFM in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Who are Tipping Point’s participants?

Tipping Point Phase 2 programming engages adolescent girls’ and boys’ groups on a weekly basis, mothers’ and fathers’ groups on a monthly basis, and other community stakeholders, such as government officials, religious leaders, and school personnel, on a quarterly basis. The whole community is connected through public-facing community events aimed at reflecting on and publicly challenging repressive norms to facilitate change. More information about the synchronized and tailored engagement with each participant group can be found in the Phase 2 Program Summary

Where can I find the program activities and more information about Tipping Point’s intervention?

Tipping Point’s 18-month intervention package consists of synchronized activities for adolescent girls, adolescent boys, mothers, fathers, and other community stakeholders. Additionally, the program generates economic opportunities for adolescent girls through the creation of CARE’s  Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). Finally, girls’ movement building occurs through the creation of activist groups, using the EMpower package, and supporting activist groups for interested boys and parents. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 Package materials, including facilitator manuals, are available here.

Why does Tipping Point focus on girls’ rights?

Adolescent girls are the most vulnerable to CEFM, which is an explicit violation of human rights. Therefore, our approach is rooted in addressing gender inequality as a fundamental driver of CEFM. We aim to both increase girls’ individual agency while engaging men and boys as both stakeholders and allies in the fight to fulfill girls’ rights.

Does Tipping Point work with men and boys?

Women and girls cannot realize gender equality alone. To achieve equality, there must be a shift in gender norms and structures that cause inequities. As all people participate in norms, relations, and structures, men and boys must also reflect on gender equality and take action to pursue it.Tipping Point approaches this through synchronized, weekly sessions with adolescent boys, monthly sessions with fathers, and quarterly sessions with predominantly male stakeholders, such as religious leaders, school personnel, and government officials. Additionally, we build adolescent boys’ and fathers’ capacity for activism for gender equality through targeted training for allyship.

For more information on CARE’s approaches for engaging men and boys for gender equality, please see this series of learning briefs that showcase masculinities programming and our lessons learned.

How does Tipping Point discuss patriarchy, masculinity, and power?

Tipping Point addresses patriarchy and power through multiple avenues. To begin, staff undergo an innovative combination of CARE’s Social Analysis and Action and Gender, Equality, and Diversity trainings to facilitate staff transformation. This on-going process of critical reflection and dialogue about how we experience gender, social and power norms contributes to staff capacity for having tough conversations on sensitive subjects with Tipping Point participants and ensures staff and facilitators don’t inadvertently reinforce gender stereotypes and power inequalities between men and women, and young people and adults.

Patriarchy, masculinity, and power are all addressed through participatory and reflective sessions with adolescent girls, adolescent boys, mothers, fathers, and opinion leaders. These sessions facilitate discussions on these topics and the way that they impact participants’ lives and community well-being in a contextually appropriate manner. Tipping Point empowers participants to deconstruct the masculinities which they have subscribed to and to challenge harmful norms by taking a more active role in caregiving and domestic life, and rejecting the violence that they have been taught to use as a part of being a man. Specific program sessions on patriarchy, power and masculinity can be found in the Phase 2 Program manuals.

Does Tipping Point work with local organizations? If so, which ones?

The Tipping Point Initiative believes that locally-driven change is the most sustainable and impactful. Therefore, we partner with four local organizations, two each in Nepal and Bangladesh, to implement programming. In Nepal, our partners are Siddartha Samuyadayik Samaj (SSS) and Dalit Social Development Center (DSDC). In Bangladesh, our partners are Gram Bikash Kendra (GBK) and Jaintia Shinnomul Songstha. For more information on these partners, please visit our local partners page.

What are the main differences between the three phases of the initiative?

Tipping Point’s 3 phases are mutually supportive toward the goal of amplifying girls’ rights using evidence-based learning, advocacy, and influence.

Phase 1 (2013-2017) of Tipping Point conducted formative, participatory research to inform innovative and iterative learning-driven programming activities. It built local capacity for programming that includes a social norms approach. Additionally, Phase 1 explored ways of effectively working on sexuality with adolescents and parents; and created connections across local, national, and global advocacy efforts. For more information, please see the Phase 1 Program Summary

Phase 2 (2017-2020) harvested the evidence and learning from Phase 1 to develop programming packages linked to the theory of change (TOC) and the four programming pillar areas (adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, access to alternative opportunities for adolescent girls, social norms, and girl-centered movement building). These packages are currently being implemented and evaluated through a 3-arm cluster randomized control trial (RCT) in Nepal and Bangladesh. For more information, please see the Phase 2 Program Summary and Phase 2 Research Design.

Phase 3 (2020-2023) will utilize our global evidence-based experience to be a catalyst in shaping, influencing and supporting sustainable, global, national and local movements to expand the choices, voices, agency, and rights of adolescent girls in, but not limited to, the CEFM space. Phase 3 is currently in development and more information will be available soon.

How many people has Tipping Point reached?

Throughout the Tipping Point initiative, there will be over 9,500 people directly participating in the program activities in Nepal and Bangladesh. Out of these, about 6,500 are women and girls, and about 2,500 are men and boys engaged directly. Indirectly, through the collective action and influencing activities, the initiative is expected to impact approximately 28,500 people, including approximately 21,000 women and girls and 7,500 men and boys.

How does Tipping point monitor and evaluate its impact?

Phase 1 of the Tipping Point initiative used participatory feminist and developmental evaluation approaches to capture the dynamic, nonlinear nature of the social norm change. These included a Community Participatory Analysis, Photovoice, Sensemaker, Outcome Mapping, and use of the Social Norms Analysis Plot (SNAP) framework for measuring change. Phase 1 Evaluation findings are available for Nepal and Bangladesh.

Tipping Point Phase 2 is being evaluated using a 3-arm cluster Randomized Control Trial. To carry out the study, we have partnered with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) in Bangladesh and Emory University in Nepal. For more information, please see this brief on the Phase 2 Research Design.

How does Tipping Point facilitate change in deeply rooted social norms?

Based on the findings of Tipping Point’s Community Participatory Analysis, there are five pervasive norms that lead to CEFM, and therefore that Tipping Point is trying to shift: barring girl’s mobility, i.e. walking around her village alone, riding bicycles or playing sports; giving input into decisions about her marriage’ taking collective action for girls’ rights; and speaking with an adolescent boy.

Tipping Point’s work with social norms is distinctive because it follows 8 design principles for engaging with social norms change, which include: finding early adopters of positive norms change, building support groups of early adopters, using future-oriented positive messages, creating an open space for dialogue, facilitating public debate, expecting bystander acting, showing examples of positive behavior, and mapping supportive allies. All 8 of these principles were considered in designing Tipping Point’s Phase 2 Intervention Package, which includes facilitating collective actions, community events, and public dialogues aimed at challenging repressive norms. Tipping Point has also found innovative ways to evaluate social norms change through adapting CARE’s Social Norms Analysis Plot (SNAP) framework.

Does Tipping Point work with girls’ activists?

Tipping Point Phase 2 programming brings together groups of girls for activism training and girl-led activist activities, using the EMpower package, developed by the Emerging Markets Foundation. EMpower places girls at the center of all interventions, decision-making, and evaluation. It ensures that the activist activities are determined by the girls’ own ideas and needs, involving them in each step of the process. The role of Tipping Point in the girls’ activism is to ensure their success, not to guide them towards our ideas.

What are Tipping Point’s strategies for girls’ economic empowerment?

Tipping Point introduces two primary economic empowerment strategies in our Phase 2 program package. These components are a key component of preventing CEFM, since our Community Participatory Analysis found that girls are viewed as a dependent and that households view marrying daughters as a solution to economic stress. Tipping Point girls’ group manuals include five sessions related to financial literacy. Additionally, the initiative invites girls to join Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) approximately one third of the way through the intervention. This CARE model has proven effective because VSLA groups help members to save regularly in small, flexible amounts, access money to pay for things like school fees or entrepreneurial activities, and exercise agency through increased decision making over the use of income. Most importantly, our experience with VSLAs worldwide with varying ages of adolescents and youth shows that the act of saving along with the solidarity formed within these group is both sustainable and effective for positive change when accompanied by gender-transformative approaches.

What’s Tipping Point approach to girls’, women’s, and communities’ safety?

Tipping Point has established procedures for preventing harm to Tipping Point participants and communities, and for mitigating unforeseen problems as they arise. Tipping Point encourages communities to plan for social norms change, so mitigating against potential backlash is always considered. Therefore, actions that challenge norms are planned by communities, who understand the boundaries, consequences, and allies they need to be both effective and safe.

Additionally, considering the topics discussed in Tipping Point groups, it is possible that participants may disclose instances of gender-based violence (GBV) or child abuse to Tipping Point staff members. Therefore, all staff are trained in the Tipping Point GBV Risk Mitigation and Management Approach, which includes ways to support survivors using psychological first aid, standard operating procedures for disclosure by a survivor and third parties, and information on survivor services. Furthermore, since Tipping Point works closely with communities, we face risk of some people exploiting their position of power for personal gain. We apply CARE’s internal Prevention of Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse (PSHEA) policies and reporting mechanisms to prevent and mitigate the impact of any instance of sexual harassment, exploitation, or abuse by any CARE or partner staff who work with the initiative.

Can I use Tipping Point materials in my program?

Yes! All Tipping Point materials can be used for other interventions as long as you do not charge for them. We believe in the products created through this initiative and want them to be available through an open platform. We do request that proper citation is given each time any piece of Tipping Point materials are used. Finally, we ask that you tell us about your experience with applying and adapting our materials in your own context as we all grow stronger from sharing knowledge and experiences.