Abstract: An abundance of neural network models and algorithms for diverse tasks on graphs have been developed in the past five years. However, very few provable guarantees have been available for the performance of graph neural network models. This state of affairs is in contrast with the steady progress on the theoretical underpinnings of traditional dense and convolutional neural networks. In this paper we present the first provable guarantees for one of the best-studied families of graph neural network models, Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs), for semi- supervised community detection tasks. We show that with high probability over the initialization and training data, a GCN will efficiently learn to detect communities on graphs drawn from a stochastic block model. Our proof relies on a fine-grained analysis of the training dynamics in order to overcome the complexity of a non-convex optimization landscape with many poorly-performing local minima.