In an effort to curb child marriage in the country, the government has initiated a project titled “Age verification and marriage registration through mobile app,” aiming to make the app available for public use in August.
This project was implemented as a pilot project by the Access to Information (a2i) project of the Prime Minister's Office and Plan International implemented in Kurigram district last year.
During the six month trial period, the pilot project stopped more than 3,000 child marriages, according to a2i.
When operational, the app will be connected to a national information desk and digital database to verify the ages of the brides and grooms.
The marriage registrar must verify the ages of brides and grooms by dialing a designated USSD code, 16100, or by sending an SMS to 16100.
During the process, the information regarding the marriage registration will be sent to either the bride or the groom concerned via SMS.
After the registration, the system will receive a 12-digit registration number to be recorded on the marriage register.
According to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the rate of child marriage under the age of 15 has declined from 62.8% in 2015 to 10.7% in 2017. Marriage under the age of 18 has gone down from 62.8% in 2015 to 59.7% in 2016.
However, according to the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), the number of child marriages in Bangladesh has gone up to 197 in 2017 from 94 in 2015.