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Climate change and socio-economic insecurity are major child marriage factors

  • Published at 10:03 pm March 25th, 2019
Bangladesh has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

These observations came up at an experience sharing meeting on Monday, organized at the Brac Centre auditorium in Mohakhali

Despite continued efforts to prevent child marriage, its rate continues to remain alarmingly high, putting the nation at the top of the list in the South Asian region. 

Speakers at a program said this was due to many factors,  such as parents paying little heed to their female child's say in arranging her marriage, taking underage daughters to other areas to marry them off , hiding it from the administration, arranging marriages in moving vehicles, like auto-rickshaw, rickshaw, and boat. Communities affected by climate change and river erosion are becoming vulnerable, and pressure from  local elites and the influential, and arranging notary public marriages with forged birth certificates, are among the major factors in this regard, despite efforts  being made to prevent child marriage. 

These observations came up at an experience sharing meeting on Monday, organized at the Brac Centre auditorium in Mohakhali, in the capital. Besides these reflections, registration of marriage in the Hindu community being made compulsory, came out as a major recommendation at the event, said a press release. 

The event was organized to reflect the experience of projects implemented in Barisal and Rangpur districts by the "Girls Not Brides" platform. The objective of the project, implemented between July 2016 and July 2018, was to help prevent child marriage by empowering adolescent girls with reproductive health education. Led by Brac, member organizations of the "Girls Not Brides" platform were actively involved in implementing the project. 

After completion of the project, evaluation workshops were organized in February this year, in Rangpur and Barisal, followed by Monday’s meeting to share with a larger audience, the knowledge and information gathered in district workshops. 

Around a hundred participants, including youth and religious leaders and adolescent girls and boys, attended the meeting. Brac's program head for gender justice and diversity, Judith D'Souza, delivered the welcome speech, while women development and gender activist, Deena Nargis, presented the learning, limitations, and recommendations, drawn from the evaluation report of the project.

Bangladesh Coordinator for the Girls Not Brides platform, and Brac Director, Anna Minz, television channel News24 Chief News Editor, Shahnaz Munni, former captain of the national women's cricket team, Salma Khatun, Brac Coordinator for gender, justice, and diversity, Nishat Sultana, and representatives of the member organizations of Girls Not Brides were present at the meeting. 

The event closed with a performance by Mahtim Shakib, a rising singer in Bangladesh.

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