Although there are various reasons for child marriage, like different assumptions of people from different communities, religions and geography, but child marriage occurs more frequently in families who are the least educated, poorest and living in rural areas. The causes of child marriages are highly interrelated with vicious cycles and the predominant ones are gender discrimination, poverty, dowry, lack of life skills in young people and discriminatory social norms. Many of the child and early marriage we hear about are arranged and, often, forced by girls’ parents, or other family members. It is often found that girls are regarded as a ‘burden’ to be unloaded as early as possible through marriage and the practice of marrying off the girl at an early age reduces the value of dowry. In southern part of the Rupandehi district, girls are married by their families at ages as young as one and half years old. And, also in northern part of district there is love marriage and early marriage.
There is huge negative impact of child and early marriage in the girl’s life as well as the next generation children. There are complex complex associations between early marriage and women’s education, health and nutrition that go beyond the impacts of early childbearing. Child brides remain at greater risk of experiencing a range of poor health outcomes (risk for sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer and death during early childbirth), having children at younger ages, having more children over their lifetime (because of limited or no capacity to negotiate sexual relations, contraception, and other reproductive decisions with limited bodily control) , dropping out of school and discontinuing education, earning less over their lifetimes and living in poverty than their peers who marry at later ages. All of the health implications along with higher risk of domestic and sexual violence and poor mental health may also affect the next generation of children.
This is why, we have been working with young girls and boys in developing life skills of young people, in stopping of child and early marriage and to continue the school education.
- We have been doing training with young people in developing life skill and build up negotiation capacity to stop child marriage and early marriage.
- Conducting advocacy campaign with adolescents and their parents through street drama, mobile workshop, door to door awareness program, game, empowering dialogue with big mass
- ‘We won’t stop’ campaign through young girls’ loose forum