Week-Long Campaign to Curb Child Marriage

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To build awareness against child marriage and address the issue in a holistic manner, Jawhar Jyoti Bal Vikas Kendra (JJBVK), a grassroots level organisation supported by CRY-Child Rights and You, announces the launch of a week-long mass awareness campaign in Samastipur district in Bihar. A report, for Different Truths.

Despite a decline in under-age marriage among girls in the state, Bihar still continues to have a high percentage of marriage before reaching the legally prescribed age of 18 years. According to the latest available data revealed by National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2016), four out of every ten girls (42%) in the state get before they reach the age of 18 years, stated a media release issued by CRY. 

It added that to build awareness against child marriage and address the issue in a holistic manner, Jawhar Jyoti Bal Vikas Kendra (JJBVK), a grassroots level organisation supported by CRY-Child Rights and You, announces the launch of a week-long mass awareness campaign in Samastipur district in Bihar.

January to March is the period when large numbers of marriage negotiations taking place, this campaign seeks to create an impact among the parents thus minimising the number of child marriages in the region, the organisers said. 

This drive also aims at mobilising members of the to take positive action against child marriages and to make them aware of its socio-cultural implications as well, they added. 

As per the latest District Level Household Survey data (DLHS-4, 2016), Samastipur, along with districts like Banka, Nawada, West Champaran are highly critical in terms of the status of child marriage. More than half of women (52%) within the age-group of 20-24 years are married before they reached 18 years, the release informed. 

With an aim to relook at the current status of child marriage and to arrive at a roadmap to address the issue in a meaningful and sustained manner, JJBVK has taken up this campaign, in collaboration with the district level administration of Samastipur. 

Today, the campaign kick-started with a march, flagged off by Premlata, Chairperson of the Zilla Parishad at Samastipur district headquarters. Among the dignitaries, there were of the police, members of local Panchayats, representatives of Child Protection Committee (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and members of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU).

Appreciating the campaign Premlata said, “DCPU and CWC should come forward and take the ownership of such interventions eradicating the social menace.” She also ensured that panchayet would come forward and take it forward, in the best interest of young adolescent girls.

Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, person-in-charge of CRY operations in Bihar said, “Child marriage is the manifestation of age-old practices and cultural norms linked with the patriarchal social system, lack of opportunity of education and protective environment for girls.” According to him, existing legal frameworks cannot alone eradicate the evil, until there is an overall of mindset of the society at large.”

“Change in the mindset, increased opportunity for education and equality can ameliorate the issue. All the stakeholders and duty bearers have to play their role in this regard,” Bandyopadhyay added.  

This campaign will include community meetings, village level film shows and street rallies. A trained cultural team will be part of this campaign. A well-decorated cantor van with the messages depicting child marriage as social and cultural menace would run for seven days in different villages. Series of programmes will be organised in collaboration with DCPU and decentralised Child Protection Committee (CPC) structures in the villages and local police, informed the media release.

© (DTNS)

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Different Truths News Service

Different Truths News Service

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