Child marriage rates in South Asia are the second highest in the world. Consequently, Plan’s Asia Child Marriage Initiative (ACMI), started in 2010, is a multi-country program aimed to prevent child marriage. While the marriage of children under the age of 18 has been legally prohibited in the participating countries—Nepal, India, and Bangladesh—prevalence remains high. To address this human rights violation, ACMI has developed three varying approaches, each targeted at ending child marriage by eliminating risk factors and educating communities.
In its recently released report, ACMI presented the results of a qualitative study, authored by the International Center for Research on Women, which was designed to identify the causes of child marriage and explore cultural attitudes about child marriage. The report concluded that girls who received higher levels of education and certain kinds of employment were less likely to marry before the age of 18. ACMI noted, however, that further research was needed to ascertain the exact relation between women’s employment and child marriage.
The report ends with a list of recommendations for further eliminating child marriage, as well as mitigating some of its consequences. The list included proposals such as 1) making education for girls more accessible, 2) using mass media to educate communities about the consequences of child marriage, and 3) promoting the safety of girls.
Compiled from: “Asia Child Marriage Initiative: Summary of Research in Bangladesh, India and Nepal,” International Center for Research on Women (January, 2013).