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Marry Me, Later: Ending Child Marriage in India


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India accounts for the highest share of the world's 60 million child marriages. 61% of women in India aged 25-49 are married before the age of 18!
Child marriage is a human rights violation with multiple consequences, such as the end of her education, health risks to her and her children, limited chances of financial independence and ultimately a cycle of poverty and disempowerment.

Ending Child Marriage and investing in girls until they are physically and psychologically ready for marriage will mean healthier families, stronger societies and more vibrant economies. The Marry Me, Later report aims to take action and end child marriage in India by highlighting areas of focus and innovative interventions by some of India's top nonprofits that are ready to scale.

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Marry Me, Later: Ending Child Marriage in India

  1. 1. USAID Kiawah TrustFROM THEAMERICAN PEOPLE Preventing Child Marriage and Early Pregnancy in India g
  2. 2. Photo credit:Bachpan BachaoAndoIan
  3. 3. Foreword Child marriage caughtmy attention in 2010. It was myfirst trip to India sinceI had become a parent and so I began to see the worldthrough a mother's eyes. During that visit, I spent a memorable hourin the home of a young Indian mother, who lived in the slums of Mumbai. We commiserated over our lack of sleep, laughedover our babies' antics,and sharedsmiles of pride, as I looked at heryoung son and showed her pictures of my daughter. This woman was far younger thanI - perhaps not yet20. From what I learned of her life, I surmised that she would not be able to continueher education, pursue paid work of her choice,or discoverwho she could be, in addition to being the caring mother she clearly had become. It was this trip thatgot the Kendeda Fund thinkingabout the issue andwhether or not we should enter this space. Wedid. Last year the Kendeda Fund sanctioned a multi-million dollargrant focused on ending child marriagein India. Since then I have been askedmany times, "Why child marriage? Why India?"The answer for me is relatively simple. Ending child marriage- if done with the full partnershipof the Indian people- will represent nothing shortof a revolution for India's girlstoday and in generationsto come. Atthe Kendeda Fund we felt India wasa good place to focus given its enormous potential forleadership on this issue, not onlywithin the South Asia region, but around the world. I would like to offera few humble thoughts,based onour experience, to the growing numberof donors and activists from aroundthe world whoare stepping into this relativelynew sector: 1. It is critical that we work withlocal communities to definenot just whatpractices weare against but what are we for. Itis not enoughfor us to envision a world without child marriage. Our challengeis to definea positive visionfor adolescentgirls. 2. Efforts to tackle child marriage shouldaim to tackle broader genderissues within which this practice exits. As one woman asked me,"Why will it matter if my daughter is married at 18 instead of 16, if she still has no economic opportunities, no reproductive control,and livesin fear of violence daily?" 3. We needto focus on empowering the millions ofgirls across Indiawho are already child brides, in addition toa focus on prevention. They deserve everyopportunity to live a full and rewarding life. Child marriage may seemlike too complex and macro a problem for us to solve. Yet we have seen examples at the community level of enduring, positivechange, for and by India's girls. Various non-profits such as the ones profiled in this report are doing valuablework on the ground to prevent child marriageand build strongalternatives forgirls. Yet, they suffer froma lack of capacity to documenttheir work, evaluatetheir progress, structure their systems, seekmore funding, and ultimately toscale. Allfunders - corporations, foundations, international development agencies, andindividual philanthropistshave a role to play in filling this gap and supporting these non-profit organizations. I truly believe no work is more rewarding than this.Please join withus. It would be our honor to learn with and from you. Dena Kimball Executive Director of the Kendeda Fund (A private foundation and currently the largest donor to thechild marriagesector in India)
  4. 4. Photo credit: www!redhot Acknyledgements
  5. 5. Acknowledgements Marry Me Later providesan analysis of the seemingly intractable problemof child marriagein India, with the principalaim of identifyinghigh potential non-profit organizations that funders should lookto supportand scale. First andforemost, we would like to thank ourdonors - USAID, Kiawah Trust and Omidyar Network- for their vision, passion andcommitment to addressing child marriageas a fundamental developmentconcern that hinders millions of adolescent girls in India from achieving their potential. Dasra's advisory research team would especiallylike to thank- Dena Kimball, Dipa Nag Chowdhury, Dr. Suni[ Mehra, Jaya Sharma, K. G. Santhya, Lakshmi Sundaram,Priya Das, Priya Nanda, Rema Nanda, Shobhana Boyle, Sushmita Mukherjee, and Vanita Mukherjee - for taking time out fromtheir busy schedules and allowing us to borrowtheir expertise on this issue. Dasra would also liketo thank the teamat Copal Partners for their timelyand invaluable support in editing the report. Dasra would like to express its gratitude toall the non-profit organizations we spoketo and visited, whoare working hard, against all odds, to address the issue of child marriagein India. We thank themfor giving us their precious time, sharing their thoughts and experiences, and helping us understand what is really happening on the ground.These perspectives have enabled Dasra to make this publication current,practical and action-oriented. In the course of this research, Dasra's team metwith girls with innumerablestories of resilience, courage and hope evenin the face of daunting challenges. Dasra would like to thankthese girls and their families for not only sharingtheir stories butalso inspiring us. Finally, thank you for joining us on this journey and for your interestin this report.We look to you to further the directionset by this report, by using your influence,skills, andfunding to support effective non-profit organizations scale uptheir response, and enable millions of adolescent girls and existing child bridesin India, realizetheir potential. / 1/4 ,X /. ,/,X //S //S. ,/ / / / ` 1/4 1/4 ,X X X ,% x X X 1/4 I /1/4 X % /1/4 I / .... "s , .., I / - s. .... I / ...., .... % / -' , ... s. .... /- ... . .... s. s. s. / . s. s./ s / s s. s S. / s / // s ...,, s s. s.... . . ... , .... ' ,. ' ..... .... .... . ' .... ' ..... .0. .0. .0 /.... ...0 .0 I ..0 / ' .0 I/ , / / e / e I / ,.0 , I .0... ... ' , ' ... ./ -' ..0 .... ... .. .. I ' ... . .i - ..... -- ... .. .... Acknowledgements 411
  6. 6. Biggest Challenges At 40%, India accounts for the world's largest share ofchild marriages globally 47% of Indian girlsare married beforeage 18 and 22% of Indiangirls have already given birth before theythemselves turn18 Girls under 15 are 5x as likely to die in child birth than womenin their early 20s The cost oflost productivity due to adolescent pregnancies in India is $7.7 billion a year
  7. 7. Biggest Opportunities Girls that pursue secondary schoolingare 70% less likely to marry as children In just four years, a program providing life skills to adolescent girls increasedthe median age of marriage from 16 to 17 years An adolescent health program provid health assessmentand education to young girls increased theage of first conception from 15.8 to 18 years between 2003 and 2012 At least 30 non-profit organizations in India are concertedly focused on addressing child marriage as a core issue
  8. 8. r 4 4' #'wg '^111 04_4.4110 e' Fpf, l %,., 0, , '" g4. % 44% Executive Summary Close to half of India's girlsare married before theage of 18, and one in five is married even before she turns 15. But child marriageis more thanjust a statistical problem. It is a harmful traditional practice that denies children, especiallygirls, basic rights to a healthy life, protection from abuse andexploitation and equal opportunities for development.Years of research shows that child marriagecontributes to virtuallyevery social problem that affects India - poverty, high birth rates, malnutrition, infant mortality,illiteracy, unemployment and low life expectancy. The burden of child marriage For a child who becomes a bride, life changes completely without as much as a warning. She is uprooted and separated from her family,friends and everything that is familiar toher, and sent to live with her husbandand his family - strangers, essentially.Besides an education and childhood being curtailed, she is also more likely to become a victim of domestic violence;child bridesare twice as likely to be beaten and thrice as likely to experience forcedsex than girls marriedlater. Traumatic initiation into sexual relationships coupled with the social pressure to reproduceplaces their young bodies undersevere stress;adolescent girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die in child birth as women in their twenties, and those under15 years of age are five times more likely to die. For those that survive, the chances of experiencing a still birth or newborndeath is 50% higher than itis for women aged 20to 29. Unfortunately, deep-rooted patriarchalbeliefs about therole and value of a girl, primarily as caretaker of her household and children, and alsoas paraya dhan (wealthof another), combined with the intractable problemof poverty, sustainsthe problemof child marriage over generations. Studies showthat daughters ofwomen who were child bridesare atgreater risk of being married as children themselves. What progress has India made? In the past decade orso, a few leading international private foundations - notably Ford, MacArthur and PackardFoundation, and multilateral agencies such as UNFPA and UNICEF have played a key role in bringing this previously neglectedissue to the forefront.In doing so, they have also encouraged thegovernmentto view child marriageas a stand-alone issue which impedesthe Millennium DevelopmentGoals. Most recently, another private foundation, theKendeda Fund has committed over $15 million to this newly formed sectorin India. Furthermore, the government has become moreaction-oriented in the last two decades, moving away from purely legislative reforms focusedon increasing age of marriage, to introducingand strengthening practical initiatives on the groundsuch as conditional cash transfer schemes. As a result of all these efforts, thereis an increasing recognitionthat while delaying age of marriage is critical, adolescentgirls also needto be empowered duringthese crucialyears, to enable better decision makingeven after they turn18. Programs aimed at educating and empowering girls are beginning to bear fruit, giving girlsthe confidence tosay no to early marriage, whichfor many, would once have been a foregone conclusion. Illustration credit: UrmulTrust ;;:fe> 4,44-1 I ......reec 4 41 Pi "'I...0o ,% I Ire 41' "I (;ZZe:IIke, a.% I C %.4 % drit. S....4ft I F 0 Executive Summary
  9. 9. 11 40% .1 ' r,..a." Roo+ ,. 1--rva Th--, 6- eit% drr VI. 4,0 eve. '9+.0., Where can efforts be better directed? Based on Indian and international evidence, consultations with experts and views of Dasra's advisory committee which comprisedDipa NagChowdhury, K.G Santhya, Priya Nanda, Shobhana Boyle, Dr. Sunil Mehra, SushmitaMukherjee, and VanitaMukherjee, Dasra hasidentified four key priority areas where collectiveaction shouldbe focused: 1. Creating alternate life options for girls. Providing girlswith the 'education toemployment continuum' provides them withan enabling solution, allowingthem toexplore alternative life choices to early marriage. 2. Identifying and sensitizing gatekeepers.It is critical to engage gatekeepers who significantly influence a girl's life choices - fathers and brothers, older womenin the family, religiousand community leaders. Evidence showsthat most cases of positive change involvea gatekeeper, whose sheerconviction to stand-their-groundenables the girl to delay her marriage. 3. Promoting birth and marriage registration.59% of all births remain unregisteredin India. Birth registration is a proof ofage and so plays a significant role in preventing thepractice as well as ensuring that the girl childand her family can accessnumerous welfareschemes. 4. Addressing the needs of adolescent brides. Along with preventing child marriage, itis crucial to address the uniqueneeds of child bridesso as to mitigate the negative impactsof child marriage and improve their health and well-being. What is most effectiveon-the-ground? Two interventions stand out as the most impactfuland scalable - a) facilitating access to education, which entails activitiessuch as awareness generation of its significance and bridge courses for drop-out students; and b) the provision ofvocational training,life skills and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information. These interventions give girlsalternatives toearly marriage and equip them withskills to make informed decisions about their future.Other important and effective interventions include thosethat cultivate role models as peer leaders; mobilize communities torecognize the ill-effectsof child marriage;train government functionaries and frontline workers; and build the capacityof otherorganizations working on issues suchas adolescent health, education,child rights,and livelihoods to considerchild marriage prevention as a critical outcome. Following an extensive mappingof over 300 organizations, Dasra identified 30 non-profit organizations in India that are focused on addressing the issue of child marriage.Ten of these organizations have been highlighted as those which deliver the mostimpactful and scalable child marriage programs, representinghigh potential investment options for fundersand sector supporters. % V_ Z". 1,1% %:P. 0% %V V.. S'} O i 1' Do rob V V. .., re, %I V* 'S . % I Da of #If% % V. 0, , 111 ..O fO 11, %VV.. Po% .0. , ...` " .1.11:*"1 4.+7"-1. +.?,.....:,t.twoitta,,,....*_:."-1-.._"% 0 . ..., ..a... % . 4 d ..4r. 41b .. 0 e 30. ,......00 ....- 0P. -. P li".5..... ,0II% .-,P o 0 '..1 1 ..aP 0 i di......4 4S%.. da'.... " )p...1-;:---..0"-7 ..., Executive Summary1 0
  10. 10. rarr % $'' I % 0 1 I I . er. I 1 of' ''I L 5, I $ J -:trtZ 4 ;elb , % ei 1 , i %.1r... -;:+f ..i, f, 11 11 r 1, ,; ZA. VIZ fi / , f I 44 1 .4 I 1. ; t i I # , i; l°4 fo I : 4 0 0 0O00
  11. 11. t .. 31r,' , -% 111:lb I RR wed,. r do , , / ," , , / % ' ,. . , . / / i/ X N. X X I' / % /S , , ,I... ..,// //,,, // ,/ , N. S - / % / S 1 / /i ,/ // / /% / /,I / I % /% / % / / / , % 1 ' ,Ittlhiere Can you makea dif=fer,en , ee?,- .... -. , ....., Despite the'fac1-latx4-111a,,m-a-rrNe as a practice directly hinders-the.achiem.e.nt o'fsic of eight Milleryrri'um,DevOdp-naefii Goals, as`a.n issue it remainsgros5ky under-funZce.ds. $-QaZer,resbQrces- both'finarici41,5ncl,otherwise - are needed to scale inter/entionsthat work aid PsioteGt, mflkons ,edgirZfrqm'bec'oming child brides.For i . Nance, if pr,esent trends continue, ofthe gitcl. bare juV, between Z005 and 2010,28 million would become(childbrides overthe next appN3>,iri-a.tel745 ',....... - ..- -- - ,.. ... -.... -....: .yers*.sra urges private donorsto supportnon-profit organizations such a2..c-t1,-)0,e,-.:. ".2.-., .... ..., -- - - ....- , recoml-perided in Marry Me Laterto build a stronmomentum tostamp out a culIdral,prractrte . . . , ,'with tic) relevance to thisday and age.' . , ,' /. / ' s s s s / / / .../' re , While`someorosgics's'oyer thepasytivo decades has beertoade, therQ,IS , , a,nee91,t'o taOle the problerril're,ad-Zyxlb'y'i.a-shpi-ng,patriarchal attitudes,facilitating-edUcati.6naj-oT3po,rtunities for girls, deliveringaftective..s_upsp-ceservicesto child bridesand,grrts to challenge the status quo. We'ryTust...oetiNtAto preventyet another geoeVatiOqi@f-y-o-Ung girls from falling victim to harmfultradiOn'i u'rdterthe guise of celebration.,,Dafrais )iii,on is that in the not too distant future, adoles6nt girlsxacconsthe country will have'garnaredsuffiCient support, strength ' ' ` >, and resilience to say "Marry xne,xlatqr,, , ,' / . , , , / .x . ,. e , / / % / I , ,, / / ,' % / - 1 ' / // ... , . / , , / ' % / , , / , /' ,/ / / V / / / / %,/ -k / 't / V ,,, PIP. -.-7....07.- 8107. 20 - r .0. d )1i P Executive Summary 0
  12. 12. o L
  13. 13. 47% of Indian girlsare married before the age of 18. .10 Too Soon: An overview ofchild marriagein India In Hindu mythology, Saraswatiis the Goddess of knowledge. However, for nine year oldSaraswati who livedin a small village in Rajasthan andwas oneoffive daughters in the family, the completion of hereducation was a distant dream. As a primary school student, she wasdiligent at her studies, and wanted to grow up tobecome a teacher. Buther parents worried about herfuture. In April 2004, on the auspicious dayof Akha Teej, Saraswati's eldestsister; Asha,aged 17, was to be married to a boy from a neighboring village. Invitation cards had been sent to both families and other acquaintances. All five sisters had spentthe entire week helping with the dec mehndi and rangoli.They were all excited becausetheir motherand auntsdressed them in fine clothes and jewelry on the dayof the wedding.By late evening, theprocession from the groom's side had arrived, half drunk, at their village. Allfive sisters weretold to sit on the stageduring the wedding, with the youngest, onlyfive years old, fast asleep on herfather's shoulder. They were all married thatday to boysrelated to the groom'sfamily. At the ageof13, after the start of herfirst menstrual cycle, Saraswati was sent off to her 22 year old husband's house. On her departure, hermother tearfully toldher to "bea good girl". But no one, neither her ownparents norher in-laws, talkedto her about sex or pregnancy. By the ageof 15, Saraswati was pregnant for the second time.A year ago, her first child, conceived at the age of 14 had miscarried. She had not realized thenthat she was pregnant and her miscarriage had confused her. Her mother-in-law hadfound her cryingin a pool ofblood behindtheir butand had had to explain thesituation to her. Seven months into hersecond pregnancy,she developed complications and hadto be rushed to the nearest health facility, two hoursaway. Saraswati and herchild eventually never madeit back home. Under international law, the term'child marriage'is used to describe a legal or customary union between twopeople, when one orboth parties are below the age of 18 years. In India, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 defines a child as 'aperson who,if a male, has not completed 21 years ofage, andif a female, has not completed 18 years of age'. Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India le
  14. 14. , . I.... .... , I '/ e I / I I I ,I/ II ,,I..0 . / .... , "" ... % . ` , ',. // 's. '"'" ....... / ... e 1. ,/ % / , / ,/ , / , , I , , , Saraswati's story is one of lost childhood, unfulfilled potentialand viol ionof basic human rights It is the cumulative resultof multiple factors, key among whichwas,l-fer marriage as a child. In the . ` minute orso it has taken you to read Saraswati's story,11 more els like her became child brides` % in India. . . . . . ` ` India accounts for 40% of the world'schild marriages,a harmful traditional practice that denies children - both boys andgirls - their basic rights to a healthy life, to equal opportunities for development, and to protection fromabuse andexploitation. It places children in the adult institution ofmarriage, often without prior intimationor consent,forcibly depriving themof their childhood and imposing on them responsibilities that are beyond their age or due.' Although boys enter intoearly marriageas well, the practice affects girlsin greater numbersand with grave consequences for their health, education and livelihood prospects. While nearly halfof all Indian girls are married beforetheir 18th birthday, what is worse is that 22% bear children when they themselves are children.' Ending child marriagein India: A work-in-progress While child marriagein India is still extremely prevalent,some progresshas been madeoverthe last two decades: Child marriage rates havedecreased from the timeof the first NationalFamily Health Survey (1992-93) when 54% of women aged 20-24 years were marriedas children to47% as per the last National Family Health Survey(2005-06). The median age at which girls are married has increased marginallyfrom 16.1 yearsto 16.8 years in the same period. Girls married beforethe age of 18 60% co 17 54% 50% - 16- 47% 40% 15 1992-93 Source: National Family Health Survey 2005-06 Median age of marriage for girls 16.8 1992-93 2005-06 Nevertheless, the practice remainswidespread. While child marriageis prevalent throughout India, in at least seven states- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, MadhyaPradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, andWest Bengal - more than halfof girls are married whilelegally stillchildren. Girls aremost vulnerable in the state of Bihar with nearly 70% of women in their early twenties reportedly married before thelegal age.2 The practice of child marriageis also more commonin rural areas - around 48% of women currently marriedand aged20-24 were marriedwhile aged under 18, compared to 29% in urban areas.3 elToo Soon: An overview ofchild marriagein India
  15. 15. ... ... / .... ... / % % % %%/ % % % % N % / N % S. ... .... .. ..... ..._ ...._ .............................___..._ .... .......... e ,.. . I , Ie I I I I I e /. .. / .0 I / I e% - -- -.... .. ".."........ .... " , - . ....../ -/ '- '-' ... / 1 ... .- / -// I , , / / ,I % / / // s / / // % . I / , . .e / 1 / ' 1 / I / 1 ir ' / /1 . /I ,/ / / I1 1 ' ' Percentage ofwomen 20-24years old who were married orin union by age 18 Jammu & Kashmir Himachal Pradesh Punjab Uttaranchal Arunachal Pradesh aryana NCT of Delhi Sikkim Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh Assam Bihar Gujrat Jharkhand Madhya Pradesh West Bengal Chhattisgarh Dadar & Nagar Havel Orrisa Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh Goa Karnataka Tamil Nadu Kerala Source: UNFPA database using DLHS and other household surveys Meghalaya 4,Tripura Mizoram Percentage (%) Nagaland Manipur O 11.7-19.9 O 20.0-29.9 O 30.0-39.9 O 40.0 & above O Data not available Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India le
  16. 16. The Big Picture: The journey ofa child bridein India The girl childis accorded low value, considered"paraya dhan"(another's wealth), a burden that needs to be transferred to anotherfamily. Deep-rooted patriarchalbeliefs view the role of a girl as a caretaker of childrenand the household. Marginalized Womenfrom the lowesteconomic quintile households getmarried five years earlier thangirls in the highest quintile households. V Lack of Education Girls with no education are six times more likelytoget married as minors than thosewith 10 years or more of education. V Rural Girls in rural areas arealmost twice as likely to be child brides,than those living in urban areas. Typically, a girl is promised in marriage by her family,either when she is a young childor teenager to 'secure' her future. Sometimes, her marriage may bearranged even before she is born. 47% of girls in Indiaare married before theage of18; one in five girls is married before the ageof15. Weddings are often held secretly or in conjunction with anotherevent such as a funeral. Younger daughters, someaged 5-10, tend tobe included discreetlyin the ceremony. AIt is difficult for thepolice toidentify child marriagesas they happen secretly. ASince the practice enjoyssocial sanction, childmarriagesare under-reported. AChild marriage can beannulled onlyby the parents of the couple or the couple itself. If the girl has been married as a child, traditionally, she is expected tolive ather parents' home until puberty, after whichshe is sent to her husband's home to commence her marriedlife. The transition from wife to motherusually occurswithin a year ortwo of marriage. 22% ofIndian girlshave already given birth by the ageof 18. Twice as likely to report being beaten, thrice as likely to report being subjected to forced sex 4 Infants of adolescent mothersare 50% more likely toresult intostillbirths and newborn deaths Twice as likely to die in childbirth as women in theirtwenties Lack of agency due toloss of peer networks and discontinued education Prone to post-traumatic stress suchas hopelessness and severe depression Daughters of women whowerechild bridesare at greater risk of being marriedas children themselves The lifetime opportunity cost of adolescentpregnancy of thosecurrently aged 15-19 will total12% of India's annual GDP 0 Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India
  17. 17. Tracing the journey of a child bride The drivers that encourage the existence of child marriageare multiple and layered. They reflect a combination ofpoverty, lack of education, continuedperpetration ofpatriarchal relationsthat facilitate gender inequalities,and cultural perspectives that enable the institution topersist. The practice of child marriageis driven by deep-rooted patriarchalbeliefs about therole and value of girls, both within the familyand in society. From an early age, a girl is conditioned toview her father, brother and future husband as a breadwinner, decisionmaker and headofthe household. Conversely she is taught toundertake household responsibilities,support her husband unconditionally and bear sons to continue the family'slineage. In Northern India, IKhap Panchayatsl, informal but all-powerful village councils that often govern ruralareas, havedecreed that girls shouldbe married as soon as they reach puberty to prevent social corruption and the influx of 'western values'. Source: In addition tobeing molded in her stereotypical role, the girl childis often regarded as an economic burden.Families areforced to select whichof their children they willinvest in, due to lack of resources. Most often, theychoose their sons, as they believe they will continueto live with themand support themin their old age. The daughter on the other hand is considered to be "paraya dhan" (i.e. the "wealthof another") and is expected to move to her marital homeafter she is married. Marryingher atan early age is a strategy for economic survival, as it ensuresthere is one less person to feed, clothe and educate.' The patriarchal mindset coupledwith theburden of poverty results in parents placingscant valueon their daughters and disregarding government laws andregulations to marry their daughters earlier than permissible. Even when parentsare prepared todelay their daughter's marriage, the lack of secondary schools in rural areas, the high riskof sexual exploitation while travelling to far-offschools, andthe absence of employmentopportunities foreducated girls in these areas, all deter parents from investing time and money in their daughters. Equally, a girl livingat home, alone,while her parents are out at work is also atrisk of sexual assault.Finding themselves unable to safeguard their daughter's honor, which also determines that ofthe family, parentsare eager to pass on her responsibility to someone else, not fully understandingthe impact of thismove on their daughter. Betrothal Finding a suitable groomfor their daughter as early as possible not onlyensures the family's own survival butin their mind also secures herfuture. Betrothals occurat different stages depending on the customs of the state and community. They may take placebefore a child is born, as infants, youngchildren or as teenagers. For example, itis quite commonin Rajasthan for girls as young as five to be promised to boys their age or a few years older,while remaining completely unaware of what is happening to them. Sometimes, thegirl is promised in marriage even before she is born, whentwo families agree to marrytheir yet unborn children ifthey turn out tobe of different sexes. Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India le
  18. 18. Girls with no education are six times more likely to get married than thosewith 10 years or more of education. Source: www hetv org/indhainfhsinfhs3/ NFRS-3-India-Ful I-Report-Volume-1 pdf 0 Too Soooverview ofchild niorriagein India
  19. 19. Marriage As the practiceis illegal, childmarriage typically takes place atnight or in the earlyhours of the morning. Younger sisters, irrespective of theirage are often marriedat the same ceremony as their elder sisters, to save money. Sometimes, other ceremonies such as funerals are used to formalize marriages, eliminating the cost of re-inviting and entertaining the same guests.Another method commonly applied toreduce expensesis the practice knownas atta-satta, wherea daughter is exchanged for a daughter-in-law, irrespectiveof her age.' Accordingto the mausar ceremony, which mainly occursin Rajasthan, uponthe deathof a family member, a marriage must be solemnized by the familywithin 13 days to transform theoccasion from one of sorrow toone of joy, evenif no family members are of marriageable age.'Families are only too eager to use such practices to marry a daughter early, as the youngershe is, the less dowry or brideprice they will be required to pay to the groom'sfamily. Dressed in finery, laden with jewelry and hennadecorated hands, some child bridesare too young to remain awake, insteadfalling asleep in their father's lap, clutching their toys while the ceremony takes place.Even when the girlis older, she generally remains unawareof the factand significance of her marriage until the ceremonyis over. Only when she is instructed toleave for her newmarital homedoes she realize that she is married. Even then, her age and lackof agency provide little opportunity for her toquestion her parents' decision. Gauna (Send-off) Traditionally in the northern states of India, when a girl is married as a young child she staysin her natal hometill she reaches puberty. At that point, she is considered to be anadult, and therefore old enough to consummateher marriage and fulfill her marital duties.The gauna ceremony involves the physical transfer of the girl from her natalto her marital home and typically occurs soon after she begins menstruating. In most rural communities preserving thevirginity ofthe girl until she begins living with her husbandis sacrosanct, and is closely associatedwith her family's honor. A girl's sexualityis considered moreas family property, than thegirl's independent choice or right, tobe protected and passed onto her marital family.In order tosafeguard their daughter from pre-maritalsex, consensual orforced - the family will thusseek to arrange her marriage early and move herto her marital homeas soon as she attains puberty. Loss of Innocence: Life after marriage For a child who becomes a bride, life changescompletely without as much as a warning. One day she may be at homehelping her mother withhousehold chores. The nextday she is told she must leave to live with her husbandand his family - strangers, essentially.She is not allowed to go to school. She is separated from her friends, familyand everything that is familiar toher. Along with an education and childhood being cut short,she is more likely to become a victim of domestic violenceand suffer severe stressand depression. Sexual activity begins soonafter marriage. Traumaticinitiation into sexual relationships coupledwith the social pressure on their young bodies to reproduce, particularly toproduce male offspring, puts them and their children at grave riskof life-long ill health oreven death. On average, a woman whohas her first child before the age of 18 will go onto have sevenchildren by the timeshe completes childbearing.' Having manychildren increases the likelihoodof poor maternal, infantand child health.' In addition, large families are more difficult to feed, which reinforces thecycle of poverty, child marriage and early pregnancy. In India onein five of all 20-24 year old women have given birth by the age of 18.9 Motherhood in childhood occurs for several reasons:exposure to frequent, often forcedsex; the pressure on a woman to 'prove'her fertility as soon as possible; poor awareness of familyplanning measures; ignorance of the effects of early pregnancyon a woman's health;and the inability to negotiate contraceptionuse. Early pregnancies have significant consequences bothfor the mother - as her body is insufficiently mature tobear the physical burden of carrying a baby - and herdependent children. Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India
  20. 20. "Child marriage is not only wrong,it is dangerous. It exposes a young girl to profound healthrisks from earlypregnancy and difficult childbirth, and it exposes her babyto complications of premature birth." - Anthony Lake, Executive Directorof UNICEF Maternal mortalityand morbidity: Possibly one of the worst effectsof child marriageis that it results in early pregnancyand increased maternal mortality.Girls under 15 are 5 times as likely and girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die in child birth as women in their early 20s due to their emotional and physicalimmaturity.' High levels of anemia and malnutrition among adolescent girls in India, combined with the inabilityto seek anduse adequate healthcare further compound the risk to their wellbeing.11'According tothe United Nations,complications frompregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death for girls aged 15-19 in developing countries.' Girls under 15 are 5x aslikely and girls aged 15-19 are 2x as likely to die in child birthas women in their early 20s dueto their emotional and physical immaturity. If the girl survives,she will probablyexperience somephysical damage dueto an obstructed labor. As a doctor at the MahatmaGandhi Hospitalin Hyderabad said, "This15 year old offers a classic example of what can gowrong ifyou havea baby too young.She has high blood pressure, and because her body is not yet fully developed, herpelvic passage is too small andthe baby will getstuck. We shall have to carry out a caesarean."' Girls unable to access medical facilitiesthat conduct caesarian operationswill often experience obstetric fistula,a debilitating conditionthat renders a woman incontinent,and in most cases, results in a stillbirth or thedeath of the baby within the first weekof life.' In addition to these pregnancy related healthissues, young married girlsare at greater risk of infection fromsexually transmitted diseases suchas HIV/AIDS than boys, as they are forced to give into sex with an older husband, governed by values that prohibit resistance, and are unableto access information and services that could helpthem protectthemselves. 16 Child mortality and morbidity: Stillbirths and newborn deathsare 50%higher among infantsof adolescent mothers than amongthoseof mothers between theages of 20 and29.17 If the child survives, itwill generallyhave a lower birth weight and exhibit growth retardation,due to the mother's physical immaturity, and the factthat she is probably under-nourished.' This perpetuates a vicious cycle of malnutrition throughout adulthood and transmits physical, social and economic disadvantages from one generation to another.To make matters worse, their low household status meansmarried girlscannot demand adequatenutrition for either the daughters or themselves.The riskof malnutrition is higher for children under theage of five years born to mothers under theage of 18, than for childrenborn to women married after the legal age." Violence and abuse: Many parentsbelieve that marriage willprotect their daughters from sexual violence. This is an ironic expectationgiven that young, married girls are at greater risk of sexual and physicalviolence in their marital home.' A young, married girl has very low statusand negotiating power, leaving her morevulnerable toabuse by her husbandand other family members.' Husbands often initiatechild bridesinto sex byforce or coercion.Such children typically continue to experiencefrequent, non-consensualsex throughout their marriage.'A survey in Bihar and Jharkhand found that girls married before theage of 18 were three timesas likely as those married laterto reportbeing forced to have sex without their consent in the preceding six months. Further, childbrides weretwice as likely to reportbeing beaten, slappedor threatened by their husbands, than girls who marriedlater.' Too Soon:An overview ofchild marriagein India
  21. 21. kalT4 cgia oT,F4t c61 (435v Photo credit: UrmulTrust - . Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India le
  22. 22. Trafficked childbrides: Rampant sex selection in certain areas of the country has ledto a shortage of women of marriageable age. As a result, girlsare being married at evenlower ages. Unfortunately, thehigh demand for girls in affluent states such as Haryana, where sex selection is particularly common,has resulted in girls beingtrafficked for marriage from poorerstates like Assam. This more recentdevelopment has exacerbated an already serious problem,as it not only involves thetrafficking ofgirls for marriage but tendsto affect youngergirls who attract higher bridal prices. Trafficked child brides,usually unableto speak the language of thearea to which they have been transported, can often neither escape nor report their situation to authorities. As a result, they become easy targets for wife sharing among family member reselling in marriage to another, orfor being further trafficked intoprostitution. Psychological trauma: Not surprisingly,child brides often showsigns of child sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress, including feelingsof hopelessness, helplessnessand severe depression.' After marriage they leave their family and everything that is familiar to them.They lose their peer networks because they drop out of school, andare not allowed toleave their new homesto meet new peers or old friends. They are alsodenied any decision-making powers orindependence and often have a low sense of self-worth. Withmarriage they also lose their childhood, and sometimes in a matter of months make the transition frombeing a child to being a married mother with adultresponsibilities underthe authority ofa new husbandand family. For most of these young brides, psychologicaltrauma is inevitable. Inter-generational consequences: Unfortunately the consequencesofchild marriageare not just felt over the courseof a single life-time, as they are inter-generational.' Child marriage is a driver for early, multiple and complicated births. With more mouths tofeed, andhigh medical expenses linked to early pregnancy,the financialburden on a married girl and her family increases, pushing her deeper intopoverty. This increases the likelihoodof a premature marriage for their daughters.' Indeed, studiesshow that daughters of women who werechild bridesare atgreater risk of being married as children themselves, perpetuating cycles of povertyand disempowerment.27 "Child marriage continuesto be immersed in a vicious cycle of poverty, low educational attainment,high incidences ofdisease, poorsex ratios, the subordination of women,and most significantly the inter-generational cycles of all ofthese." Source: The costof inaction 'According to decades of research, child marriagescontribute to virtually every social problem that keeps India behindin women's rights. The problems include soaring birthrates, grinding poverty andmalnutrition, high illiteracy and infant mortality, and lowlife expectancy, especially among rural women."" The evidence is clear: for girls, early marriage and pregnancy adversely affecttheir rights to education and health, to life opportunities and indeed, to life itself.It is time toend child marriage, simply for the sake of those who are subjected to it. Yet, the costs of inaction extend farbeyond the price paid by girls themselves. Negative consequences of early marriageimpact families, communities,and the entire nation.In India alone, the costof lost productivity due to adolescentpregnancies is $7.7 billion a year.' The 0 Too Soon:An overview ofchild marriagein India
  23. 23. 28 million girls in India would become child brides in the nexttwo decades. The cost of lostproductivity due to adolescent pregnancies in India is $7.7 billion a year. Source: lifetime opportunity cost of adolescent pregnancy ofthosecurrently aged 15-19 will total 12% of India's annual GDP.'What is worse is that these adverse effectsare not confinedto the mother; instead these extendto her children, continuing thecycle of poverty, deprivation and violation of basic human rights. We know that the costs of inaction, in terms of unrealized rights, lostpotential and development opportunities, far outweigh theexpense of intervention.We alsoknow theextent of the problem: as example, 28 million of the girls in India, born between2005 and 2010,will become child bridesby 2030.31 Unless immediate measures aretaken to address earlymarriage, it will continue tobe the epicenter of numerous issues Indiais grappling with - sex selection, domestic violence, maternal and infant mortality,and disempowerment ofwomen. As a nation we cannot afford to overlook the well-beingand potential ofthese at-risk girls or the millionswho are already married today. We needto act now. Key takeaways Child marriage is an extremely widespread problemfacing India today. 47%of girls aged 20-24 - amounting to26 million girls -were married under theage of 18.32 Further, 18% of women aged 20-24 were married before theage of 15 years.' Child marriage is driven by deep-rooted beliefs about therole andvalue of a girl's life. Gendered mindsets resultin parents placinglittle value on educating their daughters, who drop out ofschool with limited livelihoodprospects and noalternatives toearly marriage. This allows stereotypical beliefs of a girl's potential to continueunchallenged in rural areas. Child brides are at greater risk of sexual and physicalviolence in their marital home, and vulnerable todebilitating sexual andreproductive infectionssuch as HIV.Girls under 15 are 5x as likely and girls aged 15-19 are 2x as likely to die in child birth thanwomenin their early 20s. 22% of womenin India aged20-24 give birth before theage of 18 - infants of adolescent mothers are likelyto be still born, remainmalnourished and in case of a daughter, be married as a child thereby perpetuating povertyand disempowerment. Cost of inaction is significant - the lifetimeopportunity cost of adolescent pregnancyof those currently aged 15-19 will total12% of India's annualGDP. Too Soon: Anoverview ofchild marriagein India
  24. 24. My name is Selvi... and I am a driver!! Photo credit: Eliso Poloschi 0 1 Stories OfChange
  25. 25. / At the age of 14, Selviwas forcefully married off. Repeatedly abusedby her husband,she ranaway to her natalhome for shelter. But hermother and family were unwilling.They beather, taunted her andrepeatedly asked her to return toher husband.All this forcedSelvi to run awaya second time; this time toend herlife. She saw a bus speeding down herway, and wished to come under it; but just in the nick of time, she changed her mindand climbed thebus instead! Selvi was helped by strangers, dissuadedfrom pursuing houseworkto earn a livelihood, and referred to theOdanadi shelter for girls. At Odanadi,Selvi was encouraged to move on from her past and trained tobecome a car driver. Since then, she has never lookedback. Fromsleeping in hercar to carrying chilli powderfor protection,Selvi learned to manage in a male dominated field, as she drove strangers around,within and out of thecity. She also married again; this time ofherown choice. She calls it: my lovemarriage. 111If% --"-.5ervi,erroasf61'hilanthropy Week, 2014 , ss s s, ,' ss s ss, ,,' ,, ., ' ' 0 % 0 0 /' . / v/ Stories Of Changele
  26. 26. Photo credit: Educate Girls AI1 Key Players: St h ers involved in tackling child m age
  27. 27. Cases of Rukhmabai and Phulmoneedrew the government's attention to the issue ofchild marraigein the 1880's Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tackling child marriage The issue of child marriage entered public discoursein India in the 19th century throughtwo landmark cases that highlighted issues ofwomen's choice and consent in marriage. These werethe cases of Rukhmabai in Maharashtra and Phulmonee in Bengal. In 1884, 22year oldRukhmabairefused to consummate her marriage with herhusband, to whom she wasmarried atthe ageof 11. Retained in her natal house tocomplete her education, Rukhmabai soon realized the questionablecharacter of her husband and didnot wish toproceed with the marriage. He on the other handwanted restitution of his conjugal rights, andfiled a case against her demandingthem. Rukhmabai defied the court'sorder to return to her husband, arguing that she would much rather go tojail than remainin an unwanted marriagethat was solemnized at an age whenshe wasincapable of giving consent. While thecase ended in anout of court settlement, it brought to the fore previouslyunheard issues of women's rights and choice in marriage. Rukhmabai's powerful demandfor her rights was in stark contrast to the case of Phulmonee, who died of marital rape at the ageof 11. Thisaction was brought posthumously byhermother. In 1890, she filed a case against herson-in-law, HariMaiti, demanding justicefor the marital rape and deathof her daughter.In arguing her case, she- asked thecourt to consider the imageof her daughter lying in blood succumbingto theinjuries of forced intercourse. Since colonial laws penalized marital rape onlyfor child brides of up to 10 years old,Hari Maiti was acquitted of marital rape and murder, and chargedonly with "rash acts". However, thecase paved the wayfor the argument againstthe "normal" and religiously sanctioned practiceof allowing intercourse with child brides, oncethey attained puberty. Boththese cases exerted pressureon the government, which raisedthe legal age for marriage andconsent to marry from 10 to12, inthe last decade of the century. Source: http://sonhaticom/excerpted/2207/ The role of government Public discussionon the cases of Rukhmabai and Phulmonee first drew the government's attention to theissue of child marriage. Subsequently,and particularly since the 1970s, the government's response to child marriagehas generally involvedlegal reforms mainly focusedon raising the age of consent and marriage. In 1994 it became a signatory to the UnitedNation's `International Conference on Population and Development' Program of Action.' Subsequently, the governmenthas made concerted efforts to introduce initiativessuch as conditional cash transfers, and strengthen existing programs tohelp adolescent girls and their families delay marriage and pregnancies. Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tackling child marriage 0.
  28. 28. 0 Keygovernmentmilestonesintheefforttoaddresschildmarriage GOIlaunchesKishoriShakbYojna fornutritionaldevelopmentand empowermentofadolescentgirls GOIlaunchestheRashtriyaKishor SwasthyaKaryakram(RKSK),a programtoaddressthehealth& developmentalneedsofthe243 millionadolescentsinIndia,based onacontinuumofcareapproach MinimumlegalageLegalageforGOIlaunchesApniBei7ApnaDhan,aconditionalGOIlaunchestheSABLAschemeto formarriageraisedmarriageofgirlscashtransferthatcanbeclaimedonlyifthegirlimprovethehealth,nutritionand from10to12yearsraisedto15remainsunmarriedtilltheageof18developmentstatusofadolescentgirls 18911929195019781994199720002006201120132014 Agenda ChildMarriageRestraintAct(CMRA) broughtintoforce,raisesminimumage formarriageofgirlsto14 0Raisingtheageofmarriage 0Empoweringthegirl Minimumlegalagefor marriageofgirlsraisedto18, thatstillstandstoday GOIlaunchesBalikaSamridhiYojna,a conditionalcashtransferaimedat enrollingandretaininggirlsinschool GOIdraftstheNationalStrategyFor PreventionOfChildMarriage,a guidingdocumentforstatestotackle childmarriage Adolescenthealthbecomesa keyobjectiveintheNational RuralHealthMission GOIlaunchestheRMNCH+Astrategy thatpromotesadolescenthealthcare andacknowledgesearlymarriageasa healthrisknotonlytoyounggirlsbut alsototheirchildren. CMRAreplacedbythemore progressiveProhibitionofChild MarriageAct(PCMA)
  29. 29. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) The ChildMarriage Restraint Act(CMRA) of 1929 was framed and campaigned for by women's organizations throughout India. Thesegroups not onlydemanded that the legal agefor marriage be raised, but also the impositionof punishments on those who break the law.'At the time,civil society played an important role in helping thegovernment to betterunderstand this complex issue, andto frameits own thinking and actions in the absence of any international dialogue. The CMRA wasamended twice,in 1950 and 1978,increasing the minimumlegal ageof marriage for girls to 15 years andthen finally to18 years. Finally,in 2005 it was replaced by the more progressive Prohibition ofChild Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006.36 Snapshot: The Prohibition of Child MarriageAct (PCMA), 2006 The PCMAdeclares child marriagea serious and non-bailable offence. Girls below 18 years of age and boysbelow 21 years areconsidered childrenunder the Act. To implement the law, each district is required toappoint a Child Marriage Prohibition Officer (CMPO). CMPOs areempowered to "interveneand file petitions" before and after a child marriage takes place. They areresponsible for taking the requiredsteps to prevent theoccurrence of child marriagesin their district, and to ensure that those who break the laware prosecuted. Courts havepower to issue injunctions to prohibitchild marriages from takingplace. Ifa marriage goes aheadit is considered null andvoid, as it is when a child is taken from his or her parents through illegal means,deceit, force or is sold or trafficked for marriage. The lawenables both groomsand brides to seek the annulment ofa marriage conductedin childhood within twoyears of becoming adults, orearlier, with thehelp of their guardians. Once a child marriageis annulled, theAct requiresthe provision of maintenance and accommodation for thegirl by her husbandand/or in-laws untilshe remarries. Children bornof an annulled child marriage are deemed legal and their custody is decided based on the children'sbest interests. The lawdecrees imprisonment ofup totwo years and/or a fine of up to INR 100,000 ($1,660) for performing, conducting, abetting, promotingor permitting a child marriage.Those punishable includean adult male marrying a child, as well as parents and guardians, and any other person or organization (example, the police)that allows or facilitatesa child marriage. Female offenders may be fined but cannotbe imprisoned. Any personcan report a child marriage before orafter it has occurred, and anyperson with personal or reliableinformation of an impending child marriagecan file a complaint. Source: http://www.uniceforg/india/Child Marriage handbook.pdf The new law on child marriage clearly representsa crucial milestone in the government's response to thepractice, not onlydue to its greater emphasis on prevention and prosecution but more importantly because of its focus on child protection. However, severaloperational problems exist that must be addressed if the Act is to protectchildren properly: Over-reliance on community.' Currently, thelaw relieson the community to notify authorities of impending child marriages. However,community members are often strongly discouragedfrom taking actiongiven the importanceattached to marriage in most Indiancommunities, and the legal and financial repercussionsfor the girl's family.The thought of subjectinga girl to the stigma of a broken marriagefurther reduces the motivation for communitymembers to report an impending marriage."' Lack of CMPOs: Only 15 out of 28 states have appointed CMPOs. Most often, the responsibility for enforcing theAct becomesthat ofthe district collector, who does not regard its implementation as a major priority."' Key Players: Stakeholders involvedin tackling child marriage
  30. 30. Police under community pressure.' Police andother officials are bribable and more commonly are subject to pressure from thecommunity to turna blind eye onchild marriage.Where officials report a child marriage,communities have been known to retaliate with violence, intimidating those who mightotherwise have notified theauthorities.' In 2005, Shakuntala Varma, a supervisor under theIntegrated Child Development Services (ICDS), intervened to stopa child marriage,and was consequently threatened and attacked by various people resultingin her hands beingseverely injured. Source: Child_Marriage_handbook.pdf Misplaced responsibilities.' The Act places responsibility on the minors concernedto seek the annulment ofa wedding within twoyears of theirreaching maturity,either in person or through their guardians-the very people who sanctioned their marriages in the firstplace. Although the firstchild marriageannulment in India occurred in 2012, it willbe a long and difficult task to ensure that all minors are sufficiently empowered todemand the annulments of their own child marriagesifthey so wish.' Photo credit: Sahayog India 111 Key Players: Stakeholders involvedin tackling child marriage
  31. 31. Deconstructing the government's effortsto tackle child marriage Central Government Policy 0 The draft NationalStrategy For Prevention OfChild Marriage recognizes child marriageas a key obstacle to achieving Millenium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs);promotes local action, partnershipsand evidence building; the recently launchedRMNCH+A strategy provides comprehensiveand integrated healthservices which serve as a strong framework under which early marriageand pregnancy can beaddressed A India declined to co-sponsortheglobal resolution against child, earlyand forced marriages,led bythe UN Human Rights Council Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) Ministry ofLaw and Justice Declares child marriageas a serious and non-bailable offence,places greater emphasis on prevention, prosecution and childrights Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) Ministry ofWomen and Child Development Kishori Shakti Yojana: health, nutrition, development Balika Samriddhi: enrollment and retention ofgirls in schools 00Programs Ministry ofWomen and ChildDevelopment Ministry ofHealth and FamilyWelfare Ministry ofHuman Resource Development SABLA: health, nutrition, life skills,education Adolescent Reproductiveand SexualHealth (ARSH) hasbeen madea key objective in the National Rural Health Mission RKSK addresses the health and developmental needs of the243 million adolescents in India based ona continuum ofcare approach KasturbaGandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV): residential schoolsfor upper primarygirls from marginalized backgrounds State Government Prohibition ofChild Marriage Act(PCMA) State governments are required to appoint Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPOs) and to frame rules. So far 21 States haveframed their rules and 15 haveappointed ProhibitionOfficer- no information is available on whether these are newly appointed or additional responsibilities given to existingofficers coConditional Cash Transfers State governments have put in placetheir own directand indirect conditionalcash transfer schemes for girls Direct: cash incentive ifthe girl marriesat or after 18 (Sahayog, in Rajasthan) Indirect: cash incentive for various milestones suchas birth registration, enrollment in school, delayed marriage Impact on the ground Under reporting ofchild marriage cases: In 2010 only111 caseswere reported of which 11 were convicted Onus is on the minors or guardians to annul the marriage Thefirst child marriage was annulled in 2012 Impact assessment ofthe earliestCCT Apni BetiApna Dhanis underway to studythe impacton the first cohort of beneficiaries, who turned 18 in2012 ,a1 While most programsare recent, experts `11F suggest thatthe SABLA scheme is having the desired impact, due to effectiveuse of existing government machineryand its emphasis on interdepartmental convergence Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tackling child marriage fa
  32. 32. Apart from updating thelaw to increase the legal ageof marriage as well as to protect therights of girls, the government has undertaken two separate initiatives to reinforceits commitment to girls' empowerment, education, reproductive rights, and gender equality: (a) Conditional cash transfer schemes (b) Health and development programs Conditional cash transfer schemes In the 1990s, the governmentlaunched variousconditional cash transfer schemes (CCTs) that sought to delay early marriages.Some were directly linked to child marriage.For example, in several stateswhere such marriages are widespread, parentsare offered a cash incentive to marry their daughters after thelegal ageis attained. The Sahyog Schemein Rajasthan provides familiesof backward castes with INR 5,000 ($ 84) if the girl marries betweenthe ages of 18-21, andINR 10,000 ($167)if she marries after the age of 21. The scheme covers up to two daughters in a family. Other CCTs such as the ApniBetiApna Dhan (ABAD) schemeand the Balika Samriddhi Yojna (BSY) seek to address child marriage moreindirectly. These seekto alter parents' behavior towardstheir daughters by incentivizing them toensure their welfare throughout theirentire childhood. Typically, in order to receive these cash incentives, parents must ensure birthsare registered, early immunization programs are completed, children are enrolled (and sometimes retained)in school, and that marriages takeplace only after the age of 18. Prerna In an attempt to encourage positivebehavior change, GOI launched the conditionalcash transfer scheme Prerna for BPL couples who have "broken the stereotypeof early marriage, ea childbirth and repeated childbirth and have helped changethe mindsets of the community".To avail itsincentive, thegirl shouldhave married after 19 and the boy after 21 years of age. Their first child shouldbe born only aftertwo years of marriage. On meeting this condition, the couple receives INR 10,000 for a boy and INR 12,000 for a girl child.An additional incentiveof INR 5,000 (boy child)and INR 7,000 (girl child) is provided if the couple ensuresa gap of three or moreyears between their first two children, and if either parent voluntarily accepts a permanent methodof family planning within a year of having their second child. The schemeis currently running in seven states of the countryand has spent about INR 72 lakhs (USD 120,000) between 2010and November 2013. Source: Experts interviewed by Dasrareported that whileCCTs may have a role to play in the absence of other positive interventions, theyalone cannot address the problem.' Despite considerable political willsupporting this modelof intervention, the extentto which CCTs help delay marriage will only become apparentin the near future. An impact assessment is under way to study the first round of ApniBeti ApnaDhan schemebeneficiaries, who turned18 in 2012." Experts believe these measureswill be successful, atleast in the short-term, but willneed to be supported by further measures designedto change behavior ifthey are to have anylong-term impact.' 0 Key Players: Stakeholders involvedin tackling child marriage
  33. 33. Programs for health, education andempowerment of adolescent girls Most programsimplemented by the government toaddress child marriagehave focused on mitigating the negative health effectsof this practiceon young girls and their children. Whilesome adolescent girl health programslike the Kishori Shakti Yojna did include an empowerment component, minimalemphasis was placed onit untilthe launch of theRajiv Gandhi Schemefor Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, known as the SABLA scheme. Implemented through the Ministryof Health and FamilyWelfare's ICDS machinery, SABLA targets girls aged 11-18 in 200 districts ofIndia. It focuses on improving nutritionand empowering adolescent girls. It comprises a range of activities from promotingawareness of adolescent reproductive and sexualhealth, nutrition and child care, to enablinggirls to access opportunities for vocational trainingand support in returning to school. While theSABLA scheme is still fairly new, experts interviewed by Dasrafelt it had succeeded in drawing girls into safe spacesfor learning and exploring opportunities. In doing so, they had become more exposedto alternatives to marriage, and could access peer support necessary to stand up to theirparents. Experts suggest that effective use of existing government machinery, such as ICDS,and collaboration between government departments, partlyexplain the successful implementation of the program."' The government has a major role to play in addressing child marriage,given its sustainability, resources and ability to scale effective interventions.There is a growing consensus of opinion in the development sector that non-profitorganizations should work alongside thegovernment tohold it accountable,shape itsthinking, and helpit implement its lawsand programs more effectively. The role of private foundations So far, international private foundations have beenthe most important stakeholders in the child marriage sector. By funding non-profit organizations, they have enabled theincubation of new models of interventionto tackle child marriageand have sustained and scaled successful initiatives. The four key private foundations in the child marriagesector are: the MacArthur Foundation, which pioneeredsupport fromprivate foundations foragencies dealing with child marriage in India; the Ford Foundation; the Packard Foundation; and the KendedaFund. Between 2011 and 2013,these four committed$17.06 million to child marriageprogramming in India, andallocated a further $33.16 millionin multi-country grants, ofwhich India's exact share is unknown.43These funds were directed towardsa wide range of activities includingresearch, advocacy, capacity buildingand technical assistance, network-building, influencingpolicy, monitoring and evaluation, grant-making,and promoting education and livelihoods for girls. The Kendeda Fund Regarding funding devoted solely to Indian projects,the Kendeda Fund,the sector's most recent entrant, has committed USD 15.3 million, representing90% of total spending. It became involved in funding child marriageissues through its newly founded girls' rightsportfolio, in August 2013.4' Before committing funds to campaigning against childmarriage, the Kendeda Fundfinanced environment sustainabilityissues in the US. Having only recentlybegun to participatein the sector's concerns, the fundhas partnered with the internatnon-profit organization American Jewish World Service (AJWS) to provide grantsto India. Currently, AJWS funds 18 grassroots organizations across Indiathat work to empowergirls and "hasten theend of child marriage" by addressing underlying social andeconomic causes. Significantly, the Kendeda Fund is one of only a few funding organizationsthat make unrestricted grants to small non-profit organizations.' This fact alongwith the amount offunds it has available, makes the Kendeda Fund a significant entrant forIndia's childmarraige sector. Its entry not onlyholds potential for innovative interventionson the ground, butalso for promoting institutional development of grassroots organizations. Key Players: Stakeholders involvedin tackling child marriage0
  34. 34. 32 Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tackling child marriage While open to funding experimental intervenƟons to address child marriage, private foundaƟons also accord significant priority to their grantees’ monitoring and evaluaƟon (M&E) processes. This is oŌen a challenge for non profits dealing especially with longitudinal change. Realizing this characterisƟc of their work, private foundaƟons increasingly encourage their grantees to develop M&E systems well-suited to their pace of change, measuring progress rather than final impact. This is essenƟal for non profits to know how they could improve, as well as to beƩer represent their work in an increasingly compeƟƟve and growing non-profit sector.50 The role of mulƟlateral and bilateral donors To date, UNICEF and UNFPA have been the main parƟcipants in this category. UNICEF began to focus on child marriage with the passage of the United NaƟons Child Rights ConvenƟon in 1989, which mandated governments to accord a high priority to child protecƟon issues. As part of its efforts to address child marriage, UNICEF works very closely both with the government and grassroots organizaƟons. While providing financial support to organizaƟons, UNICEF’s biggest contribuƟon is the technical support it provides to governments and non-profit organizaƟons to facilitate “a change in social norms and behaviors while also promoƟng insƟtuƟonal capacity and law enforcement.” 51 Pivotal to UNICEF’s strategy for addressing child marriage is its engagement with grassroots stakeholders. It aƩaches considerable importance to engaging community and family decision-makers, promoƟng educaƟon for girls, and ensuring effecƟve behavior change communicaƟon. Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 300 civil society organizaƟons from over 50 countries, commiƩed to ending child marriage. Formally iniƟated in 2011, Girls Not Brides empowers those seeking to end child marriage by encouraging them to learn from each other’s experiences and successes; mobilizing policy, financial and program support to end child marriage; raising awareness of the harmful impact of this pracƟce as well as of potenƟal soluƟons by encouraging open and informed discussion at the local, naƟonal and internaƟonal levels. DirecƟon-seƫng is a crucial role oŌen played by private sector funders. Among mulƟ-country grants menƟoned earlier, Ford FoundaƟon made the most recent and significant global commitment of USD 25 million to ensure greater "visibility, resources and grounded soluƟons" to the problem of child marriage, while also providing "real alternaƟves for girls and communiƟes". The FoundaƟon leverages its relaƟonships with the funder community, governments, and internaƟonal networks such as Girls Not Brides to increase commitments to address child marriage and to highlight the soluƟons that are being found. Its aim is to eliminate the pracƟce within a generaƟon. Girls Not Brides Photo credit : Sarathi Source: Personal CommunicaƟon with Lakshmi Sundaram, Girls Not Brides, 2014
  35. 35. USAID USAID focuses on early marriagein India, within its broader focus on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual health. On the one hand itfunds state level programs such as UDAAN in Uttarakhand and Saloni Swasth KishoriYojana in Uttar Pradesh, to address the issue through behavior change communication, in-school interventions, deliveryof health services for married and unmarried adolescents, as well as formation ofpeer networks.It also funds capacity building activitiesto ensure adequate execution oftheseprograms. On the other hand, USAID is investing in evidence building by funding the evaluationof the nationalscheme, Apni Beti ApnaDhan, that seeks to delay marriagefor girls across the country through conditionalcash transfers. USAID is likely to become a lot more influentialin the child marriagespace internationally given the recentpassing of the ViolenceAgainst Women ReauthorizationAct, 2013which mandates inclusionof child marriage in its focus on international development. Source: PersonalCommunication withUSAID, 2014 While UNFPA is relatively new to thechild marriagesector in India, ithas already become the agency responsible for managing efforts toaddress the problemof sex selection - yet another manifestation of the low value accordedto daughters in several parts of India. Leveragingits understanding of gender constructs,UNFPA addresses childmarriage indirectly by responding to the problem'scausal factors - high vulnerability and limited opportunities. In contrast to UNICEF's emphasis on community engagement, UNFPA is increasingly focusedon upstream policy work. There is a growing recognitionamong stakeholdersthat the underlyingcauses of child marriage are gendered normsand patriarchal mindsets,and that these need to be addressed if the issue is to be dealt with effectively. This has ledto an increasing consensusthat the community is central to change, andthat it mustbe involved in any response to child marriageif efforts totackle the issue areto have any lasting impact. The role of international and national non-profit organizations International non-profitorganizations, such as CARE, Action Aid and Savethe Children, play a variety ofroles in the fight against child marriage.Their most significantcontribution is their work in global level advocacy,to leverage long-standing networksand build new strategic alliances. Through their networks and campaigning, these organizations mobilize greatervisibility and support for theissue, helping to build a sector aroundchild marriagewhere responses are less fragmented and more complimentary. They also invest in research and evidence building, which in turn forms thebasis for their advocacy bothinternationally and in specific countries. Organizations such as Action Aid andAJWS contribute tothe field through sub-grants tolocal non-profit organizations, and by building their capacities. National non-profit organizations work effectively with the government todevelop policy frameworks, building capacityofgovernment officials and mobilizing community support through grassroots outreach work.For example, the Indian non-profit organization MAMTA was consulted Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tackling child marriage
  36. 36. 1°1u=lasY3 XP m=======m &Fel-0 IF 3-tri aPER 411F vq, 1=7 ftzt[ k-o-c-6trT4 it*Fr 1;knm * malt *AtVOKTIT670'Nr4 *slit] tM4 AdtlITTIERIF 1M¢ Amal 1=r errlmT 71 7sTibi grAi ok 1714174 4h<it 31*1 4143F4 3.1E1W WET f6kRzi vimr1 veggi kvrl, WIT 417 tlaz 41 ter A v4m wetm*Ilit'liwn :Tpz tri 40 *Air MA Arm vigi1 as 1 artZl 17g4 I'mtgt 474* ittfrTra arc &it lkrri %Alki- rtr odfa 7) mull 151 Ilia rag Toform fat-Fitig TI*1191w4fzaldirwreagrlirtrili tn Trmr qrqw7F7TE* =W17747E:7* 9114 411.4 woW ftritqT 71;rwFruTofwr* tipv7WIt*t fw[T fr4a.ati *maw tmn * 7 144Kr 9E1 val Rawz Tprzf*IituiT v4t *irmt adf az larm tre) 410.54 qvErrui PRA L FFILF 19 ate 4... a Ar*r7Er TRA lif-RITL irrivw Pm WlI I asr If ,"4-* .:474".16.0Ahlr gAZZ r) afr 44 716'' '90tr,*'4Prmfzr.?":* to help devisethe draft National Strategyfor Prevention of Child Marriage, due to its experience and expertise in addressing adolescent issues. It hasalso recently begun capacity building initiatives with districtand localgovernment officials to tackle child marriage.Breakthrough ran a pilot project tomobilize community supportagainst early marriagein three high prevalence districts of Bihar and Jharkhand. It convenes community members to discuss child marriage,and in particular, its adverse effects on their girls' rights, includingtheir education and health. The highlight of this campaign is its focus on engaging men andboys, particularly thelatter, so it can help them become agentsfor change and challenge traditional norms aboutthe role and valueof girls. In addition toits youth leadership program, Breakthroughalso uses national mass media and street theatre toengage communities on the issue.' The role of academic and research institutions Research is critical to solving any problem effectively.Policy makers andpractitioners need a rigorous understandingof the issue, its causes andimpact, and recommended action strategies.'' They also require an understanding of 'what works' in tackling child marriageand any gapsin implementation.' International institutionssuch as the International Center for Research onWomen (ICRW), CARE, Plan International and the Population Council all carry out research on child marriage. Theyuse it to strengthen the evidencebase andas an advocacy tool todelay marriage at national and international meetings. In addition to generatingresearch and evidence, academicand researchinstitutions also offer monitoring and evaluation support to non-profitorganizations and government programs that often lack the necessary in-house capacity. For example, ICRW is conducting a five-year impact analysis of the central government's ApniBeti ApnaDhan Scheme,which was the first touse conditional cash incentives to delay marriage in India. On the other hand, the PopulationCouncil is working withUN agencies to developa generic framework to monitorthe transformation and impact of child marriage programs.Given the multi-layered natureof the issue andthe challenges involved in assessing change, this framework represents a significant contribution to thechild marriage sector in India. Although monitoring and evaluation support is provided by some academic and research institutions in India, these are neither accessible nor affordable for most non-profit organizations operating in this sector. Expertsinterviewed by Dasrastress the need to build this skillset in more academic institutions so that even grassroots non-profits, withsmall budgets, can afford quality monitoring and evaluation support, to bringmore credibility to theirwork.' 0 Key Players: Stakeholders involvedin tackling child marriage
  37. 37. 11111111111 *az . gem 14 37D1271, 2013 1M5 qFM RZfr N-arg m-Tar4m-r Rtvr tr31T1f4 .q11 a Trigrft *14 Arr-e*r kre 4:d7a7ii f4arg-T6114*7T4*re*TFItftzrr#4ri at Fr Irrrq 3T#117r 'ClIrei* 4IF N-di-63-171c121I k.*71' #Z2419" wmr-qtir4 74 air4r-Aw wwfi--dr *r4wrr tzrff-11m7 74 37rt 31-<-4 trr *77q74 4rk-, 71p, wRil, kw a Nriur#11-e*rtivr*T.rqicfrk4*.r-e-w'srFart7rfi Ttz:E4T9*ilupprzaf 57;r zuqr 3td7uxtr lar ka77***N-or 9.43176*77rrwzr gam 7774q7117-er9rEzlIFarm ftr*7. mr-tr f rri 4-qur fpard 777*R1 fa-arm #v-4 *r 1774r r-ew ft4r #71 5 aiFtkiu aef The non-profit organization, Vikalp, organized the "our daughters'rights" campaign to advocate against child marriage and promote education forgirls, inover 40 villages ofJodhp.ur district. The campaign ensured 'buyin' of key government officials who launchedthe campaign in each visited.village..The campaign targeted students from multiple schools. The role of the media Child marriage is a grassroots problem, most prevalent among ruraland illiterate populations that often rely on verbal means to communicate knowledgeand entertainment. It is therefore incumbent on localmedia to highlight positive role models that challenge the norm of child marriage, rather than spreading sensational news involving the elopementor rape of young unmarried girls. Exceptionally, the primetime soap opera, Balika Vadhu, ran counter to the media's usual coverage by not onlyportraying the dire effectsof child marriageand the socio-economic factors that promote it, but more importantly, summarizingthe lesson learnt from each episode, to ensure the message wastransmitted clearly and effectively to its intended audience. Despite its strong social messaging,the soap has been a success. This clearly shows there is a huge market for positive messagingon child marriageand itsunderlying causes. Key takeaways The government's response to child marriage has predominantly involved legal reforms that have focused on increasing the age of marriage. Since the mid-1990s, it has made concerted efforts to introduce initiativessuch as conditional cash transfers, and to strengthen existing programsto supportadolescent girls and their families in delaying marriage and pregnancies. Private foundations such as Ford, MacArthur, and Packard haveplayed a vital role in promoting the issue of child marriageas a social ill,and funded non-profit organizations to address the problem on the ground. Most recently, theKendeda Fund has been the largest source of finance, having committed USD 15.3 million to theissue of child marriage in India during 2013. Academic and research institutions such as ICRW and Population Councilhave been instrumental in providing crucial evidence of the extent of the problemand how to tackle it. Thisis critical in helping understand 'what works, and can be usedas advocacy tools to influence policy and practice on the ground. The media is a powerful tool throughwhich norms and beliefs about child marriagecan be challenged. Local soap operas have done so byhighlighting the harmfuleffects of child marriage on girls and promoting positive girl role models. Key Players: Stakeholders involved in tacklingchild marriage le
  38. 38. S. / / / i S. / / /S. , / / / S. I // . /.. I /.. ... I I... ... 1 ... .. '''. .... i ... .... 0. .. ''' ... -I... .... "" / .., ... I / ... . / I .. ... .. '/ I / .../.. / / / .... . . S. S. S. N S. S. *.o. ... S., 4.S. .... Si. X x X Text and photo credit. www.urmutore?product=beyond-novella-memories-of-change COStories Of Change
  39. 39. 0 r Seizingeveryopportunity Amarriedgirlat6,ahouseholderat13,amotherat15andtoday,astudentofGeneralNurse MidwiferyinBikanercity.Maghineverattendedregularschoolalthoughsheattendedabalika shivir*whenshewas9.Belowtheeligibleageof12,Maghiinsistedonattendingtheshivirwith heroldersister;leadingtoarevisionoftheminimumeligibleageforthesecamps.Herexperience attheshivirnotonlysparkedherinterestinlearningbutalsoexposedhertothestoriesandstrife ofseveralothergirlslikeherself.Thisexposurebecameherbackbonethroughallthehardships shefacedduringherlife.Soonaftershewastakentoherhusband'shouse,Maghirealizedthat pursuinghereducationwouldbeastruggle.Thisrealizationmadeherillandshewassentbackto hernatalhometorecover.Maghiclinchedthisopportunitytotakeherclass10examinationand cleareditwithdistinction.Thiswastobeoneofthemanyopportunitiessheseizeddespite knowledgeoftheoppositionshewouldface.However,eachsuccessinfusedherwithmore confidencetoaddressthisoppositionandconverttohersideallthosewhoonceopposedher. Keyamongsttheseconvertsisherhusband.Heoncecametofetchherhomewhenshewasonly 13,tobearthedutiesofahouseholder.Today,heencourageshiswifetocompletehereducation eventhoughitmeanslivingaloneinthecity,awayfromtheresponsibilityoftheirhouseholdand eventheirson. *Balikashivir:Nonformalschoolsforgirls,previouslyrunbyUrmulTrusttoprovidebridgecoursestoschooldropouts. StoriesOfChange
  40. 40. Priorities For Action: Cornerstones for addressing child marriage In recent decades, the government,development agencies and non-profit organizations have made significant effortsto end the practice of child marriagein India. Decreasingchild marriage rates indicate that these combined measures have been effective. Increased and sustained investment will onlyhelp further drive downthe rates of child marriagein the country. Given the multi-faceted natureof the phenomenon,addressing child marriage requiresa comprehensive strategy targetingdifferent issues andstakeholders, throughout the life of a minor girl, whether or notshe is married. Moreover, considering the ramificationsof child marriage for many development sectors, multiple entrypoints can beaccessed to further efforts to eliminate the practice. Based onevidence sourcedfrom Indian and international literature,as well as through expert consultations, Dasra hasidentified fourkey priority ways of preventing child marriageand reducing its negative consequences: 1. Creating alternate life options forgirls 2. Identifying and sensitizing gatekeepers 3. Promoting birthand marriage registration 4. Addressing the needs of adolescent brides F 11. Pziorrtes For g,ton: Cornerstones for,addressing child marriage
  41. 41. Dasraanalysisbasedonexpertinterviewsandsecondaryresearch A Pre-marriageLowsocialvalueattachedtothegirl-child Urgencytomarrythedaughterassoonaspossible Beliefthatthegirlisparayadhanorwealthofherfuture maritalfamily Traditionalgenderroles:agirl'sroleistotakecareofchildren andhousehold Investingingirls'educationisthereforenotconsidered worthy Concernsaboutgirl'ssafetyandvirginity Dowryratesarelowerforyoungergirls Peerpressurefromthecommunity Poorparentalknowledgepertainingtonegativehealth consequencesofearlymarriageandchildbearing AtmarriageInabilitytostopchildmarriagesDifficulttodetermineageofcoupleintheabsenceofageproof Reluctanceofcommunitytoreportmarriage Religiousandcommunityleaderscondonechildmarriage Lawenforcementofficersarereluctanttotakeactionasthey arepartofthecommunity Mostmarriagestakeplaceinprivate Girllacksagencytostopmarriage Post-marriageEarlyandmultiplepregnancies Domesticviolence Educationdiscontinued Needtoprovefertility Lackofsexualandreproductiveknowledge Girllacksagencytomakechoices Cornerstonesforaddressing childmarriage Creatingalternate lifeoptions forgirls Identifying and sensitizing gatekeepers Promotingbirth andmarriage registrations Addressingthe needsof adolescent brides
  42. 42. "It is useless to talk about prevention of child marriageif the girlshave no alternative options for education and livelihood, and will continue to be seen as their parents' liability and burden." - Panchali Saha, Child Welfare Committee,WestBengal Creating alternate life options for girls 48% of girls aged 20-24 in rural areas and 29%of girls in urban India marry under theage of 18.57 While marriageremains pivotalto patriarchalcommunities across India, itis considered far more central to thelives of girls in rural communities. Limited exposure to alternativeways of thinking that challenge stereotypesand the lack ofopportunities in their immediate surroundings,provide rural communities with minimal impetus toconsider different alternatives fordaughters. Evidence from research and other programs suggests that exposureto the alternative potential of daughters, outside the household,often helps decision-makers to advocatefor change.'For example, if a girl is doing well in secondary school, a mother may seekto persuade the rest of her family that she should remainin the educationsystem, and pursue an alternative life for herself. Enabling aspirational thinking among girls and their families, as well as offering themsafe spaces to explore alternative options,is increasingly beingacknowledged by donors, non-profit organizations and government agencies as a powerful strategy to delay marriage.'' Beginning with education Both Sri Lanka and the state of Kerala in India have a relatively high age of marriage.' They also have something else in common that has contributed to this phenomenon: bothhave given high priority to education. Schooling, particularly at secondary level, remains the single most important predictorof age at marriage.According to a study by ICRW, girls engaged in secondary educationare 70%less likely than their uneducated counterparts to marry early.' They will also probably delay childbearing, space pregnancies, and raisehealthier and better- educated children.It is therefore critical to both enrolland retain girlsin school, especially post- puberty, and ensure that they are allowed to learn andgrow beyondtheir traditional roles. In developing countries,seven or more years of education delays a girl's marriage by four years. Moreover, each successiveyear of secondary schooling increases thegirl's likelihoodof being employed, boosting her earningpotential by 15-25%. Source: Schooling protects against marriagefor at leasttwo reasons. Simply beingin school helps ensure girls continue tobe regarded as children, and therefore not marriageable. Outsideof the home, schools can be seen as safe spacesfor girls. Consequently, as it becomes a socially acceptable alternative, school attendance helps change normsabout earlymarriage. Additionally, schooling helps girlsdevelop social networks and acquire skills andinformation. This not onlyexposes them to other optionsbeyond their own households butalso contributes to their ability to pursue those opportunities. Each successive year of secondary schooling increases the girl's chancesof being employed, boostingher earning potentialby 15-25%." School enrollment in Malawi reduces probability of early marriage andpregnancy In Malawi, a southeastern countryin Africa, the effects of a small cash transfer toparents on re-enrolment of their daughters, was significant. Not only did the enrollment increase by 2.5 times a year afterthe program's introduction, the probabilityof marriagedeclinedby over 40% andthat of pregnancy by 30%. Source: Priorities For Action: Cornerstonesfor addressing childmarriage 0
  43. 43. Leading to employment The empowering effecton women of engagement in paid work is well documented in several studies.' Therefore, toreduce the incidence ofchild marriage, socially valuedroles for women must expand beyond thoseof being a wife and mother. Broadeningopportunities for women to include employment also makesit meaningfulfor parents to invest in a girl's education. A study conducted by the non-profit organization MAMTA revealed that 97% of family members surveyed - elders, parents,brothers - considered 'employment opportunities' tobe the most promising strategyto delay marriagefor their daughters. In Bangladesh, youngwomen's entryinto theexport garment industryhas boosted their value in the eyes of their familiesand potential husbands. Despite long working hours, most garment workerscan negotiate some autonomy with theirown families as a result of earning. Later on, their experience of financial self-reliancegives them greater confidenceas wives. Source: digestle.pdf According to a South Asian study undertakenby ICRWand Plan Asiato understandsuccessful interventions in the child marriagesector, the promotion ofvocational and skill-based trainingfor women was thought likely to have a positive impact for both unmarried and married women.For the unmarried,it helpsto delay marriage.If the girl is engaged in paid work, her family tends to delay her marriage,either because they rely on her income or becausethey are willing to wait until they find a husband who is 'worthy' of their daughter. For the married,it acts to mitigate some of the negative effectsof child marriage, givingthe girl a stronger positionin the marital home, and reducing the likelihoodthat she will suffer domestic violence. 0 1 Priorities For Action: Cornerstones for addressingchild marriage
  44. 44. Clearly, the education toemployment continuumdoes not just offera corrective solution to preventing child marriage butan enabling one that opens many newwindows of opportunity for adolescent girls, allowing them toexplore and achieve their potential. While initiationof the process requires certainminimum levels of support from the community, transformation of girls through the continuumacts as a strong behaviorchange strategy, weakening resistance by increasing demandfor this alternative trajectory. Identifying and sensitizing gatekeepers Most cases of positive changein relation to marriage involve gatekeepers, whose s convictions and ability tostand their ground enables the girlto choose an alternative toearly marriage, despite householdand community norms." 65 Examples include a father who understands his role in protecting his daughter against the dangers of child marriage;a young man who decides to challenge his sister's marriage;a grandmother, whohas experienced the negative consequences herselfand decides not tolet her granddaughter encounter thesame; or a community leader that leads by example. It is therefore critical to identifyand engagethose gatekeepers who significantly influencea girl's life choices. Fathers and brothers:Fathers, or other men in the family, often initiatemarriage arrangements for theirdaughters, and take decisionsregarding when and whom the daughter willmarry. A recent needs assessmentcommissioned by World Vision in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, to inform the development of an intervention toengage fathers toend child marriage showedthat they play a key role in ending child marriage.'Girls reported that sensitizing fathers to the health implications of child marriageand the importanceof education is critical in helping them decide to delay their daughters' marriage. Moreover, accordingto agencies such as DFID, UNFPAand USAID, it is equally important to reach outto boys to encourage equitable gendernorms from a young age. Priorities For Action: Cornerstonesfor addressing childmarriage
  45. 45. "I get a lot of offers and pressureto marry off my daughter but I disagree, telling themthat my daughter doesn'thave the capability to understand what marriageis; moreover, she hasthe right to decide where tomarry so when she will become about 18 to 20 years thenwe will see." - Father, District Bikaner, Rajasthan Source: wwwicrw org/files/publicabons/Delaying-Marriage-for-Girls- in-India-UNICEF-ICRWpdf girls on average married at the age of 1 significant achievement." This conditioning should cause them tobecome agents of change within theircommunities as they grow intotheir decision-making roles as brothers, husbands and fathers. Older women.' Women mustbe recognized as more than victims or at-riskpersons. Since they are closest to the problem, theyare in a position to advance their daughters' and grand-daughters' rights and well-being. For example, in southern Senegal in West Africa,the openness of grandmothers to questioning the tra grew up with has been fundamental tothe World Vision project's success. When itbegan in 2008, 5.6 years.By late 2010,this had increased to 17.5 years,a Religious and community leaders.' Although a recent surveyby UNICEF, on violence against children, does not directly examine the role of religion in perpetuating child marriage, it show that the practice continues due to long standing culturalvalues and traditions. Religion often underlies and informs thisbehavior.' Existing laws arefrequently poorly enforcedor superseded by customary and religious laws in India. To ensure that these customsare not used as an excuse for early marriage,it is crucial to mobilize religious heads andcommunity leaders in panchayats to oppose the practice of child marriage.For example, non-profit organization Jan Jagran Santhan and Action Against Traffickingand Sexual Exploitation ofChildren (ATSEC) formed the Inter Religious Priest Forum(IRPF) inBihar that broughttogetherreligious leaders from multiplefaiths, to delivermessaging againsttrafficking and child marriageto their respective followers. Members of the forumalso act as catalysts of change, regularly meetingother leaders of theirrespective faiths to sensitize them and build a network for reporting potentialchild marriagesto the forum. Where sensitization has not reached or impacted, IRPF members act as a pressure group,denying ceremonial/ritualistic approval to child marriage and ensuring priestsdo the same. Having been acknowledged as a high potential strategy to promote behaviorchange within the communityby UN agencies and the government,it is being adapted by several non-profit organizations within the countryand the region. The impact of social sanctions againstchild marriageis best demonstrated by the panchayat of the Vattamuthampattivillage in Tamil Nadu. Efforts undertaken by panchayat leaders have included enforcing resolutions,engaging with parents, and empowering adolescents in schools. Their concerted effortshave ledto thevillage being declaredfree of child marriage,a year after it banned thepractice.' Panchayatsmove to end child marriage in Maharashtra 88 panchayats in the Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtrahave resolved to ban child marriage in their villages. Theimpact has been immediate, with 18 families cancelling the weddingsof their minor daughters in the first month.The state government had launched a child rightsand protection movementin the area in association with UNICEF and localnon-profit organizations. The campaign to end childmarriage gainedmomentum withinthis larger movement. "The numberof girls married off at 15 or 16 years of age is too high. In some communities, it is a common practice even when thegirl is 13 or 14 years old," said a government officerattached to theChild and Welfare department. Milind Joshi, the sarpanch(head of the panchayat)of Tarnoli villagesaid hispanchayat has decided to take action if the resolutionwas not followed, adding, "We willbe following the community closely. Violators willbe booked under the provisionsof theAct." Source: /article1-1015458. aspx Priorities For Action: Cornerstonesfor addressingchild marriage
  46. 46. 59% of all births remain unregistered in India. Promoting birth and marriage registration Birth registration is a child's first fundamentalright. It ensures that the child is given an identity at birth and regarded as part ofsociety. Birthregistration is vital tosecure the recognitionof every person before the law, to safeguard the protection ofhis or her rights, and to ensure that any violation of those rights does not go unpunished. Indian law requires that all new-born childrenbe registered within 21 daysof birth. However, as per the Countdown to2015, 59% of Indian births remain unregistered.' In the contextof addressing the issue of child marriage,ensuring parents registerbirths is important in helping to preventthe practice and ensure the girl-childand her family can access various welfareschemes. Electronic birth registrationis regularly citedas an effective tool to prevent early main Bangladesh, Niger andSomaliland. Women repeatedly emphasized theimportance of proof of age as a means of delaying marriage, wherecivil law includes an age of consent. Source: www worldyision org/resources nsf/main/press-reports/$file/ Untying-the-Knot report pdf Birth registration provides proof of age. Using suchinformation, underage marriagescan be identified and halted and those abettingthem punished. In rural areas where birth certificatesare often non-existent or not properlyrecorded, many parents resort to falsifying girls'ages. In Bangladesh, for example, stakeholders rangingfrom religious leadersto parents and district officials emphasizethat the lack of birth registrationenables the age of girls and boysaboutto be married tobe falsified easily, while those tasked with enforcing thelaw can more readilyturn a blind eye.' Proof of a child's age is a prerequisite not onlyfor the effective enforcement oflegislation, butto establish its capacity to claim rights.While birthregistration does not by itself guarantee education, health,protection or participation, it can help marginalized girls qualify for and avail themselves ofthese fundamentalrights. For example, targeted government schemes require the presentation ofa birth certificateas proof of age to enroll a girl-child for resulting benefits.Such schemes, including Sarva ShikshaAbhiyan, guarantee free educationand conditional cash transfers such as the Ladli Yojana andApni Beti Apna Dhan, which are intended toincrease the social valueof the girl-child. Apart fromusing birth registrations,some countries are alsoresorting to creative methods including using marriage registrationsystems to provide young peoplewith reproductivehealth information. In Mexico a statement is required froma doctor or social worker indicating that a couple has discussed reproductive health mattersbefore a marriage license can beobtained. Meanwhile, in Indonesia marriage counselorsfrom the Islamic marriage registrysystem have themselves been trained as reproductive health educators.' While providinglegal status to a marriage, marriageregistration also helpsyoung bridesto enforce their marital rights, enabling them totake their husbands to courtshould they wanta divorce, orto obtaina court order to protect themfrom violence in their own home. Moreover, in the absence of proper birth registration,registering marriages providesanother opportunity for girls to enter thesystem andbe counted as eligible for services connected with child birth, family planningand other healthcare issues, and alsoaccess food and nutrition, employmentand other opportunities. Priorities For Action: Cornerstonesfor addressing childmarriage
  47. 47. 111 . s,, -, ', s %. ,, S, , , ,.. ...-- s/I - '1X x , X s s I.1 x X x ' s X ' X , % N, %s ,% , ss N % . ,X , % , %, , 1 s"s ' Mandated birthdates on wedding invitations helps to prevent child marriagesin Rajasthan Child marriages are still widespread in the state of Rajasthan in India. To prevent them, thestate government issued a directive in March 2013 requiring that the birthdates of the brideand groom be printed on the weddinginvitations. According to thegovernment directive, all printing press owners are required to view b certificates providedby the familiesof the brideand groom beforeprinting wedding invitations. If the owner finds that eitherthe brideor groom is not of legal agefor marriage, he must decline the print orderand report the proposed wedding to the respectivedistrict administration. Owners who disobey these orders willface arrest and six months imprisonment, and will also be fined INR 1,000 ($18). "Press owners have been askedto submit a copy of the invitation card for each wedding taking place in the respective district administration. These wedding cards will be scannedand checked," the officer of the welfaredepartmentfor women and children said. The project was launched on a pilot basis in the Bharatpurdistrict of the state in April 2013. According to theofficer, "The resultswere great.About 50 child marriages wereprevented in the past year. Now it has beenimplemented across the state." Source: X ASHISH Gram RachnaTrust (AGRT), a non-profit organization based in Maharashtra, India provides health education andassessments to adolescent girls, including childbrides. Between 2003and2012 this program successfully delayed theage offirst conception from 15.8 to 18 yearsamongst this group ofyoung women. Source: Personalcommunication withASHISH Gram RachnaTrust, 2013 Addressing the needs of adolescent brides The median age of marriage in India has risen from 16.1 to only 16.8 yearsover thepast two decades.' At the same time, the adolescent populationhas been growing both in sheer numbers,and as a proportion ofthe total population. Cu adolescent population accounts for21% of India's total population.'Thesenumbers will onlyincrease as the country'slargest everyoung population is projected to grow rapidly overat leastthe next 10 years. As the numberof married adolescentgirls and boyscontinues toincrease, the need to reach them withrelevant services becomesall the more compelling. Child brides have been andcontinue tobe anunderserved populationin the fight to end child marriage. Whilethe importance of preventing thepractice cannot be underestimated, in countries such as India where it is culturally engrained, efforts seeking to end it often require considerable time togain political traction and socialacceptance. It is therefore crucial to simultaneously address the uniqueneeds of child bridesto mitigate thenegative effectsof child marriage, and to improveyoung women's healthand well-being. (11) Priorities For Action: Cornerstonesfor addressingchild marriage