Bangladesh government with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a new campaign titled ‘Actions to Prevent Child Marriage in Bangladesh’ on Thursday.
Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Md Sayedul Islam inaugurated the campaign, which is designed to encourage families to condemn the harmful practice of child marriage and support every girl in achieving their aspirations.
It said Bangladesh has made notable progress in curbing child marriage, where studies show that the proportion of girls who married before age 16 declined from 46 percent to 32 percent between 2007 and 2017 While the proportion of those who married before age 18 (the legal age of marriage) fell from 66 percent to 59 percent.
However, Bangladesh is witnessing a sharp rise in child marriages during the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by multiple factors including reduced income, especially in lower-income families, and school closures, reads the US Embassy release.
USAID’s Ujjiban Social Behavior Change Communication project, implemented by Johns Hopkins University, is leading the public awareness campaign, highlighting the health risks of early pregnancy and the high returns of investing in girls’ education.
Xerses Sidhwa, Director of the Office of Population, Health, Nutrition, and Education of the USAID, and Amir Hossain, Director of Information, Education, Motivation unit of the Directorate General of Family Planning, among others, attended the inaugural ceremony of the campaign.