Combating Against Child Marriage in Karnali Province – Aawaaj

Combating Against Child Marriage in Karnali Province

Aawaaj-Breaking the Silence

Combating Against Child Marriage in Karnali Province

The “Combating Against Child Marriage in Karnali Province” was started from April 2022 in Karnali Province which main aim is to make responsible and accountable to the Karnali’s provincial government and 30 local governments through strong advocacy and lobbying by empowerment CSO alliances for the prevention and control of child marriage.

Aawaaj is closely working with “Campaign against Child Marriage Alliance”, which is forum of organizations who are working on child marriage, child protection, GBV and human rights

This campaign is working in 10 districts of Karnali where we conducted joint meetings with municipality; do follow up with 30 local governments’ action against ECM, Meetings with district level political party’s key members, consultation meetings with selective local governments in annual review process. Similarly, interaction programs with district level existing groups, interaction meetings with province level stakeholders, meetings with ministry of social development, social development committee and province planning commission.
Total 105 organizations are member organization of campaign against child marriage alliance. Aawaaj has been coordinating with government’s authorities, media and public/private companies and related CBOs, INGOs for collective voice and took action against child marriage.

Along with advocacy campaign program in 10 districts, capacity building training on advocacy, press released, delegation to chief minister, minister of social development and Political parties leaders has been continued. So far 39 survivors were rescued, counseling support, emergency support and legal process aid was given.

Ministry of Social Development of Karnali Province has been closely collaborating to CACMA alliance to finalize provincial strategy against ECM publish IEC materials poster, leaflet, video on child marriage and broadcasting PSA on child marriage, conduct days’ celebration and developed strategic plan of municipalities and Karnali province to eradicate ECM. Likewise we have published 3000 alliance brochures, 6000 leaflet, 10000 posters and 200 research book publications.

Municipalities are showing positive response and do collaboration to prepare municipalities’ strategic plan to end ECM. Some of the municipalities have also allocated budget to address ECM. For the first time Karnali province governments mentioned child marriage issues in fiscal year 2022/23 plan red book.

Preventing and Responding Early Child Marriage and early unions

Likewise since June 2021, Aawaaj has been implementing the Preventing and Responding Early Child Marriage Project at Birendra Nagar Municipality ward -2, Surkhet, with support of Girls First Fund. The project envisions a society in which every girl has access to the information, services, resources, skills, and support necessary to decide when, if, and whom to marry so that she can live a healthy and equal life and have a brighter future.

The project area consists of 38 colonies, each with 100 to 150 households. Among them, 20 colonies are vulnerable as they are inhabited by Dalit, migrant, and ethnic communities. These communities face multiple challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, social exclusion, and harmful cultural practices that increase the risk of early child marriage. Early child marriage has negative consequences for girls’ health, education, rights, and opportunities. It also has other consequences such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and internal trafficking.

The project aim is to bring about a significant change in the individual, family, community, and institutional behaviors and practices that will address and prevent early child marriage. The project empowers girls and boys to form groups at school and in the community, where they can learn about their rights, needs, and responsibilities, and take leadership roles to end child marriage. The project also engages parents, police, and local ward, municipality, and women groups as supporters and allies to strengthen the existing structures, systems, and activities to reduce the vulnerability of child marriage. The project also provides direct support to the survivors and families of early child marriage through counseling, legal aid, and income generation activities.

Aawaaj-Breaking the Silence

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the capacities of young girls to end child marriage through educational, social, and economic empowerment to vulnerable girls and their families, peers, and survivors. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  • To enhance the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of key stakeholders and target groups (girls, boys, mothers, and survivors) regarding the prevention, rescue, reporting, and social reintegration of married children/girls in the targeted area.
  • To create accountable and responsible local government and institutions for respecting and protecting the rights of girls and boys, especially those who are at risk or affected by early child marriage.

The project is covering and providing support to 150 girls in 6 girls groups, 100 boys in 4 boys groups, 250 mothers in 6 groups, 60 survivors in 3 survivor groups. With the coordination and collaboration with Schools, Ward Child Protection Committee, SMC/PTA, Religious leader, and other Local institutions project implementing different activities in the project area for the strengthening leadership capacity of girls and community for eradicating early child marriage, GBV and protection of human rights. The major activities are;

  • Education materials support to vulnerable girls and boys
  • Leadership building to girls, boys and survivors so that they can raise their voices that affect in their life at school, family and at local government level.
  • Life skills, awareness on SRHR- sex education, forms of violence, early child marriage cause and consequences, impact on health awareness and reporting mechanism.
  • Legal, psycho social counseling and medical support to vulnerable girls
  • Emergency Support, Safe house, Rescue and Reintegration support to vulnerable girls.

Like wise we are addressing early Child Marriage in 10 municipalities of Surkhet, Dailekh, Jumla, Jajarkot, and dolpa districts of Karnali province through 60s Rupantaran classes with support of UNICEF since Sep 2023

The main objective of proposed program are;

  1. Empower vulnerable adolescent girls, including those in humanitarian settings, by increasing their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and capacities to make informed decisions about their rights, relationships, sexual and reproductive health, and financial literacy.
  2. To encourage gender-equitable attitudes and support for the rights of adolescent girls among adolescent boys, men, mothers and fathers, extended families, traditional and religious leaders, community groups, and other influencers, thereby contributing to broader social norm change.
  3. To improve access to health, gender-based violence (GBV), economic empowerment, and social protection programs and services for vulnerable families and adolescent girls, allowing them to have more life options and alternatives to child marriage, including in humanitarian contexts.

The expected change by project intervention are;

  1. Vulnerability mapping tool developed and implemented in targeted areas.
  2. At least 80% of girls identified through vulnerability assessment enrolled and actively participating in Rupantaran sessions/groups.
  3. At least 5% of enrolled girls trained on Upshift or any other human center design training on social entrepreneurship.
  4. At least 80% of parents (with a focus on fathers) attend Rupantaran parent’s sessions.
  5. Intergenerational dialogues conducted in each district using a standard package, with at least 50 participants including adolescent girls, boys, parents, and community leaders.
  6. One orientation session conducted with religious leaders (using UNICEF package) and influential leaders in focused municipalities to challenge social norms around child marriage and gender-based inequalities.
  7. Referral pathway for public and private services in close collaboration with local governments – education, GBV, SRH, livelihood support – developed and operationalized.
  8. Case management system developed for girls identified through vulnerability assessment, including regular follow-up and monitoring of progress and referrals.
  9. MOU signed with local government for linking vulnerable girls and families to economic empowerment initiatives.
  10. Commitment from local governments to allocate/commit resources for girl’s empowerment, ending child marriage initiatives, and mainstreaming Rupantaran into the annual work plan and budget of local governments obtained.
  11. Alternative program approach/plan for contextualization in the humanitarian situation developed and implemented.
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