The Government of Bangladesh and USAID’s Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to Development Opportunities (SHOUHARDO III)activity , organized a national webinar on child marriage prevention on Thursday, December 10, 2020. The activity is implemented by CARE Bangladesh
The major objective of this event was to discuss and disseminate findings and recommendations from a recent study conducted by SHOUHARDO III with an emphasis on grassroots approaches to prevent child marriage. As part of the study, eight webinars were conducted at the district level followed by two at the regional level. Consultations were done with adolescent girls who could stop their marriage along with child brides. Further discussions with their parents, community group members, national and international NGO representatives, media personnel, civil society actors, law enforcement agencies, and government officials from many departments also took place.
Ms. Fazilatunnesa Indira MP, the Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs graced as the Chief Guest. Ms. Indira shared that the Bangladesh Government has taken several measures to reduce the prevalence of child marriage. She emphasized the importance of girls’ empowerment and the prevention of child marriage. She also added, “Bangladesh has come a long way in reducing the prevalence of child marriage through the decades. However, with multiple reasons including cultural and behavioral ones that are deep-seated in the society, there still is work that needs to be done. COVID-19 exacerbated it even more with the closure of schools and millions of migrant workers who are back home, with whom the parents will want to marry off their daughters. Despite these circumstances, the commitment from the government towards reducing child marriage will always be there, and seeks the cooperation of stakeholders.” She also applauded this timely initiative from USAID and CARE.
Mr. Ramesh Singh, Country Director, CARE/Bangladesh welcomed the participants to the webinar and expressed CARE’s commitment to end violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. Ms. Ellen de Guzman, Director, Food, Disaster, and Humanitarian Assistance, USAID Bangladesh further reiterated that child marriage should be stopped and young women provide the opportunities to attend be educated and grow up before marrying. She further mentioned, “The United States government believes it is important to support these types of initiatives through our development initiatives. Since the 1970s, the United States Government has provided more than eight (8) billion dollars to support development initiatives in Bangladesh, including gender-related issues, and we plan to continue supporting such work. It is critical to ensure equal rights for men and women to advance Bangladesh's journey to self-reliance.”
Ms. Sheepa Hafiza, Equality & Rights Activist and a Social Analyst, presented the keynote paper. Dr. Fauzia Moslem (Acting President, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad), Ms. Rasheda K Choudhury (Executive Director, CAMPE, and Former Advisor to Caretaker Government), and Dr. Nazmunnesa Mahtab (Professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Dhaka) shared their experiences and valuable opinions in a panel discussion.
The major recommendations included ensuring online birth registration and initiating the digital marriage registration process to prevent child marriage in Bangladesh.
The U.S. government, through USAID, has provided more than $8 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since its independence. In 2019, USAID alone provided over $200 million to improve people's lives in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change. And, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Bangladesh, the U.S. government, through multiple U.S. agencies, has provided over $68.7 million of assistance to support local response efforts.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 100 countries and reached more than 50 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org and www.care-international.org.
For more information:
Hillol Sobhan; Head of Communications, CARE Bangladesh and Asia Communications Lead for COVID-19, Cell: +8801711854099, Email: Hillol.firstname.lastname@example.org, Skype: Hillol Sobhan