This project aims to reduce child, early and forced marriage in the Bhola and Jhalokati districts of Bangladesh. It also aims to reduce the vulnerability and poverty of adolescents in these two districts with a focus on reducing the proportion of girls under 18 years of age that are married. Bangladesh has one of the highest child marriage rates in the world. Approximately 52% of girls in Bangladesh are married by their 18th birthday, and 18% by the age of 15. Bhola and Jhalokati districts are among the poorest districts in Bangladesh and have the highest rates of child marriage in the country. Project activities include: (1) raising awareness and engaging adolescents, especially girls, in life skills education such as financial literacy and vocational abilities; (2) mobilizing community stakeholders by encouraging open, inclusive and informed discussions on the harmful impact of child marriage; and (3) strengthening existing child protection mechanisms.
The expected outcomes for this project include : (1) increased agency of adolescent girls and boys to protect themselves from harmful gender norms and practices, including child, early and forced marriage, and exercise choice in economic opportunities and decisions about their futures; (2) improved community acceptance of norms that value girls and actions that support delayed marriage; and (3) increased responsiveness of duty-bearers (such as matchmakers and marriage registrars) at national and sub-national levels to prevent and respond to child rights violations.