The prevalence of child marriage can be reduced by working with communities to implement holistic programmes and building skills among girls by providing various IT-related training and joining scouting alongside institution education, according to a study.
The study finds that during running the project, child marriage curtailed by 30 % in comparison to normal times. Empowerment of girls will help delay their marriage.
Sajeda Amin, Senior Associate, population Council, New York, revealed the study findings at a seminar held at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) conference room in the city's Agargaon area on Wednesday.
In the study titled "Bangladeshi Association For Lifeskill Income and Knowledge For Adolescents (Balika)," conducted in Narail, Satkhira and Khulna between 2013-15, around 11,609 girls aged between 12 and 19 years were given various trainings, gender rights awareness and others.
Sajeda Amin said, "Child marriage is the key problem for girls in Bangladesh, leading to lifelong negative consequences. During the study, we found reduction of child marriage among those girls who received various kind of trainings alongside the institutional education."
She said the study used a randomised controlled trial design with some arms— offering educational support, promoting gender rights awareness and offering livelihood training among girls.
"We provided them training with measuring blood pressure, mobile servicing, playing outdoor sports and involving social activities etc. After completion of the two-year project, the attitude of 37% people in the area has changed about child marriage," Sajeda Amin said.
BIDS Director General Binayak Sen presided over the seminar titled "Skills that Empower Adolescent Girls: Some Evidence from an Intervention Research Study."
According to the study findings, girls aged 12–19 years have to be under proper monitoring with supervision of a skilful mentor.
The ways to build lifeskill that help curb child marriage -- access to school, adolescent center or NGO, library, playground, friend's house, market, or bank; Access to a non-family member for advice or a network of friends; Affiliation with a community group; Active participation in sports; Engagement in outdoor play; Ability to socialise with people from other religions; access to information and basic computer skills, the findings add.
Binayak Sen said 60% girls are being married before the age of 18 while 30% girls are being married before the age of 15.
"We all have to work unitedly to curb the early marriage of girls," he opined.