Speakers at a discussion Saturday opined that although child marriage rate is reducing, more coordinated efforts are required from all level stakeholders in remote areas to bring it down further.
They noted that district action plans to prevent child and early forced marriage can go a long way to make Bangladesh a child marriage free country within 2041.
The discussant spoke at a round table titled "Child Marriage Free Kurigram, A Journey Towards A Dream" held at the conference room of Kurigram Deputy Commissioner in Kurigram, reads a press release.
The round table was organised by the international development organisation Plan International Bangladesh and its local partner RDRS Bangladesh under the project "Building Better Future for Girls (BBFG)" with the support of the Sweden Embassy in Bangladesh.
Addressing the discussion as the Chief Guest, Kurigram Deputy Commissioner Md Rezaul Karim said, "Kurigram's District Action Plan implementation is an example for other districts of the country to reduce the curse of Child Marriage. To bring the child marriage rate to zero, we all are working together, and are committed to continuing the effort in future."
BBFG Project Manager Md Nazrul Islam presented the keynote article and said, "In 2017, the child marriage rate of Kurigram was 65%. In a mid-time assessment in 2019, the rate was found to be decreased to 46.8%."
"We have developed a tool to collect child marriage related information on a monthly basis. From this, we can see that in 2021, the average child marriage incidents per month of the district is 31 against the same of 94 in 2019," he added.
Kurigram Additional Superintendent of Police Utpal Ray said marrying girls off without any registration is a common scenario at the root level.
Police are actively working to prevent child marriage cases, he added.
Local Government Department Deputy Director Zilufa Sultana said, "Marrying girls off at an early age creates awful risks into a girl's life. We need to change our mindsets and work towards solving the challenges. Identifying girls at risk of child marriage can be a great initiative. A solid database supports everyone in preventing child marriage to a great extent."
BBFG project is working in nine upazilas, three municipalities and 73 union parishads of Kurigram. The project aimed to contribute to Kurigram district's target of zero marriages of girls under 15, and a one-third reduction in marriages of girls under 18 by 2021.