Amal Foundation, a local NGO which mainly focuses on poverty alleviation in remote locations, has partnered with IPDC, a non-bank financial institution, to tackle child marriage which has been a pressing issue during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both partners collaborated to develop a unique project to prevent child marriage: the IPDC Child Marriage Prevention Loan, powered by Amal Foundation, launched as a pilot project in the Bogura district in March 2022, said a press release.
The Child Marriage Prevention Loan (CMPL) is a conditional zero-interest microfinance loan that helps poor parents to start sustainable businesses if they meet the following three criteria.
The loan applicants must be parents of 12- to 18-year-old girl children. Secondly, the girls cannot be married before the legal age. Lastly, they must be educated until the end of high school.
IPDC and Amal acquire, validate, and authorise loan applications based on these criteria. Then, parents commit to marrying their daughters off only after they are of legal age and have completed high school, added the press release.
The loan is subsequently presented to the parents in front of their local communities by officials from IPDC and Amal Foundation. Amal Foundation aids the parents in establishing sustainable businesses after the loan is issued. They also give business management training.
These parents have a 30-day grace period. Then, Amal Foundation collects weekly loan instalments on behalf of IPDC and surveys the girls' schooling and the business. These payments are then used to fund more loans for other interested parents.
IPDC and Amal Foundation hope to reduce discrimination through the CMPL by providing sustainable income sources to impoverished families in rural Bangladesh. This, in turn, will help transform these girls from being burdens into assets and help alleviate poverty.