In this article, Dena Kimball, Executive Director of the Kendeda Fund, writes about how we must address the control of adolescent girls’ sexuality if we want to see an end to child marriage.
Yesterday, Tipping Point Project of CARE Bangladesh organised an exhibition titled ‘What Real Change Looks Like’, a photographic experience, created by women of Photo-Voice at Six Seasons Hotel in Gulshan. The project works with young people and communities to change social norms and practices that perpetuate child marriage. To understand how their work has contributed to changes in the lives of many women, Tipping Point used ‘Photo-Voice’ as an evaluation tool. Young women, who had never used cameras before, shared their stories and perspectives through photography. The images captured for the programme are stunning glimpses into the lives of women and girls in Bangladesh, where child marriage is a daily reality.
This rePROs Fight Back podcast episode features Nidal Karim, Project Director of Tipping Point and Gayatri Patel, Senior Policy Advocate with CARE USA and Co-Chair of GNB USA. Every year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, according to data from the UN. That breaks down to 23 girls getting married every minute. Child marriage is a violation of girls’ human rights and can have severe, lifelong physical, mental, emotional and financial consequences. It leaves young girls particularly vulnerable to rape, maternal and child mortality, and gender based violence. It also often forces girls to put aside their education, potential, and empowerment for a limited future. There is no silver bullet to end child marriage, but there are critical characteristics on how to approach the issue. Putting the girls at the center of the approach, involving parents and communities, and engaging men and boys in the conversation are vital approaches when talking about child marriage and its consequences.
BBC: The health risks of maturing early
The BBC published a commentary about the health risks of maturing early, which can subject girls to a greater threat of sexual harassment and violence and lead to elevated rates of depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and anti-social behaviors in adulthood. The piece quotes Nidal Karim, project director for CARE’s Tipping Point, which combats child marriage: “This fear amidst parents and communities creates an environment where as girls get older, their worlds get smaller, with more and more restrictions placed on their mobility. Girls’ sexuality is the concern of others, but girls themselves are seldom given any information about their own bodies, puberty, sex and reproduction in order to prepare and protect themselves.”
In Bangladesh and Nepal, two countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world, CARE’s “Tipping point” project is an exercise in creating a society where girls are equally valued and child marriage no longer exists.
Here is how they are going about it.
REPUBLICA: DEPRIVED OF A CHILDHOOD by Ayushma Basnyat
UPWORTHY: IN NEPAL, ONE FORMER CHILD GROOM SPEAKS OUT by Morgan Shoaff
LA TIMES: NEPAL’S CHILD GROOMS SUFFER IN PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL WAYS by Shashank Bengali
GLAMOUR: THE CHILD BRIDE CRISIS by Tanya Edwards
THE KATHMANDU POST: NIP NOT THE BUDS by Avinashi Paudel