“I was always under pressure to get married,” says Priyanka Kumari Harijan from Rupandehi. “However, after interacting with CARE Nepal’s program, I had the ability to speak up for myself. I could finally tell my family that I did not want to get married, but wanted to pursue my education. Today I am seventeen years old and hold an Intermediate Degree,” she proudly shares in front of a national-level audience at the launch of CARE Nepal’s Tipping Point (Aba Mero Palo) Project’s research report “The Cultural Context of Child Marriage in Nepal and Bangladesh: Findings from CARE’s Tipping Point Project, Community Participatory Analysis”. This research is part of a multi-country project CARE is implementing in Nepal and Bangladesh called Tipping Point (Aba Mero Palo), which aims to identify the root causes of child marriage and works to engage adolescents, parents, community leaders and other stakeholders to promote gender equitable norms and opportunities for girls. In Nepal, CARE Nepal, along with partner organizations Siddhartha Samudayik Samaj (SSS) in Rupandehi and Dalit Social Development Center (DSDC) in Kapilvastu, conducted the research study to deepen understanding of the contextual factors and drivers of child marriage in areas with high prevalence of the practice in the Terai region.
The report was launched in Nepal on 4 July in Kathmandu where Honorable Chandra Prakash Mainali, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare was present as the Chief Guest and was chaired by Ms Harijan. During the event, Minister Mainali acknowledged CARE’s effort to help adolescent girls and boys realize and achieve their dreams and stressed on the government’s commitment for ending child marriage. He remarked, “I urge all the political parties, government entities, development organizations and other social entities to work towards supporting the nation’s agenda to eradicate child marriage by 2030”.
The event saw other dignitaries such as Dr. Karuna Onta, the Social Development Adviser at DFID and Bandana Rana, a UN CEDAW Committee Expert present. As the discussant for the event, Dr. Onta reflected that the research strength lies in its participatory approach, which is one of its main novelties. Ms. Bandana Rana, UN CEDAW Committee expert highlighted the fact that through this campaign the nation will be able to observe significant changes in the major indicators of child marriage. She further added, “I am optimistic that this report will complement my efforts in helping eradicate child marriage through my work”.
The event concluded with a panel discussion, which comprised of representatives from partner organizations who had firsthand experience of conducting the research.