Game Changer: mobile software saves kid brides in Bangladesh

Game Changer: mobile software saves kid brides in Bangladesh

Nation has highest price of kid marriages in Asia but brand new campaign shops many years on electronic database for verification

Campaigners visit a household at a town in Kurigram region of Bangladesh to distribute understanding concerning the dangers tangled up in marrying their kids down at an age that is young. (Picture by Plan Global Bangladesh)

Posted Might 15, 2018

Whenever teenager Roxana Parveen overheard her moms and dads talking about her wedding leads one evening just last year the very first thing she considered had been exactly exactly how miserable her buddies had been that has both been hitched down because of the chronilogical age of 16.

“Both of these had been very unhappy they are suffering badly,” said the 15-year-old Muslim, a seventh grader in Kurigram district of northern Bangladesh about it as no one asked their opinion, and now.

As she paid attention to her moms and dads discuss possible suitors, Roxana begun to panic that her fate will be the identical to compared to her schoolmates: studies canceled, any notion of a vocation dashed, dreams aborted prematurely; or, if she had been specially unlucky, legitimately sanctioned rape within the marriage, domestic abuse and another or higher forced pregnancies.

“they’d to drop out of school now I do not have the possibility to invest any time they are busy taking care of their families,” she said with them as.

Roxana’s elder sis got hitched during the chronilogical age of 14 and had been a mom of two by 17.

“She additionally desired to learn she said like me, but sadly that’s not possible now.

Roxana shared one of her teachers to her anxieties in school, whom informed her that the law has defenses set up for son or daughter brides, aided by the forced weddings of underage kids a punishable criminal activity in Bangladesh.

The teacher chose to intervene by approaching her moms and dads.

“When they heard bout all of the dangers and negative effect this may have until i complete my studies,” she said on me, they told me they would forget about it and support me.

Roxana’s tale and people of her less lucky friends are normal in this impoverished South Asian country, where one in five girls are hitched down before their 15 th birthday – the rate that is highest in Asia.

Overall, 59 % of females wed ahead of the chronilogical age of 18, based on data supplied by Girls Not Brides (GNB), a consortium that is global of’s and development teams.

It has place the nation sixth within the child that is global index, in accordance with GNB.

The training of son or daughter wedding continues to be rampant in the united states regardless of the execution in February 2017 of this son or daughter Marriage discipline Bill (2017), an amended form of A uk colonial-era legislation that is designed to impose curbs on which numerous consider to be a tradition that is unhealthy.

What the law states considers males below 21 years old and girls under 18 as underage. Punishments for people who force kids to wed before they reach this age consist of jail sentences as much as 2 yrs and an optimum fine of 100,000 taka (US$1,200).

However the legislation has courted debate by permitting for exceptions, vaguely understood to be “special situations.” An example will be where in fact the wedding serves within the “best interest” for the female that is underage.

Normal catastrophes, poverty, too little understanding of domestic physical violence, and law that is lax additionally play a role in the higher level of youngster wedding in Bangladesh, mostly in remote rural areas like Kurigram.

a genuine game changer

The government has teamed up with children’s charity Plan International to develop a phone app called Game Changer that allows matchmakers, Imams and officers who register marriages to verify the ages of the of the bride and groom via a digital database to clamp down on the practice.

That is being done into the hope that more young women can secure work, follow their dream and donate to the economy in the place of being destined for a lifetime of and servitude and drudgery from an age that is early pundits state.

The software happens to be operating pilots tests in Kurigram region, which includes a extremely higher rate of kid marriages, relating to Soumya Guha, deputy nation manager at Arrange Overseas Bangladesh.

“Two in three girls listed below are married before 18 and also the price is certainly not slowing despite a multitude of efforts,” Soumya told

“About 100,000 folks have currently utilized the software, which includes aided us to identify and give a wide berth to about 3,500 instances of illegal youngster marriage,” he stated.

“as we maintain the battle. therefore we aspire to tilt the total amount slowly as time passes”

Shamsur Alam, an Imam and matchmaker in Kurigram, welcomed the introduction of the brand new application.

“I been deploying it for months and I also been able to stop the weddings of at the least four underage girls who have been proposed to,” Alam told

“we made their moms and dads recognize that this could be harmful for their daughters in addition they backed faraway from their decision,” he stated.

“Now individuals are slowly becoming conscious of the potential risks, therefore more parents are coming to see Imams first to register and obtain the appropriate approval once your ex’s age happens to be confirmed,” he included.

“It really is helpful rather than difficult to utilize. It also includes tutorials that assistance you realize how it functions. All you have to do is make sure to dial a certain number *16100#a number that is certain and it surely will walk you through most of the actions.”

The database shops an identification that is unique connected to three papers which can be all necessary for a wedding become lawfully authorized. An individual merely kinds within the woman’s ID quantity and if she actually is of appropriate age, a “proceed” message arises; if you don’t, they’ll view a red “warning!” flash up.

Magfurul Hasan, a senior federal government official in Kurigram district, shared similar sentiments.

“there is the application works perfectly in underprivileged communities and ideally 1 day it’ll play a much larger and much more role that is vital assisting to stop illegal kid marriages,” Hasan told

“we keep in mind using it to annul one wedding where in fact the bride’s wedding certification ended up being discovered to own been falsified. We arrested her parents and delivered them to prison,” he included.

Arrange Overseas stated it aims to have the application available nationwide within a year.

Ladies activists skeptical

“This software is an extremely good clear idea but I have doubts about whether it really can avoid youngster marriages,” Rita Roselin Costa, convener for the ladies’s Desk during the Catholic Bishops’ meeting of Bangladesh, told

“In Bangladesh, marriages are typically fixed by parents and matchmakers, therefore she said unless they change their hearts about having their daughters married off early, this practice will continue.

She stated some moms and dads feel they usually have no option but to marry their daughters off early because of their serious circumstances that are financial but included that it was no reason as it sets girls prone to domestic punishment.

Some have actually died due to the violence that is physical away by their partners, she included.

“Child wedding isn’t just a sin but additionally a criminal activity like murder because it deprives girls of the youth and basic individual rights, like the straight to education,” Costa stated.

“Yet decisive link society nevertheless considers girls become a weight and discriminates against them,” she included.

“Unless we make a move to improve this you will have many more youngster brides plus the specter for this scourge continues to haunt the life of numerous girls.”

Support Los Angeles Croix Overseas’s unique mixture of worldwide Catholic journalism by simply making it open to individuals in Asia and Africa whom can’t manage a membership and sometimes do not have bank cards to either pay for it.

Write a comment