Women SHG members and School students in Rayagada took Mass Pledge to Combat Child Marriage in the District

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Rayagada:  A Mass pledge campaign throughout the district in one day has been undertaken by District Administration, Rayagada through District Child Protection Unit. On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, 2 Lakh 25 Women SHG members formed by Mission Shakti and Odisha Livelihood Mission, 1Lakh 50 Thousand students from 2120 Schools took mass pledge saying No to Child Marriage.
The members of WSHGs took pledge in their respective villages, GP Headquarter village SHGs participated at GPs, Block Headquarter village SHGs participated at Blocks and Rayagada Municipality SHG members participated at District Headquarter while school students took part in their respective schools.
As per the NFHS-4 survey data Rayagada district stands on 4th position in terms of Female Child Marriage and 1st Position in case of Male child Marriage in the State. Child marriage leads to Infant Mortality, Maternal Mortality, Malnutrition and Economic backwardness. To address the child marriage issues in district the State government, Rayagada District Administration, Action Aid and UNICEF jointly focused on different aspects like every children will be in the school and quality learning, health, malnutrition, child protection mechanisms and skill development mechanisms and a District Work Plan made for the District on 20th August 2019 with consultation by all line departments.
A District Task force formed under the Chairmanship of Collector and District Magistrate, Rayagada Sri Pramod Ku Behera to monitor the work plans. As a part of the District Work Plan District Administration organised Mass Pledging through Human Chain by involving all WSHG members and Mass Pledging by school students at their own schools to create mass awareness among the community. Through this human chain and mass pledging it is focused not to organise any marriage ceremony while the girl is below 18 years and boy is below 21 years of age. When a marriage is going to be happened they should convince the parents not to organise the marriage ceremony and they should inform Childline, Police, Angan Wadi Worker, ICDS Supervisors and CDPOs-cum- Child Marriage Prohibition Officers and District Child Protection Officer.
The Human Chain and Mass Pledging was done under the leadership of the Collector Sri Pramod Ku Behera while PD, DRDA, Rayagada Sri Amrit Ruturaj appealed for involvement of everyone to spread the message to declare Rayagada a Child Marriage Free district. Among of others Superintendent of Police Dr. Sharvan Vivek M, Addl. District Magistrate, Sri Sudhakar Sabaro, Sub Collector, Gunupur, Sri B. S. Baliram, Sub Collector, Rayagada, Sri Pratap Chandra Pradhan, DSWO Smt. Waheeda Begum, DSSO Sri Adipati Kanhar, DWO, Sri Nanda Lal Biswal, District Education Officer Sri Purna Chandra Bariha, DPC, SS Smt. Anastasia Kerketa, District Sports Officer Sri Shek Alinur, DIPRO Sri Basant Kumar Pradhan, Addl PD (Finance) Sri Rashmikant Pradhan, Addl PD (RH) Sri Prabhat Lenka, DCPO, Sri Ramesh Ch Nayak, DPC Mission Shakti, Sri Niranjan Mallick, DPM, OLM, Sri Hemant Ku Bag, Action Aid District Consultant, Child Marriage Prohibition Sri Ratneswar Sahu, UNICEF District Consultant Sri Prakash Ch Barik joined in this process while Sri Ramesh Ch Nayak, District Child Protection Officer, Rayagada organised and coordinated the program.
At the Block level Block Development Officers, Block Education Officers, Child Development Project Officers, Block Project Managers, OLM, Block Project Coordinators, Mission Shakti, Welfare Extension Officers, ICDS Supervisors, CRCCs and PRI members took the responsibilities to spread the message to community.

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