Odisha: Children in Berhampur loud “Stop Early Girl Child Marriage”

Berhampur: Berhampur City Level Children’s Federation spread the message to STOP early girl child marriage. Child leaders in 4 slums in Berhampur city started creating awareness among their parent’s n slums begun today. Early girl child marriage has been rampant in Ganjam district in Odisha, according to National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, 2015-16, women married before 18 years are 29.8% which is more than the state (Odisha) percentage i.e. 21.3%. On the other hand the NFHS-4 data shows that there are 10.6% women aged 15-19 years were pregnant during the survey in Ganjam district.
Early child marriage has so many negative consequences which results in early pregnancy and leads high Maternal Mortality Rate, during 2015-16 in Ganjam district 72 deaths occurred among them 17 mothers are below 18 years of age. Child brides become isolated and their freedom in the family and society curtailed. They always feel deprived to their right to education, health and safety i.e. domestic violence. This ultimately increased the poverty situation of a family.
Gender inequality among the major reasons for the early marriage of girls in the district. The child sex ratio has gone down to 801 (females per 1000 males) which is far less than state (Odisha) situation i.e. 933 (in 1000 male) as per the NFHS-4. Poverty remains another factor which leads to such kind of situation and lack of education and awareness are among other causes.
The District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) is the major stakeholder including the Child Development Project Officer (DCPO), Police, Anganwadi Workers and Child Welfare Committee has been responsible to stop early child marriage in the district with a coordinated efforts. The district child protection unit (DCPU) has rescued 10 early child marriage cases in Ganjam, since January 2017 (Aska-6, Rangeilunda-1, Seragad-2, and Khallikote-1). Child Line has also been assigned with a helpline i.e. 1098 to report and create awareness in the district.
Berhampur Children’s Federation has planned and begun a campaign to spread the message to spot early child marriage in a phased manner by involving parents, community leaders and government officials responsible for end child marriage. Today child leaders in four slums in Berhampur Khodasingi Bauri street, Lanjipali Goudabandha street.
Youth for Social Development (YSD) working on issues of governance, child and youth development and climate justice since, 2007 in Odisha, has been catalyzing to address the issues of child rights and development in Odisha specifically in the most vulnerable districts.