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YPSA is an organization with Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)

Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh

Duration: 1st January 2021 to 31st October 2022 (22 months)

Supported by: Plan International Bangladesh

Project Summary

Bangladesh has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world. According to a UNICEF study, 29% of girls in Bangladesh married before age 15, 2% of girls in Bangladesh are married before age 11 and 66% of girls are married before the age of 18. However, child marriage has been illegal in Bangladesh and the minimum age of marriage has been set at 18 for women and 21 for men. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, the socio-economic context has changed. The low-income population are experiencing reduced income and opportunities for livelihood to support their families. There is survey evidence implying increased violence against women and children especially girls during COVID 19. Incidences of gender-based violence became more frequent and children also became more exposed to abuse at home and many parents forced to have early marriage of their daughters for reducing their economic burden and security. Besides, the community and family also restrict adolescents especially girls for seeking jobs due to fear of social stigma and deep-rooted gender norms, roles and responsibilities and harmful social practices.

At the institutional level, it is also found that there is little political will to bring charges or prosecute perpetrators involved in early marriage and gender-based violence. In some cases, the ages of girls are falsely increased at TT immunizations to make them eligible for marriage. The scenario in Chattogram division is same as above. In this context, it is urgent needs to take initiative to combat early marriage and reduce the vulnerability of adolescents, particularly girls through improving community norms that will support girls and boys to delay marriage, increasing agency of adolescents, especially girls, to protect themselves from harmful gender norms and practices, including CEFM, and to access economic empowerment opportunities and increasing responsiveness of duty bearers at national, District, and sub-District levels to prevent and respond to child rights violations, particularly CEFM, among vulnerable girls.

So YPSA will contribute to combat the early marriage through implementing the national scale-up component of project “Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh” in Chattogram Division as a partner of Plan International to achieve the outcome of increasing responsiveness of duty bearers at national, District, and sub-District levels to prevent and respond to child rights violations, particularly CEFM, among vulnerable girls.

Project Goal & Outcome:

Goal: To combat early marriage and reduce the vulnerability of adolescents, particularly girls in Chattogram Division.

Intermediate outcome: To achieve its ultimate objective of Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh, YPSA will contribute to implement the following intermediate outcome out of three intermediate outcomes:

  1. Increased responsiveness of duty bearers at national, District, and sub-District levels to prevent and respond to child rights violations, particularly CEFM, among vulnerable girls

 Working area

YPSA is implementing the project in the following 11 districts under Chittagong Division:

  1. Chittagong district
  2. Comilla districts
  3. Cox’s Bazar district
  4. Feni district
  5. Noakhali district
  6. Laksmipur district
  7. Brahman Baria district
  8. Chandpur district
  9. Bandarban district
  10. Khagrachari district
  11. Rangamati district

Stakeholders

YPSA will closely work with the office of the Divisional Commissioner and district administrations in 11 districts of Chattogram Division like Divisional Commissioner, Deputy commissioners; District Children Welfare Board; District Social Welfare, district Women Affairs Offices; District Secondary Education Officers; District Disaster Management Committee; Law Enforcement Agencies and Public Prosecutors. During the project period, YPSA will reach a total of 220 CMPC members where 66 will be female and 154 will be male. Besides YPSA will consult and work with adolescent girls and boys as rights holders to better understand the issues they face regarding CEFM and ASRHR.

 

Key Milestones for Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh

 

Through implementing the project of “Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh”, YPSA will achieve the following key milestones during the project period in 11 districts of Chattogram Division

  1. 6 fulltime and two part time staffs recruited and trained on CEMB project activities and safeguarding policies
  2. A national resource pool comprised of district-level government officials and senior-level partner staff formed and trained on ToT
  3. Stakeholders at Divisional and district level are well informed and oriented on the background and objective of the training programs for CMPC.
  4. A letter issued from Divisional Commissioner for conducting district level orientation workshops for CMPC.
  5.  11 CMPCs formed/reformed and functional in 11 districts of Chattogram division
  6. 11 CMPC members at 11 districts trained on CMRA 2017, GE, child rights and protection, and their responsibilities as per relevant laws and policies and its replication
  7. 220 District CMPC members trained on CMRA 2017, GE, child rights and protection, and their responsibilities as per relevant laws and policies (66 F, 154 M)
  8. District level NPA implementation plans developed by CMPC to combat CEFM
  9. Agenda on CMPC update included in the monthly meeting at District level and discussed the progress
  10. CMPC meetings supported with technical assistance to review progress on their implementation.
  11. NPA implementation plans in 11 Districts strengthened
  12. Two semiannual meeting and one annual review meeting on the progress of district action plans to combat CEFM held where technical assistance provided.

Project activities

Activities:

Under the project YPSA will implement following activities under the relevant outcome of the project in 11 districts of Chattogram Division.

 

Output 1311; Project best practices and results documented and shared among communities, service providers, planners/decision-makers, and other Civil Society Organizations

 

Activity 1311.4: Organize National Results and Lessons Learned sharing workshop with Government and other relevant actors on district model approach: Plan International will lead the activity and YPSA will support to disseminate the finding of mid-line evaluation at divisional level

 

Output 1312: Gender focused research on key issues related to CEFM conducted and disseminated

 

Activity 1312.1: Conduct consultations with MOWCA at regional and national level for determination of topics relevant for research: Plan International will lead the activity and YPSA will support to holding consultation meeting with MoWCA to map what type to research will be helpful and useful

Activity1312.2: Conduct consultations with adolescents and partners on potential research topics: Plan International will lead the activity and YPSA will support to holding consultation meeting with adolescent and partners to brainstorm and generate potential topics

Activity 1312.4: Conduct research: Plan International will lead the activity and YPSA will support for data collection and validation for the research

Activity 1312.5: Hold sessions with project stakeholders (adolescent girls, boys, community and family stakeholders, partners, government) to validate research findings: YPSA will support to hold session with the project beneficiaries and stakeholders (adolescent girls, boys, community and family stakeholders, partners, government) to review and validate the research findings

Activity 1312.7: Conduct regional (divisional) workshops to showcase results: Plan will organize regional sharing events with project stakeholders and beneficiaries to showcase the research and implementation results and YPSA will support to conduct the workshop in Chattogram Division.

Activity 1312.8: Conduct national conference/workshop to showcase research results (at end, plus District Model project results could be presented jointly if makes sense to showcase research and project in one event): Plan International will organize the conference at national level and YPSA will support to showcase the research result.

 

Output 1322: Members of District level CMPCs in other Divisions oriented on CMRA 2017, GE, child rights and protection, roles and responsibilities as per relevant laws and policies and its replication

 

Activity 1322.1 Conduct on boarding and foundational training sessions of Divisional partners and national level workshop with stakeholders: After signing the agreement between Plan International and YPSA, YPSA will recruit all the staffs. YPSA project staffs will attend a three-day residential foundational training conducted by Plan International for getting idea on the CEMB project objectives, outcomes, outputs, GE and Safeguarding policies. Besides, YPSA will participate a national level start-up workshop for ensuring support from different stakeholders.

Activity 1322.2: Hold ToT sessions for National Resource pool on CMRA 2017, GE, child rights and protection, roles and responsibilities training package: The project will develop a national resource pool comprised of district-level government officials and senior-level partner staff. YPSA will support to make the list of resource pool and also support to organize four-day residential ToT programme for the resource pool.

Activity 1322.4: Conduct orientation workshop with district CMPC committee representatives on CMRA 2017, GE, CP, and roles and responsibilities (divisional level): YPSA will organize a two day long divisional level orientation workshops in Chattogram division for 30 participants. The list of participants will be finalized by divisional level government officials and district CMPC representatives. Orientation will take place based on the government order issued by MoWCA. The training module will be shared with participants from district level CMPC orientation. Through this workshop, an orientation plan will be developed for the district level resource pool to cascade the district level orientation with district CMPCs.

Activity 1322.5: Hold meetings with District administrations to obtain endorsement for holding orientation sessions for CMPC members: YPSA will set a meeting with the divisional commissioner’s office and will share a presentation explaining the background and objective of the training programs. YPSA will also facilitate the Divisional Commissioner to issue a letter for conducting district level orientation workshops.

Activity 1322.6: Conduct orientation sessions of district-level CMPC members: YPSA will arrange orientation sessions with district-level CMPC members. The National level resource pool comprised of district-level government officials and partner staff members will conduct these orientation events. A training module and materials on CMRA 2017, GE & CP, roles, and responsibilities will be used as basic training material. A total of 220 participants will join the event from 11 districts in 11 batches. Each batch will contain 20 CMPC members.

 

Output 1323: District level NPA implementation plans to combat CEFM strengthened

 

Activity 1323.1: Hold design workshops with District Administrations and key stakeholders for identification and strengthening of activities planned under NPA District-level plans: YPSA will organize a day long divisional level design workshop in Chattogram where 30 participants who will be selected from activity 1322.4 will be participated. Design workshop will take place based on the government order issued by MoWCA. The National Action Plan (NPA) will be shared with participants to identify a list of activities for district-level NPA implementation. CMPC representatives will also identify additional activities that are crucial to address for their respective districts concerning cultural context, national indicators related to CEFM, social norms, and values.

Activity 1323.2: Conduct joint visit by National stakeholders to validate (MOWCA, GNB, UNICEF, GAC) the implementation of the strengthened District Plans: Plan International will conduct a joint visit by engaging national stakeholders specifically MoWCA, GNB, UNICEF, GAC, and Plan representatives to validate the implementation of the strengthened District plans in one district. YPSA will support to arrange the visit maintaining all safety measures and security issues for COVID-19 health risks.

Activity 1323.4: Provide technical assistance to district administrations for conducting monthly and annual progress review meetings of district NPA implementation plans to combat CEFM, including mitigation measures for the impact of natural disasters: YPSA will attend in district level monthly meeting at the District Commissioner’s office for providing support to the district administrations to form/reform district level CMPCs if those are not functional as per the NPA and work with the CMPCs to do advocacy with district authorities and include CMPC updates in monthly meeting agendas based on an internal guideline provided by Plan International. YPSA also will arrange six-monthly meetings and annual progress review meetings for an update on district implementation plans to combat CEFM.