Ending Child Marriage in South Asia
Girls Not Brides meeting participants with Elders Mary Robinson, Ela Bhatt, Gro Brundtland, and Desmond Tutu. Photo credit: Tom Pietrasik | Girls Not Brides
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood leaders participated in the first regional meeting of Girls Not Brides: A Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. Held in New Delhi, India from 9-10 February 2012, this meeting brought together 70 women and men from a range of grassroots, national and international organisations working to end child marriage across South Asia. Aparajita Gogoi, National Coordinator of WRA India and Stacy Saha, Executive Committee Member of WRA Bangladesh, joined participants and other WRA members from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who came together to share experiences, ideas and information, and to discuss the potential for working together to end child marriage in the region.
The meeting was opened by Ela Bhatt, Gro Brundtland, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu, members of The Elders – the initiators of Girls Not Brides. The Elders is a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights. The four Elders visited India to learn about child marriage in the country and encourage existing efforts to end the practice. Child marriage affects nearly half of all girls (46 per cent) in South Asia. We know that child marriage often leads to early pregnancy and childbirth, putting girls’ lives and health at risk as girls under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. The participants, including programme implementers, experts and advocates, shared the belief that child marriage can and should be ended in South Asia. They brought a wealth of expertise and experience; some participating organisations had been working to end child marriage for over 20 years.
Click here to learn more about this meeting, or watch Together we can end child marriage: building momentum in South Asia, a short film produced by Girls Not Brides.