Around 100 children, students, child club members, activists, youths, teachers, parents, elected officials, federal government representatives, I/NGO representatives discussed ways to combat child marriage at the National Balkachahari organized today in Kathmandu by Good Neighbors International Nepal and KIRDARC.
The event was organized under the AWASAR campaign launched two years ago aiming to promote child rights and end child marriage in Nepal. This year more than 1000 grassroots stakeholders participated in 16 municipal-level balkachaharis organized in thirteen GNI Nepal working districts and province-level balkachaharis organized in Karnali, Sudur Paschim and Gandaki Provinces.
Hira Sigh Thapa- Grassroots Campaigner; Indu Panta- Child Rights Advocate; Yam Bahadur BK, Child Network Member; Durga Lal K.C. – Journalist, Kantipur Daily ; Pitambar Adhikari- DIG, Children, Women & Senior Citizen Cell; Tillotam Paudel, JCYCN; discussed ending child marriage focusing on grassroots actions, police and public collaboration, national strategies, and plans, covering child marriages in national print media, children’s and the duty bearers’ roles and responsibilities.
The dialogue was graced by Hon’ble Dr. Shivamaya Tumbahanfe, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives. She emphasized that the onus is on the government to end child marriage and other stakeholders should play a complementary role. She reiterated her commitment to supporting the drafting and implementation of legal instruments/provisions and plans for child rights promotion and ending child marriage.
Special Guest, Hon’able, Min Bahadur Shahi, Member, National Planning Commission shared that the government has enacted Children’s Act 2075 Nepal in alignment with the constitution, Criminal (Code) Act, 2074. “Other acts, regulations are also in the pipeline. 25th Periodic Plan has also incorporated the issue of child marriage and its elimination.”, he further shared.
Min Ho Choi, Country Representative of Good Neighbor International Nepal highlighted that children are the future of the nation; hence, their rights have to be ensured by eliminating all forms of discrimination.
Garui Pradhan, Child Rights Activist, who also moderated the dialogue shared that despite decreasing instances of child marriage before 15 years of age, Nepal ranks 17th globally in terms of child marriage. He advised for eliminating social-mal practices, increasing knowledge of life skills, introducing income generation activities, and carrying out mass sensitization campaigns.
Participants from child networks and clubs, child rights activists also shared their experiences and asked questions to the panelists.
Brief Report: National Balkachahari 2019 Booklet_Nepali version