Population Foundation of India

Ank se Adhik (More Than Just Numbers)

Take Action

Connect with us

To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Every fourth marriage in India is of a child’s and close to four million adolescent girls in India are mothers(NFHS-4), a direct result of regressive gender norms and inequality. An absolute denial of basic human rights, the advancement in solving the challenge needs to be four times the current rate to eradicate child marriage and achieve SDG2030 target.The problem will be addressed through an integrated approach across the social ecosystem, creating an enabling environment for a million adolescent girls in five districts from five of the most under-developed states, to challenge age old practices/beliefs. The strategy will combine Social and Behavioural Change Communication(SBCC) and social outreach for a 4-times reduction in child marriage and 2-times reduction in teenage pregnancies in the select geographies. Capable of contributing to address the issue globally, the model is replicable and will have a far-reaching impact in empowering adolescents to be agents of change.

Problem Statement

Approximately 700 million women in the world today married before the legal age, a third before their 15th birthday. A direct result of harmful gender norms and low value accorded to girls, 12 million girls are added to this figure each year across the globe. Child marriage and teenage pregnancies contribute to higher public and private spending and reduced economic growth and is a severe impediment on reaching the targets under Agenda 2030.In India, 15 million adolescent girls are married (A third of the global figure) and could be mothers before they learn to negotiate and challenge their lived realities. Girls from the most marginalised families are 2.5 times more likely to face such violence. Further, evidence states that married girls and those at risk are susceptible to GBV. One in three adolescent girls(aged 15-19) married or in union have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence. Among these, over one in ten have experienced sexual violence by their partner. The impact of such practices impedes the achievements of India’s national priorities and aspirations-economic and social as these girls are more likely to drop-out of school, have low/un-paid jobs, limited decision-making powers, face greater risks of violence, STIs and STDs. PFI and SC-India, with experience, have identified that the most influential way to effect change is to target the social ecosystem, challenging the status quo along the way through engaging boys, men, parents/caregivers and other community members in difficult conversations while working alongside adolescent girls and influencing system change.

Solution Overview

Evidence generated by both the organizations show that eliminating child marriage requires a 360-degree approach focusing on knowledge, attitudes and practices of adolescent girls, boys, their family & community and a responsive system. The multi-pronged solution builds on our tried and tested models, integrated here to guide gender and adolescent-enabling behaviours and practices at all levels for transformative impact. The solution combines SBCC, advocacy as well as building and strengthening the accountability of service providers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate an ecosystem where adolescent girls are transformed into informed and empowered citizens with the capability of driving change in communities. Towards this, we will provide adolescent girls with the necessary skills to navigate through life while working with service providers to ensure that girls and their families access due entitlements to continue progression. We will also promote and strengthen sensitive social and gender behaviour and practices at the relationship, household and community level. Our tested SBCC tools, techniques, approach and advocacy will guide gender & adolescent sensitive behaviour and practices at all levels against this human rights’ violation. The initiative will also develop men and boys as agents of change in addressing child marriage and GBV. The initiative will influence the lives of 1,343,355 girls and their communities by reducing child marriage by 4 times and teenage pregnancies by 2 times, across five high-burden states in India. It will fuel a disruption in the status-quo and push communities and the government to walk hand in hand with adolescent girls.

+ Read More

Project Funders

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (for MKBKSH)
  • REC Foundation (for MKBKSH)

More Solutions Like This

Children's rights

World Vision, Inc.

Empowering Families to End Child Marriage

Bangladesh, Ghana, Mali, Senegal