Report on the Mapping of the Climate Change Related Vulnerabilities and Child Marriage in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has the third-highest rate of child marriage in the world, such that every year nearly four million girls are married before the age of 18. There are many factors responsible for this complex social problem to perpetuate in Bangladeshi society. Besides, natural disasters catalyzed by climate change are increasingly linked with child marriage, especially in disaster-prone countries like Bangladesh. The economic disadvantages associated with various social vulnerabilities induced by climate vulnerabilities increase the risk of child marriage among girls in Bangladesh, especially due to the gendered social relations and disempowerment of young women in rural areas of the country. However, pathways through which climate vulnerabilities increase the risks of child marriage is intricately complex and interact at multiple levels. Against this backdrop, Share-Net Bangladesh aimed to bring together the Communities of Practice working on the issue of child marriage to find solutions to this problem and gather evidence for national advocacy. Thus, this exercise focused on mapping various government and non-government organizations working with the issue of child marriage to draw comprehensive features of child marriage linking with climate change with an Infographic.
For this mapping exercise, we first identified 106 potential organizations that might have CM-related projects/programs in the last 5 years and then reached out to them via email and personal communication over the phone for detailed information through a data collection tool. As a result, data a total of 24 programs/projects were gathered from 16 organizations. Fourteen of the 24 projects or programs explicitly aimed to reduce child marriages as narrated in the project/program objectives. Among the 24 mapped programs/ projects, 14 were completed, and ten were still ongoing.
We found that creating mass awareness regarding the problems of child marriage was the highest occurring intervention/approach adopted by the majority of the programs mapped in our exercise, followed by education and livelihood intervention. Our mapped projects on child marriage covered 45 districts of Bangladesh, where the highest three projects/programs were found in Bagura, Bandarban, and Dhaka districts each. For majority programs, the primary target group included adolescents (10-19), adults (18 and above) of both sexes. Fourteen programs/projects had secondary beneficiaries, including parents, service providers, community people-like religious leaders, and other gatekeepers.
Among the 24 projects/programs, 21 had specified program/ project monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Fifteen programs/projects had at least one implementing or research partner. Donor-related information was available for 19 programs/projects. However, there are some significant limitations of our mapping exercise. Given the time and resource constraints and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, physical data collection was not possible, which might increase the number of mapped programs/projects.