IRIN reports on two creative tools used in Bangladesh’s campaign to curb the widespread and harmful practice of early marriage – online birth registration and cash incentives. In 2006, 90% of the population lacked birth documentation; today, approximately 114 million of Bangladesh’s 150 million inhabitants have birth certificates:
The Bangladeshi government is attempting to register birth data online to combat high levels of child marriage. On 8 June in Bangladesh’s western Khustia District, local media reported that 15-year-old Iva Parvin was to be married off by parents hiding her age, but local officials challenged the marriage and demanded proof that she had reached the legal marrying age of 18. When her parents could not provide documentation, the marriage was not approved.
According to IRIN, another tool in Bangladesh’s unusual anti-early-marriage arsenal is cold, hard cash:
Since 1982 the Female Secondary School Assistance Programme has used cash incentives paid to families to keep girls in secondary school and out of marriage. Guardians receive a stipend of up to $9 per month, depending on which grade the girl is in at school, on condition that she attends at least 75 percent of her classes, and remains unmarried until she completes her exams. Tuition, books and public exam fees are also covered.
READ MORE: BANGLADESH: Online birth data to prevent child marriage, IRIN (July 3, 2012).