On September 2010, UNICEF and local not-for-profit agencies in Yavatmal India launched the Child Rights and Child Protection movement. Their campaign prompted 88 villages to abandon child marriage, with another 150 following on March 8, Women’s Day.
“The number of girls married off between age 15 or 16 is too high. In some communities, it is a common practice even when the girl is 13 or 14,” said a government officer attached to the child and welfare department. “Early marriage is detrimental to the child’s welfare, in addition to it a criminal offence under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.”
Tarnoli district head of council Milind Joshi is prepared to take action if the resolution is not followed, adding, “Violators will be booked under the provisions of the Act.”
Ravi Aade, a social worker in Darva taluka (a subdivision of the district) said “We have been working in the villages for more than two years to create a conducive environment. The 88 villages were chosen in the first phase as we got a positive response from them.”
In the last month-and-a-half, 18 families have canceled the weddings of their under-aged daughters.
In India the legal age of marriage for girls is 18 and 21 for boys, however in some villages girls are married as soon as they turn 13.
Note from @Gillianfx: Before publishing this article I checked to see if the 150 villages mentioned have kept their promise to abandon child marriage. Nothing was reported. I will keep you posted as this story develops.