Due to a collaboration between Access to Information (a2i) and Save the Children, and, in line with the Prime Minister’s promise for a more Digital Bangladesh, Kurigram District Administration has been piloting SMS-based mobile technology to verify the age of girl and boy before getting married to help prevent child marriage. A TVC was made to popularize the phone number for the local TV station using folk music which narrates the intervention in the following way:
‘Though many people from disadvantaged families thought marrying a girl early would help escape poverty, it is not a solution at all. As local elites face difficulty in preventing child marriage, Kurigram District Administration has initiated this pilot project. Through dialing *16100# from any number, it is possible to get age-related information of both bride and groom. You only require national ID/ birth registration number or registration number of public examination. It is possible to send information regarding age to bride and groom by SMS also. Kazi (Marriage Registrar) should only register when he gets confirmation on the age through a return SMS. Besides, if you witness a child marriage occurring, please dial 16100, and the local magistrate will be notified immediately, to prevent it.’
Background on the project:
A2I project has been implemented from the Prime Minister’s office to keep the promise of a more Digital Bangladesh, and has been encouraging government institutions to initiate, test and pilot ICT (Information and Communication Technology)-based innovations. Kurigram district administration came up with the idea of Mobile based Technology to prevent child marriage. Successful pilots would later be replicated throughout the country and this specific innovation of preventing child marriage is well accepted and expected to be scaled up. Currently, this TVC is being screened on local cable network in Kurigram and also displayed in mass gathering to raise public awareness on child marriage.
Save the Children in Bangladesh is currently implementing a climate change adaptation project in Kurigram, engaging with government and non-government stakeholders in combating various forms of risks and hazards and as a part of that, it joined hands with the district administration to stop child marriage.