International Day of Girl Child marked

Kathmandu, October 21

The fifth International Day of Girl Child 2016 was observed today by organising national and district level events.

While IDGC is celebrated globally on October 11 every year, in Nepal it was postponed due to Dashain festivities. Building on the momentum of end child marriage campaign highlighted by the Girl Summit held in Kathmandu in March 2016, the opening ceremony of three-day long IDGC 2016 was held amidst a function in Kathmandu today.

The ceremony was inaugurated jointly by Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Erika Nepal, an adolescent representative.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Secretary Lamsal expressed that the government was committed to ending child marriage. He also urged concerned stakeholders to work in collaboration to achieve the goal of ending child marriage in Nepal.

Various age-old harmful practices have been affecting the lives of girl children in Nepal. The tradition of child marriage that is deeply entrenched in our society have been trapping girls in the vicious cycle of violence and thereby thwarting their hope of bright future.

Even though the legal age of marriage is lifted up to 20 years in Nepal, about 29 per cent of marriages still happen between girls and boys under the age of 18. As underage marriages are accepted easily by society, implementation of law is very difficult in Nepal.

Secretary Lamsal further said, “Constitutional, policy-related, legal and structural foundations have been already laid in Nepal to address various issues related to adolescents. A National Action Plan on Adolescents is currently being rolled out. Following the launch of National Strategy to End Child Marriage, various initiatives have also been taking place to operationalise the strategy.”

The three-day event will be open for public on Saturday and Sunday in Yak Palace, Pulchowk, Lalitpur. Art exhibition on different aspects of adolescence, dances, songs, poetry, panel discussion based on the theme of ending child marriage and empowerment of girl child are being performed at the event.

IDGC 2016 is being organised by the MoWCSW with support from development partners including Artree, CARE Nepal, CWIN, DFID, Equal Access Nepal, GIZ, Jagriti Child and Youth Concern, Nepal Social Organization, NexUs, NIRN-Nepal, Oxfam Nepal, Restless Development, Titikshya Foundation, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Vision and Yuwalaya.