Kathmandu, March 10
The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare is organising Girl Summit on March 23 with technical and financial support from the Department for International Development and United Nations Children Fund, and in partnership with civil society organisations.
A press statement issued here today by UNICEF said the national event was a follow up to the first Girl Summit-2014, where commitments were made to end child, early and forced marriages.
Since the Girl Summit in London, similar national events aimed at mobilising international efforts to end child, early and forced marriage have been organised in Bangladesh, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Nepal will now host its very own Girl Summit, reaffirming the Government of Nepal’s commitment to ensuring a future free from child marriage by 2030.
According to the statement, around the world more than 700 million women alive today were married as children and more than one in three or some 250 million were married before 15.
Similarly, girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence, while young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s.
It further said that specifically in Nepal, over 1.3 million adolescent girls (aged 10-19) are at risk of being married as children.
Over 1.3 million adolescent girls (aged 10-19) are at risk of being married as children, 24.5 per cent of women aged 15-19 years are currently married and in union and 48.5 per cent of women aged 20-49 years married or entered a marital union before their 18th birthdays.
In the run up to the Girl Summit, consultations will be held in 15 districts, namely Morang, Saptari, Udayapur, Makwanpur, Rautahat, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Kalikot, Banke, Dailekh, Surkhet, Bajhang, Baitadi and Doti as there is high prevalence of child marriage in this districts.
Selected adolescents from each district will participate in a three-day pre-Girl Summit workshop to be held in Kathmandu, where they will compile the views discussed in each district event and develop statements for the national event.
They will present the statements during the Nepal Girl Summit.
By organising the Girl Summit on March 23, the Government of Nepal and other stakeholders seek to accelerate momentum around the issue of child marriage and other harmful social norms perpetuating child, early and forced marriage.
“Creating opportunities for girls with skills, education, access to economic assets and decision-making power, will empower them to make greater contributions to their families and communities,” it said, adding, “Raising the status of girls is beneficial for generations and the Government of Nepal is committed to unlocking the full potential of girls by giving them equal opportunities of growth and development and by investing in changing harmful social norms.”
Under-Secretary at the MoWCSW Kiran Rupakheti, said children, political leaders, religious leaders, experts, national and international delegates, and people working in the field of gender and child rights would participate in the summit.
A version of this article appears in print on March 11, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.