Lumbini Province government has launched a strategy to end child marriage in the province.

At a programme organised by the provincial Ministry of Law, Women, Children, and Senior Citizens here today, the 10-year strategy was launched.

Minister of Law, Women, Children and Senior Citizens Rama Gharti shared that the new strategy was introduced to end child marriage as although a punishable crime, child marriage was still in practice in the province.

Minister Gharti called for cooperation from social organisations and public to successfully implement the strategy. To end child marriage in all the local units within 2030, the provincial government will coordinate efforts with the local units.

The local units will collaborate with the schools to educate, aware and empower children and their parents alike through imparting skillbased training and awareness drive.

Research and analysis will be conducted about the state of child marriage in all the local units which will help identify the problems thereby enabling the concerned authorities and agencies to make effective moves against child marriage.

Marriage below 20 years is illegal in Nepal but child marriages continue to take places unabated in the province due to religious, social and other reasons.

The vulnerable children prone to child marriage will be rescued and protected, social surveillance will be stepped up and those teenagers at risk of child marriage will be empowered, the strategy envisages.

Former Minister of Social Development Sudarshan Baral said, "Social development is more important than physical development. There should be investment on children. The investment on children yields favourable results."

A version of this article appears in the print on November 13, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.