Rolpa girls playing volleyball against child marriage

LIWANG(ROLPA):  The District Coordination Committee (DCC), Rolpa, in partnership with the Women and Children Office (WCO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is organising a friendly volleyball tournament in Liwang on 14 June 2017 among adolescent girls to spread awareness about child marriage and the importance of educating girls.

At a press meet organised today in the district headquarters, the organisers said the event aims to shed the light on adolescent girls from Rolpa district who, if empowered, can gain life-transforming power and become agents of change. A total of 32 girls from Khungri, Khumel, Kotgaun and Liwang are taking part in the tournament and are divided into four groups.

Chief District Officer Dijan Bhattarai will be the chief guest of the volleyball tournament to be organised under the supervision of Local Development Officer Sushil Baidhya. Before the start of the match, the chief guest and guests will interact with the players representing adolescent girls’ groups in their effort to encourage them to continue their fight against child marriage and other harmful practices through several mediums, including sports, read a press statement  on the eve of the tournament. The players will be provided with sports uniform and kits.

The first, second and third winners will  receive medals and certificates. The fourth team will receive a consolation prize. Around 500 people, including top government officials working in the district, local political leaders and young people, are expected to watch the tournament.

The press meet was attended by DCC officials, including Information Officer Ram Kumar Neupane and Subarna Shrestha, Shushila Pant of WCO as well as Ram Thapa, Santosh Chhetri and Khagendra Bhatt of UNFPA.

Girls in Rolpa face a wide range of challenges, including entrenched gender discrimination, high rates of adolescent pregnancy and harmful practices such as child marriage. According to the Census 2011, 73.8 % of girls in Rolpa aged 10 to 19 get married. The national average is 41%. A violation of human rights, child marriage robs adolescent girls of their childhood. Those who are married off early are forced to drop out of schools, bear children before they are ready and are often subjected to violence and abuse.

As part of implementing the 2016 National Strategy to End Child Marriage in Nepal by preventing this harmful practice and empowering girls, the Ending Child Marriage Project, funded by the European Commission and the UK, is being implemented by UNFPA in Rolpa, including in Khungrri, Khumel, Kotgaun and Liwang of the district, in coordination with DCC and WCO.