Project Duration: Oct 2015-Oct 2018
Donor: IDRC, Canada
Partners: Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust (BLAST), Brac Adolescent Development Program (ADP), MEJNIN Project
Overview: The effectiveness of current interventions is limited by the lack of knowledge about the nature of child marriage in the context of urban slums. After extensive discussions with key stakeholders who are active in child marriage prevention programming, we have identified a range of issues and puzzles that prevent these organizations from providing more effective, accessible, and context-specific programming to address the structural issues (social, cultural, economic) that influence early/child marriage in urban slums. This study will use a sequential exploratory mixed methods design to explore the phenomenon of early and child marriage in two urban slums, one in Dhaka and one in Chittagong.
Objectives: A central objective of this project is to identify the specific realities of life in urban slums that lead families to choose early marriage for their daughters or lead adolescents to choose early marriage for themselves. How do the determinants of ECM change when you look through an urban lens? Does the urban slum environment offer greater opportunities to prevent ECM? How do some girls manage to stay unmarried into adulthood? The literature review showed there is a dearth of literature focusing on ECM in the urban context, especially in-depth qualitative studies. Most programme interventions were designed based on findings from quantitative studies in rural areas, but do they translate into change in behaviour for urban adolescents?
We will also investigate what circumstances allow some young women to stay unmarried into adulthood. We will then share this knowledge with stakeholders in both the government and NGO sector, and assist our partners to apply this knowledge to future programme planning. With more robust evidence on the nature of ECM in urban slums, our partners will be better equipped to design relevant interventions which address the hardships faced by unmarried and married adolescents, and to also address the structural issues of poverty and access to education, ultimately aiming to reduce the prevalence of child marriage in the country.
In summary, the research team have been involved in training in the following areas: