About Child Marriage in Karnataka
Karnataka accounts for 23.2 percent of child marriages in the Country. The practice is prevalent in almost all districts according to the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Though the state has a strong framework of policies to ensure the safety and rights of the girl children, in practical terms, it has not adhered rigorously. The practice is mostly found in socially and economically disadvantaged communities in rural areas. Poverty, migration, illiteracy, tradition, family pressure and fear of sexual violence are the major causes of early marriages.
IMAGE’s Approach to address it
Initiatives for Married Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment (IMAGE), is the project specifically designed to empower married adolescent girls, who are one of the unattended children in society. They are neither treated as children nor an adult, no one cares for their rights, security, and opportunities. This project is presently implemented in 5 districts of Karnataka with the objective of providing, health, education, skill development, sexual and reproductive health and rights(SRHR), social protection and protection from gender-based violence.
IMAGE’s operational area
The project is implemented by a consortium formed with 6 civil society organisations in 5 districts of Karnataka, with the financial and technical support of Terre des Hommes – Netherlands (TdH-NL). It covers identified 3,077 girls who were married before the age of 18 years with the overall objective of ‘Empowering Early Married Girls towards Social and Economic Independence by collectively Involving Government, CSOs, and Community to be responsible in addressing the needs towards sustainability’.
The specific project objectives are;
- To facilitate available health and social security services to early married girls and prevent gender-based violence & adolescent pregnancy.
- To facilitate increased access for early married girls to secondary education and job-oriented vocational training.
Later, the project intended to expand the operation to another 12,000 married adolescent girls in neighbouring 10 districts.
What IMAGE does?
We are working in five areas of project interventions with Early Married Girls (EMGs)
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) – The project creates awareness to EMGs on reproductive health, menstrual hygiene, avoiding early union and help them to postpone their pregnancy and spacing between the pregnancy.
- Education – EMGs who are interested to continue their formal education are either re-enrolled in the schools or supported to write their exams privately. Tutorial support and education materials are provided to them from the project. Opportunities created for future livelihood by providing job Oriented Vocational training to interested EMGs.
- Health and Nutrition – The project creates health awareness to EMGs and vulnerable girls, also provides health services and referrals to EMGs
- Gender based violence (GBV) – The project supports the EMGs against Gender Based and Domestic violence by creating legal awareness and referral services. It also works with the spouses and family members of EMGs for behavioral change and norms .
- Social protection – Advocating with the Government and other stakeholders to ensure access of various welfare schemes and entitlements available for the married women. Support to EMGs to access general civic IDs and entitlements.