Bhubnaeswar , 20/11 ( Odisha Samachar / Abhisek Mohanty ): Child marriage is one of the harmful traditional practices that violate child rights. A child who is the victim of child marriage gets deprived of all rights. Child marriage challenges the right to health, education, protection and development of a child. The 2011 census reveals that in Odisha 11% girls and 2% boys in the age-group of 15 to 18 years are married. 5% girls in the age-group of 15 are married whereas 10% girls in the age group of 17 and 21% girls in the age-group of 18 are married. Among the 10 districts where the prevalence of child marriage of girls is high the top 5 are in South Odisha. Among 4 of these top 5 districts child marriage of boys is also high. Malkanagiri, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Rayagada and Gajapati districts are South Odisha districts with high tribal population and high child marriage prevalence. Rest 5 districts also have sizable tribal population and high prevalence of child marriage.
ActionAid along with its partner organisations is working on combating child marriage in Odisha. Due to the continuous engagement with the tribal communities the Gadaba and Kondha of Koraput, Junanga of Keonjhar and Paudi Bhunya of Sundargarh have resolved in their traditional community meetings not to marry their daughter and son below the age of 18 and 21 respectively.
To celebrate and highlight this attempt a State level Interface among the Tribal Communities held at IMAGE, Bhubaneswar. Leaders of different tribal communities, representative of civil society organisations and INGOs facilitating the cause joined the interface. Four different posters based on the resolution taken by the tribal communities to combat child marriage in their respective communities released during this occasion.
Sashiprava Bindhani, State information Commissioner, Snehanjali Mohanty, Member, State Women Commission, Laxminarayan Nanda, Alka Gupta and Lopamudra Tripathy of UNICEF, Dr Deepa Prasad from UNFPA and Rajendra Meher, former Member of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights joined and grace the occasion.
Welcoming the guest Debabrat Patra, Regional Manager of ActionAid shared the objectives of the interface while Ghasiram Panda, Programme Manager of ActionAid moderated the programme.