Society in western Rajasthan is highly patriarchal and orthodox in nature, directly affecting the girl child. Children, especially girls are not considered as equal citizens with rights and opinions, and their participation is negligible in decision-making and even matters related to their lives. As a result, children grow and develop in an environment which does not respond to their needs and rights. Child marriage is quite prevalent in this region with average age of marriage for girls being around 15 years with 28.3 % of girls getting married before 18. Incidents of early pregnancies such as delivering a child at 17 years are also frequent. These incidents results in depriving them of their childhood, forced labour, domestic violence, high maternal and child mortality rates apart from other dangers to health. The child marriages are mostly held during AakkhaTeej/Akshay Tritiya festival and Peepal Purnima which falls normally in the month of May every year. Since the festival is considered very auspicious for marriages, parents try to marry off their children during these festivals.
2. Convergence meeting with VLCPC, Govt. officials, PRI, Children on child protection issues.
3. Orientation of Traders/service providers/govt. officials was done to stop child marriage in all the blocks of Dist. Bikaner, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and one block of Churu.
4. Divisional level workshop with senior govt. officials and leaders to share the recommendations to address the issue of child marriages.
5. Theatre workshops for children on child marriage, child labour and sexual abuse
6. Intensive Campaigns against Child Marriage (holding rallies, broadcasting messages through loudspeaker mounted on vehicle, display of banners, posters and performances of skits and plays, puppet shows by team of local artists. ) around Akkhateejfestival in 46villages.
7. IEC material printed on child protection/child marriage issues and distributed/displayed in villages.
8. Wall paintings on child marriage issues were done in 46 villages for greater visibility and outreach.