Prevention of child marriage in India at the APCCAN 2015 conference in Malaysia

On 24 to 28 October Terre des Hommes was at the 10th Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (APCCAN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

 

Terre des Hommes was represented by Mr. Ponpandi Thangaperumal (Thangam), Country Manager of India. The conference theme was Investing in Children: Every Child Counts with a particular focus on the importance of preventing and managing child abuse and neglect, in the context of providing children with a healthy and happy childhood. 

Terre des Hommes was invited to give a presentation on community based interventions in addressing child marriage in India. Mr. Thangam explains: “In our presentation we were able to show how we actually prevent child marriage on the ground. We were able to bring field experience to the discussion. We have a number of strategies that, when you combine them, are extremely effective. We empower girls, mobilise communities, and influence key decision makers. Of course this sounds a lot easier than it is in practice, but with life skill education, keeping girls in school and the use of a child helpline we have been able to significantly reduce the number of child marriages in our working areas. We have set up Village Child Protection Committees, spend a lot of time on awareness raising and we keep coordinating with our target communities. All in all we have been able to prevent a high number of child marriages, creating a much more promising life for these girls. Along the way, we also had to influence men and boys, religious and traditional leaders, as they play a crucial role in preventing child marriages.”

 

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