- It is one of the most effective strategies to protect children against marriage.
- When girls are able to stay in school an attitudinal change can also occur towards their opportunities within the community.
Congregating child protection workers:
- One way of keeping a check on child marriages during the pandemic would be to ensure that there is a strong cohort of child protection workers among essential health workers.
- India has a robust system of grassroots workers who have done commendable work in ensuring that health and other social security services reach people on in these dire times.
- If such workers were incorporated into the system, they could keep a check on girl children at risk of early marriage and take steps to avert these.
- This could be in the form of awareness counseling and helping some benefits reach the family concerned.
Gender sensitization programs:
- Gender training programs should be spread throughout the district for police and NGOs. Government of India along with organizations like UNICEF and NGOs should make the efforts for the implementation of the convergent national strategy, which includes:
- Capacity-building on laws, support mechanisms such as a child marriage telephone hotline should be implemented in true letter and spirit. E.g: Odisha Child Marriage Resistance Forum.
- Imparting Life skills, protection skills, higher education and employment opportunities should be ensured to each and every girl child.
- Primary and secondary education for girls should be promoted.
- Working with influential leaders, oaths and pledges, counselling, folk and traditional media.
- Government’s partnerships with civil society organizations and communities are key to supporting community mobilization efforts and mindset changes and partnerships with the media are very important for raising awareness of child marriage.
- programs and sectors at all levels should be converged, in particular with education and social protection schemes and programmes.
- Government of India has already enacted laws like Child marriage prohibition act 2006 and started many initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana to incentivize the people to give equal treatment to their daughters as their sons.
- Conditional Cash Transfer schemes addresses issues more towards the individual rather than the household, which is the focus of the government.
- Certain national schemes, is, related to maternity benefits and the survival and education of the girl child which addresses the problem of child marriage directly or indirectly. E.g.: Dhanalakshmi, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent girls (SABLA)
- CCTs have benefits of legal protection of the marriage as well as ensuring education of girls.
Government of India has the biggest responsibility towards ensuring better childhood of every child. Every child irrespective of socio-economic status is entitled to the quality education, health facilities and freedom and space to enjoy childhood.