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‘Louder than Words’ launched as part of youth activism to eliminate early, forced marriage

Stronger youth activism engaging traditional and religious leaders can eliminate Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM), a global human rights issue disproportionately affecting girls, said Plan International on Wednesday.

“Each story of grassroots redemption speaks louder than words. These are stories of actions that have led to many small yet significant victories in this perpetual battle of right against might. As we’re exploring these accounts of struggle, familiarity emerges of well-known settings, characters, plots and tensions – it’s how a story resolves and ends that we need to influence,” said Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Asia Pacific and Gender Transformative Policy & Practice, Plan International.

“At first, the villagers didn’t take my initiative very well. They didn’t pay attention to my words. But I didn’t lose hope. I have continued advocating against child marriage whenever I find some free time in between my studies,” shared Sweeti from Bangladesh who is a passionate and influential advocate and vocal promoter of issues relating to child marriage and girls' health.

Sweeti and several other girls and stakeholders across the region featured in 20 stories of this collection.

They are bold change makers who do not back down but stand strong alongside Plan International in their fight against CEFM, demanding a better present and future for themselves and other youth.

These stories of grassroots redemption prove that tales of tragedy can also become tales of survival and triumph.

The international development organisation urged the use of digital technology, cyber platforms and online solutions, as well as promoting accessible and quality gender-responsive services that can be used to promote effective strategies to eliminate CEFM, as well as to prevent and reduce adolescent pregnancies in Asia-Pacific, including Bangladesh.

Plan International came up with the urge as they launched a collection of testimonies titled “Louder than Words”.

It is a collection of testimonies reflecting girls’ and boys’ activism in collaboration with Plan International in tackling and challenging root-causes of CEFM to prevent this harmful practice and achieve girls’ empowerment and equality.

The testimonies promote, celebrate and highlight the regional efforts to prevent and end CEFM that has evolved into a regional initiative called Time to Act!

Child marriage frequently leads to serious negative consequences, denying millions of girls the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

By 2030, globally more than 800 million women may have suffered the consequences of child marriage, up from more than 650 million today.

Source: United News of Bangladesh