As a follow up to the first Girl Summit 2014, co-hosted by the UK government and UNICEF in London, where commitments were made to end child, early and forced marriage, the Government of Nepal plans to organize a similar national event in Kathmandu on 23March2016.
The Summit will be organized by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) with technical and financial support provided by UKaid, through the Department for International Development, and UNICEF in partnership with Civil Society Organizations.
Since the Girl Summit in London, similar national events aimed at mobilizing international efforts to end child, early and forced marriage have been organized in Bangladesh, Uganda and Ethiopia. Nepal will now host its very own Girl Summit, reaffirming the Government of Nepal's commitment to ensure a future free from child marriage by 2030.
The Girl Summit will address a significant global issue. It is known that child marriage harms the lives of millions of women.
According to a press release issued by UNICEF, around the world there are more than 700 million women alive today who were married as children and more than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before 15 girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence.
The studies have shown that young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s; their infants are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month.
It is estimated that over 1.3 million adolescent girls (aged 10-19 years) are at risk of being married as children in Nepal and 24.5 per cent of women aged 15-19 years are currently married or in union, and 48.5 per cent of women aged 20–49 years married or entered a marital union before their 18th birthdays.
In the run up to Nepal’s Girl Summit, multiple district consultations are being held.The district consultations are a forum for young people and community leaders to discuss their views on child marriage and the challenges they face. This will be followed by intergenerational dialogues between representatives of adolescents and key district adult stakeholders. The consultations will be held in 15 districts - Morang, Saptari, Udayapur, Makwanpur, Rautahat, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Kalikot, Banke, Dailekh, Surkhet, Bajhang, Baitadi and Doti - each with a high prevalence of child marriage.
Selected adolescents from each district will participate in a three-day pre-Girl Summit workshop in Kathmandu, where they will compile the views discussed in each district event and develop statements for the national event. They will present the statements during the Nepal Girl Summit.
The district consultations, pre-event workshop and the Girl Summit will bring together young people, community members, activists, traditional and faith leaders, government and international leaders, experts and champions committed to the gender equality, rights and empowerment of women and girls.
By organizing the Girls Summit on 23 March 2016, the Government of Nepal and other stakeholders seek to accelerate momentum around the issue of child marriage and other harmful social norms perpetuating child, early and forced marriage.
Creating opportunities for girls with skills, education, access to economic assets and decision-making power, will empower them to make greater contributions to their families and communities. Raising the status of girls is beneficial for generations and the Government of Nepal is committed to unlock the full potential of girls by giving them equal opportunities of growth and development and by investing in changing harmful social norms.