The fifth IDGC is being marked in Nepal through various district level and national level events and is geared towards ending child marriage.
Building on the momentum of end child marriage campaign highlighted by the Girl Summit held in Kathmandu in March 2016, International Day of Girl Child (IDGC) 2016 was opened amidst a function in Kathmandu.
The ceremony was inaugurated jointly by Bishnu Prasad Lamsal, Secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Erika Nepal, an adolescent representative. While IDGC was celebrated globally on 11 October every year, in Nepal it was postponed due to the Dashain festivities.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Secretary Lamsal emphasized Nepal Government’s committed action on ending child marriage and urged for active collaboration of concerned actors to achieve the goal of ending child marriage in Nepal.
Various age-old harmful practices have been affecting the lives of girl children in Nepal. The tradition of child marriage that is deeply entrenched in our society have been trapping girls in the vicious cycle of violence and thereby thwarting their hope of bright future.
Even though the legal age of marriage is lifted up to 20 years in Nepal, about 29 per cent of marriages still happen between girls and boys under the age of 18. As underage marriages are accepted easily by the society, implementation of law is very difficult in Nepal.
Secretary Lamsal further said, “Constitutional, policy-related, legal and structural foundation have been already laid in Nepal to address various issues related to adolescents. A National Action Plan on Adolescents is currently being rolled out. Following the launch of National End Child Marriage Strategy, various initiatives have also been taking place to operationalize the strategy.”
Running till October 23, the 3-day-long event will be open for public on Saturday and Sunday in Yak Palace, Pulchowk, Lalitpur. Art exhibition on different aspects of adolescence, dances, songs, poetry, quizzes, panel discussion based on the theme of ending child marriage and empowerment of girl child are being performed at the event.
IDGC 2016 is organized by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare with support from development partners including Artree, CARE Nepal, CWIN, DFID, Equal Access Nepal, GIZ, Jagriti Child and Youth Concern, Nepal Social Organization, NexUs, NIRN-Nepal, Oxfam Nepal, Restless Development, Titikshya Foundation, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Vision and Yuwalaya. Along with various officials from government and non-government agencies, Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Nepal Representative, Gail Marzetti, Head of DFID Nepal and Giulia Vallese, UNFPA Nepal Representative Giulia Vallese were also present during the opening ceremony.