DEKHO – BOLO – ROKO: A Campaign to make Pakistan a Child Marriage Free Zone

Rutgers WPF celebrates Mother’s Day every year to pay tribute to Mothers and promote safe motherhood in Pakistan. In past we have worked with GEO to promote the cause. The focus of Mother Day 2014 falling on May 11 is on ending Child Marriages and incidence of early age marriages in Pakistan.

In continuation of this effort Rutgers WPF has launched an Advocacy Campaign “Dekho – Bolo – Roko” as following:

This segment aims to reach out to the general audience to raise awareness on child marriages and its adverse effects it has on young girls married before the age of 18. Community leaders will be engaged to observe the extent of problem of child marriages in their communities and suggest solutions. Based on research by Rutgers WPF and others, case studies will be developed to help community understand the social, economic, health consequences of the child marriages.

In continuation of Dekho, messages will be developed on the negative consequences of child marriages - how they are deprived of education, economic opportunity, health and exposes these young married girls to violence. Different stake holders (Community Leaders, Elected representatives, Youth, Journalists and others ) will raise their voices against the social evil of child marriages. Through a petition Rutgers WPF, aims to have 100,000 individuals sign a petition against child marriages to boost the campaign. During the “Bolo” segment, digital media and mainstream TV and Radio channels will be engaged to promote the cause of making Pakistan a child marriages free zone through Public Service Messages.

Taking forward the momentum and evidence on the responsibilities of Mother’s built through the first two segments will eventually lead towards a consolidated effort for passing a resolution in the national and provincial assemblies to end child marriages by 2020. Furthermore the evidence generated through the campaign will be provided to civil society organisations/Alliances working in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan to be utilised as advocacy tools, and in order to align with the advocacy efforts at the national level. The campaign will enhance responsible fatherhood and promote a movement against child marriages at community, town, provincial and national level through local community leaders and youth.