Rahnuma-FPAP in collaboration with UNFPA conducted a study on Child Marriage “Child Marriage in Pakistan: A Taboo” in 2007 which revealed worrying statistics on the issue as it is not just a problem of remote areas of Pakistan, but is widely prevalent, affecting over a third of Pakistan’s adolescents, and continuing in a vicious cycle to affect their children. The report explained that Sindh carried the highest percentage of early marriages in rural areas, with 72% of females and 26% of males in the selected sample, married before 20. Sindh also had a high percentage of females in urban areas married by 20, reaching 36%. Balochistan closely followed Sindh in terms of early rural marriages. Another desk review on the situation of Child Marriage “Child Marriage in Pakistan: A situational Analysis on the Basis of Desk Review” was conducted by Rahnuma-FPAP in 2011. The review suggested that many factors interact to place a child at risk of marriage including poverty, protection of girls, family honour and the provision of stability during unstable social periods. Strong correlations were found between a woman’s age at marriage and the level of education she achieves and the age at which she gives birth to her first child and the age of her husband have been found.
The findings of these reports contributed in understanding the issue of Child Marriage in Pakistan as the reports clearly articulated the major contributing factors and consequences of Child Marriage and further highlighted the intensity of the issue in the country. Based on these findings, Rahnuma-FPAP initiated several interventions to prevent the Child Marriage in Pakistan through legislative reforms in the existing laws (in context of UNCRC) to make them more responsive and for their enhanced implementation. Community mobilization initiatives were also initiated to create awareness among local communities on hazardous effects of Child Marriage. Brief detail of some of the initiatives is as follows.