Even though child marriages are illegal in India in some of the rural parts of India like Bihar it is still being practiced. In an effort to cleanse this rampant social evil of child marriages in the state of Bihar – Gender Alliance Bihar a group of 270 society organisations backed UN Population Fund has come up with a mobile app.
The “Bandhan App” was launched by Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Modi. In an effort to create awareness on resisting child marriages the app was developed and will provide 24 x 7 help to adolescent girls saying no to the practice in the form of an SOS button.
With the efforts of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) the Gender Alliance group was started. The main purpose of this was to bring together civil societies, activists, academicians, researchers, media, and others on a common platform to advocate gender equality.
Nadeem Noor head of UNFPA in Bihar speaking to IANS said – “Use of latest technology like a mobile app is probably the first of its kind in the country to fight child marriage”
According to him the app will give the girls confidence to stand up against child marriages as the legal age of a marriageable girl in India is 19 and said it was good to see it being launched before the statewide campaign against child marriage by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (October 2) was a positive development.
He further stated – “If the state government includes the app in its campaign, it will help us popularise it down to the village level with the wide network of thousands of women self-help groups active in rural Bihar,”
The Bandhan Tod app is an initiative of the Gender Alliance’s to support the state government’s efforts to end child marriages and dowry. N. Vijayalakshmi, Managing Director, Women Development Corporation also praised the launch of the app.
The app will be available on Google Play Store and anyone can register, Mobikwik will offer digital payment gateway and provide incentive for those you download it. The app has a SOS button which on pressing will forward the registered numbers details to the
Gender Alliance monitoring cell and civil society organisations. They will contact the user to get details and then alert the local authorities for action.
It is an initiative to directly or indirectly reach out to the girls in the villages and panchayats in all the blocks and districts of Bihar through technology.
Prashanti Tiwary, Manager of Gender Alliance said – “Bandhan Tod mobile app will complement the Bihar government’s campaign against child marriage,” said Prashanti Tiwary, Manager of Gender Alliance.
Bihar has a history of rampant child marriages especially in the rural areas which even defy the law of the state. Low literacy rates, Poverty and other factors have given rise to social problems amongst Dalits, OBCs and Muslims.
The Gender Alliance has been focusing on working towards gender equality ever since its inception last year. It is also belives child marriage as one of the four priority issues as it is not only a violation of human rights, but a grave threat to the lives, health and development of girls.
Bihar accounted for 69 percent of the total child marriages in India. Though this figure has dropped in the last 10 years, it has been because of education among girls, the National Family Health Survey -IV report suggests.
Gender Alliance convener Swapan Mazumdar said -“This in-depth report is likely to provide ready-made data for the government to use for different scheme implementations to achieve its goals in a time-bound manner.”
The Gender Alliance has also declared the Bandhan Tod award for journalism for mainstreaming gender in media and awarded adolescent girls with Bandhan Tod champion title to recognise their brave role in the fight against child marriage.
Source : IANS