The country's rate of child marriage has witnessed a steady decline over the last couple of years, according to data made available by the women and children affairs ministry.
In 2015, the rate of marriages below the age of 15 was 23.8 percent. It came down to 22.3 percent in 2016 and in 2017, it came further down to 10.7 percent.
In the case of marriages below the age of 18, the rate in 2015 was 62.8 percent. The rate declined to 59.7 percent in 2016 while 47 percent in 2017.
The ministry disclosed the data yesterday at a programme to reveal its National Plan of Action (NPA) for eradicating child marriage from the country.
The women and children affairs ministry jointly organised the programme jointly with Unicef at a hotel in the capital.
Under short, medium and long-term plans the NPA aims to improve child rights and policy, access to quality health services, change in patriarchal mindset, access to safe and quality education and empowering adolescent girls and boys for a positive social change.
Considering FY 2018-19 the base year, FY 2029-30 has been set as the deadline to complete the implementation of the NPA.
The NPA has been adopted in line with the pledge made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at London Girl Summit in 2014. At the summit she pledged to end child marriage under the age of 15 by 2021 and child marriage under age 18 by 2041.
Key strategies of the NPA include setting up complaint boxes at secondary schools where schoolgirls can drop complaints about any early marriage taking place; holding monthly meetings to assess child marriage situation in the area; ensuring engagement on Facebook and other social media platforms to disseminate information; and rehabilitating victims of early marriage.
Meher Afroze Chumki, state minister for women and children affairs ministry; and Edouard Beigbeder, representative of Unicef Bangladesh; spoke among others at the programme.