Bangladesh has received world attention for its very high rate of child marriage. According to the Bangladesh
Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2014, the rate of child marriage (among the women who are currently
aged between 20-24 yrs) has declined to 58.6 percent from that of 73.3 percent in 1993. The Multiple Indicator
Cluster Survey (MICs) data also shows the declining trend of child marriage. The MICS 2012-2013 shows that
52.3 percent women (who are currently aged between 20-24 years) have got married before 18 years of age. The
percentage was 64.1 in 2006 (BBS, 2014). This gives the impression that the child marriage rate in Bangladesh is
declining very slowly. As an inevitable consequence of child marriage, the girls start to discontinue from education
and become pregnant. This child marriage induced discontinuation of education and teenage pregnancy violate
the rights of girls, with life threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health. The high
prevalence of child marriages is also resulting in low socioeconomic status, high level of fertility and perpetuating
the cycle of poverty and reinforcing the gendered nature of poverty.
Several agencies of the Government of Bangladesh and different national and international agencies are working
to combat this problem of high child marriage rate in Bangladesh. As part of this effort, PSTC is acting as a host as
well as implementing agency of ‘Hello I Am’ project with other two implementing partner organization, DSK and
RHStep. Rutgers is providing technical support and the project is funded by IKEA foundation, Netherland.
The ‘Hello, I Am’ program incorporates the following strategies in a multi-component approach:
• Edutainment: National TV and radio programs for parents and young people to raise awareness of alternative
behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs and to provide support and advice. Edutainment will be enhanced through
moderated intergenerational dialogues and helplines to inform and support parents and young people
• Meaningful Youth Participation, as part of an inclusive, rights-based approach: to ensure that interventions
address the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people in a youth friendly manner, and the
interventions are (co)led by young leaders, facilitators and counselors
• Local advocacy promoting change in social norms, through engaging traditional and religious leaders,
awareness raising and the creation of networks.
• The program underpinned by a Positive Deviance Approach which focuses on modeling positive behavior and
community-based problem solving with regard to early marriage.
Vision and Outcomes
‘Hello, I Am’ envisions a supportive social environment that enables adolescent girls to enjoy their sexual and
reproductive health and rights, free from all forms of child marriage. In the long term, fewer girls will be married
before the age of 18, first pregnancies will be delayed and more adolescent girls will remain in school.
Target group and beneficiaries
The program is working with young people and their social environment, including parents, community members,
and religious and community leaders.
Working Areas of HIA
HIA through PSTC, RHStep and DSK has been working in 6 upazillas
PSTC: Gazipur and Chattogram Sadar
DSK: Durgapur of Netrokona and Moddhonagar of Sunamgonj
RHStep: Savar, Dhaka and Mymensingh Sadar