Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

Over 50% of girls are married before they turn 18.

18% of girls are married before they turn 15.

In September 2017, we traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh and trained a group of 17 youth activists how to use Interactive Theatre for Justice as a campaign and advocacy tool for preventing child marriage in their communities. Group members came from Birampur, Mongla and Parbatipur Districts.

During the training, the group learned how to devise stories that showed the physical, mental and social consequences of child marriage. The stories were based on the group’s own experiences of child marriage – either from being married as children themselves, or from knowing people who were married as children in their communities.

The group also learned how to perform and facilitate Interactive Theatre for Justice, which invites power holders to suggest ways in which the story could be changed for the better, and then invites them on-stage to make these changes as characters in the story.

The performance ends with power holders making specific commitments to end child marriage in their communities. These commitments are then followed up on to ensure that they become a reality.

So far the group has seen the following results:

  • A district councilwoman has set up a child marriage prevention committee, which recently reported a child marriage to the police and it was stopped
  • Parents are taking active measures to treat their daughters and sons equally
  • One parent recently received a proposal of marriage for his nine-year-old daughter and rejected it
  • Communities are reporting a reduction in ‘eve teasing’ (sexual harassment)

The training was delivered in partnership with Voluntary Service Overseas.

At the start of this training I wasn’t sure of myself as a leader, but now I feel confident to make a difference in my community through theatre.

Kazi Sadekul Islam, Community Facilitator

Read an in-depth report of the training here