MIC Director:
Allen Bailochan Tuladhar

MIC Manager:
Junu Thapa

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Child Marriage

6. Child Marriage


Child marriage is increasingly becoming a priority concern at the global, regional and country levels with growing experience and evidence on the causes and consequences of the practice as well as what needs to be done to end it.  Despite Nepal being signatory to a number of international charters and covenants that discourage child marriage (e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child), and having supportive domestic legislation which defines the minimum age of marriage for boys and girls as 20 years without the consent of the parents and 18 years with parental consent, child marriage remains a key issue of concern. 29% of girls aged 15-19 years are married and 41% of Nepalese women aged 20-24 years were married before they turned 18 (Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2011). Among the married population, around 11% were below 15 years old by their first marriage (Nepal Census 2011).

Child marriage is a widespread issue throughout Nepal. Although there is some data available via NDHS and MICS surveys, overall there is a lack of comprehensive data and figures on the prevalence and hotspots of child marriage in Nepal.  Knowledge about the growing trend in self-initiated marriage by young people and elopement is also lacking.   What is needed is a tool that will help in the collection of data to map and pinpoint the hotspots of child marriage in Nepal.  A mechanism for registering child marriages between adolescents below the legal age of marriage (18 years) would be particularly useful.


Although there is some existing data available from census, NDHS and MICS surveys, data collection systems are often weak or inconsistent. Information to be collected and maintained in a centralized database would be needed, and could be used to complement existing systems and work of the Ministry of Local Development’s plan of action to improve birth and other vital registration systems, including the Ministry of Local Development, Population and Vital Event Registration System.

The information needed on child marriages includes the following:

  • ·         Names of married wife and husband
  • ·         Ages of married wife and husband
  • ·         Date and place of marriage
  • ·         Chosen faith of wife and husband
  • ·         Name of religious leader who married the couple
  • ·         VDCs and districts of origin of wife and husband
  • ·         Ethnic background/s of wife and husband
  • ·         Birth registrations of wife and husband
  • ·         Names of parents of both wife and husband
  • ·         Levels of education of wife and husband (or if not applicable, reasons for not attending school)
  • ·         Occupations of wife and husband
  • ·         Names of children of wife and husband (or existing children from previous marriages)
  • ·         Health status of wife and husband

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