The Hunger Project-Bangladesh recently led a community-wide event to raise awareness of the harmful effects of child marriage and to highlight The Hunger Project’s commitment to empowering women and girls.
The event, which took place as part ofThe Hunger Project’s involvement in the Her Choice alliance, saw volunteers and staff members share new data about child marriage in communities across Bangladesh. Her Choice is an alliance of organizations that are working to halt child marriage in 11 countries, with the long-term goal of creating communities in which girls and young women are free to decide if, when and whom to marry.
At The Hunger Project, we believe in measuring what matters. Our philosophy of monitoring and evaluating our community-level programs is centered on the understanding that empowering individuals and communities with knowledge, information and opportunities is essential for achieving sustainable self-reliance and ending hunger. As such, all of our programs are monitored through a participatory monitoring process. This means that we start with grassroots, community-led engagement to close the feedback loop between our projects’ performance and community expectations and goals. Objectivity is key, so we embed transparency and accountability for data throughout all of our monitoring and evaluation processes.
The overall goal of our participatory monitoring and evaluation system is to recognize what works and what does not work (and why) within each project implementation. Participatory data sharing events like the one held in Bangladesh allow The Hunger Project to support communities in setting their own priorities in the pathway towards reaching empowerment.
Around the world, 39,000 girls get married every day. This is especially a challenge in low-income countries like Bangladesh where one in three girls will marry before the age of 18.
The baseline data sharing event in Bangladesh was the first time The Hunger Project- Bangladesh had organized this type of activity to engage a communities in dialogue around a research topic of concern in their community. Participants included government officials, elected leaders union members, female leaders, youth volunteers, teachers and students.
Participants presented information about child marriage, expressing their opinions and priorities by placing sticky notes on shared displays— opening up a dialogue about a long-held community issue. The session successfully ended with a joint pledge to reduce child marriage from 81 percent to less than 30 percent in their community.