LAHORE, Oct 02 (APP):The Punjab Women Development Department (WDD) and UNICEF Pakistan are set to collaborate on a crucial awareness campaign to combat child marriages in Punjab, coinciding with the “16 Days of Activism.”
A UNICEF team, led by Adeel Jafferi, Communication and SBC (social and behavior change) Specialist Child Protection, held a productive meeting with Sumaira Samad, Secretary of the Women Development Department, to discuss the important endeavor here on Monday.
The meeting, witnessed the participation of Nabeela Javaid, Secretary of the Punjab Commission on The Status of Women (PCSW), and Hafiz Ubaidullah Zakria, Deputy Secretary of the Women Development Department.
The WDD Secretary highlighted that the Women Development Department plays a pivotal role in advocating for child protection issues and fostering coordination with relevant stakeholders. Numerous collaborative sessions have been conducted with the Local Government Department to address child marriages, Nikah registration, polygamy, and related matters in Punjab.
It was noted during the meeting that the Christian Marriage Act does not specify a minimum age for marriage, highlighting the need for legal amendments.
The secretary emphasized the importance of implementing the Child Marriage Act uniformly across Punjab, irrespective of religious affiliations. Startling data revealed an increase in child marriages in flood-affected areas, underscoring the need for targeted interventions in these regions.
She stressed the significance of interdepartmental coordination involving agencies such as the local government department, police, women ombudsperson, and others to effectively address the issue of child marriages.
The UNICEF team commended the WDD secretary for her unwavering commitment to this critical cause and dedication to protecting the rights of children in Punjab.
Sumaira Samad said the fight against child marriages demands collective efforts and unwavering commitment. “We are committed to working closely with UNICEF and other stakeholders to protect the rights and well-being of our children” she added.
Adeel Jafferi, Communication and SBC Specialist Child Protection, UNICEF Pakistan, stated, “We are privileged to have a meeting with the Women Development Department concerning our shared mission to combat child marriages. The secretary’s passion and the collaborative spirit displayed during this meeting are truly commendable.”