By training journalists, police officers and religious leaders, Sujag Sansar will bring awareness to and discourage the practice of child marriage in Pakistan.

Why we care: The practice of child marriage is widespread in the Dadu Districts of Pakistan, where girls as young as nine-years old are commonly forced into marriage.

How we’re solving this: A series of workshops for religious leaders, police and journalists, will enable communities to take action against perpetrators of  child marriage.

In the Dadu Districts of Pakistan, child marriage is a common practice. Girls are traditionally deemed fit for marriage when they are able to lift a pitcher of water – which often occurs around the age of nine. Some marriages are arranged at birth. There is an urgent need to encourage communities to abandon the practice, allowing girls to continue their education and live a life of dignity. We believe that the best way to change mindsets is to involve three of the most influential groups in our communities: religious leaders, police officer and journalists.

We will hold a one day workshop with Nikahkhwans, the religious men who perform marriage rituals in the Dadu Districts. Due to a lack of information, we have found Nikahkhwans do not show opposition to marrying underage girls. We will present the negative effects of child marriage on the community, encourage them to pledge against carrying out any marriage rituals with underage girls, and to officially register with the government to enhance monitoring.

Journalists also have limited access to information about child marriage, which prevents them from reporting cases. Through a series of workshops, we aim to train 60 journalists on effective reporting. These journalists will be connected by mobile phones to Nikahkhwans and trained ‘area coordinators’ to allow for immediate reporting of planned child marriages.

With police, we will discuss the legal obligation to prevent child marriages and give concrete ways for them to take action against perpetrators. A seminar will be organized at the women’s rights division of the district police officer’s office, bringing together all of the above mentioned groups in a discussion on effective prevention.

To further boost the impact of our work, we will also produce  educational and communications material (such as stickers and posters. These materials will inform the general public and government officials about the harms of child marriage and laws criminalizing the practice. We believe this is an essential part of the project since many government officials and large parts of our communities have limited access to such information.

We believe that by bringing these three influential groups together and educating the community, we can stand united against child marriage,  put an end to this harmful practice and save the lives of hundreds of our little girls.



Sujag Sansar is a member of Girls Not Brides a global partnership of more than 250 non-governmental organizations committed to end child marriage. @GirlsNotBrides