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End Child Marriage

Child marriage violates human rights and hinders child development. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 defines child marriage as involving individuals under 18 for girls and 21 for boys. Despite this law, underage marriages persist in India, often disguised as tradition. This practice deprives girls of education and scars them physically and emotionally, leading to higher mortality rates.

ICP aims to change community behaviour by raising awareness, promoting education, and empowering women and girls to eliminate child marriage.


  • Every year on average 1,621,257 girls (below the age of 18) are getting married. This translates into 4,442 girls every day, 185 girls every hour, 3 getting married every minute! (Census, 2011) 

  • In India, 23.3% of women (between the 20-24 age group) were married before they turned 18 (2019-2021, NFHS-5). 


Child marriage is a crisis of health, education, and protection. It is an impending child rape. Infant mortality is also a consequence of child marriage, which stands at 45 per 1,000 live births (by mothers below 20 years of age) as compared to 33 (by mothers between the age group of 20-29 years) (2019-2021, NFHS-5).


Child Marriage Free India (CMFI), a nationwide campaign, aims to attain the tipping point to end child marriages by 2030. This is being done by initially targeting high-prevalence districts and gradually focusing on the other districts of the country. 


By adopting a systematic, highly focused, and intensive intervention model, it is possible to reduce the current national child marriage prevalence rate of 23.3% to 5.5% —the threshold, beyond which it is anticipated to diminish organically with reduced reliance on targeted interventions.


The campaign has adopted the PICKET strategy to achieve the tipping point and accomplish the target by 2030 as it requires a multi-pronged approach – 

- Policy for prevention, protection, and prosecution. 
- Investment in infrastructure, incentivisation, and institutions.
- Convergence of departments, governments, and stakeholders in the community. 
- Knowledge that equips all stakeholders to combat child marriage. 
- Ecosystem where child marriage does not thrive. 
- Technology for monitoring and deterrence of child marriage.


  • Through grassroots partner organizations, CMFI is currently working in districts with a high prevalence of child marriage, targeting awareness generation through sensitisation and legal action to stop child marriage in 31,150 villages. 

  • The campaign prevents child marriage at the community level through awareness and empowerment programs, and by directly stopping planned child marriages. At state and national levels, it advocates for stronger institutions, better infrastructure, free education up to grade 12 or age 18, increased social protection, and robust enforcement of existing laws. 

  • Each community social worker employed is responsible for recording all children and stopping incidences of child marriage through persuasion and legal action, in the villages where they are working.

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