ICRW’s Priya Nanda presents impact and solutions to child marriage at U.S. Senate Briefing

Article Date

29 July 2013

Article Author

ICRW Communications Staff

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

Last week, Girls Not Brides USA, in partnership with UNFPA, the Ford Foundation, VII Agency, and the UN Foundation co-hosted a number of events on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to expose the tragic impact of child marriage and offer solutions.

A congressional reception and a policy briefing took place in conjunction with Too Young To Wed, a haunting exhibition of photographs and multimedia that illustrates child marriage around the world. The exhibit was displayed in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building from July 23, 2013 to July 25, 2013. 

Too Young to Wed features the work of two award-winning journalists: Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Stephanie Sinclair, who documented child marriage during an eight-year period in India, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia; and cinematographer Jessica Dimmock.

The policy briefing gathered leading experts and activists in the field who presented on how the U.S. should position its strategy and mobilize resources toward evidence-based solutions to end the harmful practice of child marriage.

ICRW’s Priya Nanda, Group Director for Reproductive Health and Economic Development for Asia was joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, Stephanie Sinclair, Rachel Vogelstein of Council on Foreign Relations, Jennifer Redner of the International Women’s Health Coalition, Kate Gilmore of the United Nations Population Fund, and Margaret Hempel of the Ford Foundation who moderated the panel.

In her address to high-level officials and lawmakers, Nanda emphasized the need to address child marriage as a gross violation of human rights that is crippling international development efforts.

“Approximately 47% of women 20-24 married before age 18; 40% of the world’s child brides are in India so there is a considerable and urgent need to address this concern,” stated Nanda. 

Nanda discussed the critical role that ICRW has been playing to bear policies and programs globally to end child marriage. In India, ICRW has been working to influence the development of the National Plan of Action to Prevent Child Marriage, which is in the process of being implemented at national and state levels. Nanda emphasized that to change the perceived value of girls, a multi-sectoral and holistic approach that uses multiple interventions at various levels is needed.

“We believe that the U.S. taking a more global leadership on child marriage, and investing significantly in multi-sectoral multi-year programs – including robust evaluation of programs – will strengthen the efforts being spearheaded in India, and in other countries throughout the world,” Nanda said. “Such investments are necessary as child marriage, if not stopped, will continue to constrain social, economic and political development across the globe.”