A recent study on the impact of COVID-19 on child marriage in Cox’s Bazar district has uncovered rates of child marriage soared throughout the district since March 2021, with the highest increase of 82% in Eidgaon Upazila and the second highest increase of 75% in Ukhiya Upazila.
The study was carried out by the COAST foundation in 32 Union Parishads and 3 municipalities throughout nine Upazilas in the district. COAST foundation conducted the study from 4 August to 26 September 2021 covering all Upazila of Cox's Bazar.
The study findings were presented from a virtual press conference on Saturday. Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Foundation, the findings were presented by Jahangir Alam, Assistant Director of COAST.
In his keynote, Jahangir Alam noted that the trend not only increased in each upazila under the district , but also the high rates of increase. Apart from Eidgaon and Ukhiya, we had Ramu at 72%, Teknaf 66%, Moheskhali 61%, Kutubdia 54%, and Cox’s Bazar Sadar 51%. Only in Chokoria (32%) and Pekua (26%) do they fall below 50%.
In another presentation on the multidimensional impact of child marriage, Md. Mujibul Haque Munir, Joint Director of the same organization, said due to such high rates of child marriage, the birth rate in Bangladesh is highest in South Asia. Child marriage eats up 9% of women's income and 1% of national income. Eliminating child marriage by 2030 could save 11% of our educational budget, he said.