ACTED’s Communication with Communities team has recently completed its one-month awareness-raising campaign on child marriage which targeted Syrian refugees in Badawa, Baharka, Daratu, Havalan, Pirzeen, Turaq, Shawes, Mamzawa and Kaznazan/Setaqan areas of Erbil City.
The campaign, funded by UNHCR, aimed to achieve behavioural change at the community level through the provision of legal advice and emphasis on service provision from partners such as DVAW and DoLSA. Nine key messages were delivered, including one on the legal age of marriage in KRI (18); and another on the fact that all children have a right to education and to finish their education even if they were married before the legal age of 18.
The child marriage campaign, which consisted of three stages, was centered on dialogical sessions that aimed to go beyond awareness-raising towards an understanding of issues related to child marriage. The first two stages involved community leaders chosen by community members and health, religion, education and legal experts. Sessions in small groups were held in order to facilitate discussions on this contentious issue in a safe and relaxed environment. Four sessions were held in community centres, facilitated by 12 experts and attended by 57 participants, including 17 adolescent girls. 54 sessions were held in private homes, facilitated by 15 experts and were attended by 775 individuals, including 33 boys and 114 girls.
The final stage of the campaign involved 32 wider community sessions in schools attended by Syrian refugees. ACTED partnered with Triangle, Terre des Hommes and Save the Children to deliver the nine key messages through an age-appropriate cartoon, highlighting the benefits for children of delaying marriage to the legal age of 18. These 32 school workshops, jointly facilitated with 26 experts, reached a total of 1,095 persons, including 493 girls and 385 boys.
ACTED’s Communication with Communities activities, funded by UNHCR, will be renewed in 2017 in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah governorates.