Child Marriage Free Village initiative through Nirvaya Kadhi-An innovation in ending child marriage in Odisha, Women & Child Development Department, Government of Odisha

SKOCH Award Nominee

Category: Planning & Convergence – State
Sub-Category: subPlanning & Convergence – State
Project: Child Marriage Free Village initiative through Nirvaya Kadhi, Women and Child Development Department, Odisha
Start Date: 2019-09-19
Organisation: Department of Women & Child Development, Govt. of Odisha
Respondent: Ms Anupama Sahu, State Consultant, Adolescent Empowerment and Ending Child Marriage
www. &
Level: Excellence Plus


See Presentation


Case Study

The Nirvaya Kadhi (Fearless adolescent) a district flagship programme is a step towards ending Child Marriage in Odisha that has enabled creation and strengthening of child protection structures at village, Gram Panchayat, Block and District levels. It has successfully used a mix of strategies and activities by leveraging existing schemes and engaging multiple stakeholders in the system. It has empowered government functionaries at all levels to take responsibility for change. The success of the programme has paved the way for its adoption by the Government of Odisha at the state level. 

The efforts are being made by the Government of Odisha are in line with the SDG 5 (achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls), to eliminate child marriage in the state in a systematic and time-bound manner. With a vision to make Odisha child marriage free by 2030, the state launched and rolled out a Strategy Action Plan to end child marriage in 2019 in all 30 districts across the state. It is a multi-sectoral and concerted plan of action effort of the State, Districts and partner agencies including civil society organisations and communities. It contexualised District Action Plans with district specific strategies and innovations for smooth implementation at ground level.

Situation Analysis

  • % of women aged 20-24 years married by 18 years – National 29.8%; State: 21.3%
  • % of women aged 15-19 years who were already mothers or pregnant at the  time of survey – National 10%; State: 7.6%
  • Girls drop-out rate at secondary level – 20.03% in Ganjam; Odisha-29%; India-  20%
  • Gender based inequality in health, education, nutrition,  decision making and ownership – most vulnerable being adolescents


This programme aimed at reaching out to adolescent girls on a regular basis with information and knowledge, improving services of existing schemes and promoting adolescent empowerment and ending child marriage. Recognising the need to drive change at multiple levels, the Nirvaya Kadhi programme incorporated a comprehensive strategy to deliver on its goal of reducing child marriage in the district. The key aspects of the programme include:

  • Convergence between various sectors to provide context-specific solutions to end child marriage
  • Formation of committees at village, Gram Panchayat, Block and District levels to play a proactive role in stopping child marriage
  • Coordinated implementation approach and collaboration among stakeholders to build alignment and maximise impact
  • Sensitisation of staff, law enforcement officers, key government officials
  • Strengthening of existing structures
  • Creating awareness in the community – motivating adolescents, engaging traditional leaders, parents etc
  • Regular review meetings for monitoring programme activities, tracking and counselling dropouts
  • By 2024, reduce child  marriages: girls, from 21.3% to 10 %; and, boys, from 11% to 6%
  • By 2030, end Child  Marriage in Odisha


  • There was silence around child marriage – lack of effective response mechanism to reach girls at risk
  • Low public awareness of the illegal nature of child marriage and its consequences.
  • Coordination gaps among various authorities at all levels
  • Bringing people/stakeholders in one place and planning convergence of all stakeholders/partners/institutions/agencies
  • Sensitising the community, especially the parents, religious leaders, tribal/village heads etc. on harmful practices and social norms of child marriage
  • Poor implementation of existing laws, child marriage treated as less priority in state and district development plan


  • Guideline issued by the State for institutional arrangement and functioning of task force/committees at all levels
  • Leverage of resources and State budget for implementation of Strategy Action Plan to end child marriage
  • Regular capacity building of district officials and field functionaries
    • Mapping & Tracking of adolescents
    • Engaging traditional/religious leaders as allies
    • Creation of an adolescent platform – Say NO to Child Marriage
    • Fixed Day meeting – dedicated ‘Nirvaya Kadhi Day’
    • Social media to intensify outreach activities
  • Engaging and educating men and boys to understand that women’s rights are human rights is an important part of changing attitudes and behaviours
  • Importance to acknowledge the role men and boys play in the practice of child marriage, either through their role as a father, brother, uncle, elder, husband-to-be, or as a traditional or religious leader


The Government of Odisha launched massive efforts to address the situation of child marriage in the state. It constituted a High Level Committee, under the chairpersonship of the Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD), to review the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 and Odisha Prohibition of Child Marriage Rules, 2019 and formulate and roll out the State Strategy to end child marriage. Following action plan was made:

  • Regular training of functionaries
  • Issuing guidelines at district, block and panchayat levels – providing a clear outline of roles and reporting formats for the Committees/Task Forces
  • Prioritizing key field action points and setting of target with timeline
  • Formation of DTF and committees
  • Meeting of District Task Force & conceptualisation and consultative workshop/meetings
  • Preparation and implementation of District Action Plan
  • Launch of Nirvaya Kadhi programme
  • Creating awareness in the community
  • Leverage of resources/fund from partner departments/Corporates/NGOs etc
  • ‘Men-streaming’ – engaging men and boys, families and communities in entire campaign and programme for bringing gender sensitivity
  • Designing survey format and tracking of adolescents by AWWs through door to door visits
  • Creation of database used for monitoring programme coverage, mapping vulnerable children and linking them to social protection schemes
  • Engaging with Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) to create awareness in the community
  • Folk art, wall paintings, banners and hoardings, conducting rallies and audio announcements are the communication tools and methods used to generate awareness and engage in community dialogue
  • The campaign promotes prevention as a universal  personal responsibility – making prevention & active  rejection of child marriage everyone’s responsibility
  • Tracking of all adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 18 Years and boys of 14 to 21 years


  • Greater awareness of Law, rules and consequences of early/child marriage
  • Reduction of child marriages (from 2017 to 2020) – Child marriages prevented in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 324, 411, 657 and 1,179 respectively
  • 4,50,000 Students from 3,614 schools made a public declaration to say NO to child marriage.
  • 3,259 village and 1,83,933 of adolescent girls (11-18 years) reached
  • 1,032 villages and 140 wards are declared  CMF (32% of total 3,259 villages of the  district)
  • 1,179 child marriages successfully prevented in State in 2020 (Jan-Dec) with Ganjam as project district prevented 228
  • In 2021 from Jan-June, 791 child marriages prevented by state in 16-high priority districts, out of which Ganjam could prevent 125
  • 3,843 villages (8%) of the  State (53,854) are declared child  marriage free by April 2021
  • Increased reporting of child marriage prevented cases
  • Responsive mechanism/institutional arrangement in place
  • Vulnerable children were traced and tracked, supportive rehabilitation/linkage provided
  • Strengthened community surveillance and increased reporting and timely prevention of more child marriages
  • Increased willingness of girls towards higher education
  • Parents have started giving equal importance to both boys’ and girls’ education

As a result of girls marrying after the legal age, low birth weight rates have come down

For more information, please contact:
Ms Anupama Sahu, State Consultant, Adolescent Empowerment and Ending Child Marriage at

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    1. Educate your girl child like you do for your son.They are not brides.This will help the society to grow more and bring down the rate of child marriage…

    2. I protest against child marriage because It negatively influences children’s rights to education, health and protection. These consequences impact not just the girl directly, but also her family and community.

  1. I agree with the govt. decisions about child marriage . Respect collector , CDPO’s are working as per govt. guideline and taking necessary measures.
    I’m in favour of the Govt. Of Odisha Guideline about child marriage.

    1. Please save the girls
      And also stop the child marriage
      And don’t judge girls because now girls also work like boys , in police force , hospitals ect ect . And girls can do everything what boys do 👩‍⚕️👩‍✈️👩‍🔬👩‍🔧👩‍🏫👩‍🎓👩‍💻👩‍⚖️👩‍💼

  2. I agree with the govt. decisions about child marriage . Respect collector , CDPO’s are working as per govt. guideline and taking necessary measures.
    I’m in favour of the Govt. Of Odisha Guideline about child marriage

  3. I agree with the govt. decisions about child marriage . Respect collector , CDPO’s are working as per govt. guideline and taking necessary measures.
    I’m in favour of the Govt. Of Odisha Guideline about child marriage.

  4. Child marriage nihati aka aparadha.samaste ehaku birodh karantu.adlesent mananku bipadare pakaiba.pilae badhantu,padhantu,o future gadha brest feeding day re samasta maa mananku anurodha,semane tanka pilanku se adhikara diantu.nije sustha ruhantu o pilanku madhya.thankyou.

  5. Child Marriage ends Childhood.It negatively influences Children’s rights to Education,Health & Protection.
    “We Should raise our voice Against Child Marriage.”
    I agree with govt Decision stop Child Marriage.👍

  6. Child marriage is just like the cronic dease of the present society, which must be stopped in any cost….to save the life of the unblowings….

  7. Child marriage is just like a chronic deases for present society… which must be stopped at any cost to save the life of unblowings…. I must b work hard in this regard….

  8. Child Marriage Free Village initiative through Nirvaya Kadhi-An innovation in ending child marriage in Odisha program is a versatile and dynamic imagination. It will be helpful to decrease child marriage and will sensitize all round development of child.

  9. Stop Child marriage to save the precious childhood of a child.A child needs education not marriage to lead a prosperous life.
    It’s a great initiative.

  10. Ghare Ghare arunima is very useful thing to us.
    Different pre school activities by the children lead by the parents and his/her family member.and special focus on how to remain protect from corona virus infection, particular social distancing