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About Us

Born out of an idea conceived by a number of civil society organizations during a national consultation in July 2022. A small campaign - Child Marriage Free India (CMFI), was launched on 16th October 2022 by the Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Sumedha Kailash, Founder - Bal Ashram, and child leaders Payal Jangid and Puja along with several dignitaries and eminent civil society personalities.

Soon, the Child Marriage Free India campaign became a revolution and spread like wildfire in the country. Youth and women took the message of ending child marriage from Khardung La, in the Leh district of the Indian union territory of Ladakh, to Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India. 

Today, CMFI has become the largest nationwide movement against child marriage in the country, running as a program in 265 districts. During October 2023, the action month of CMFI, 53 notifications were issued by different Government agencies for public participation in support of the program.

Our Demands


Ensure access to free and quality education for all children till class 12 (or 18 years of age, whichever is later)


Dedicated budgetary allocation for schemes and infrastructure for education and vocational training till class 12


Enable real-time attendance data analysis and intervention when irregularities occur


Effective implementation and enforcement of laws against child marriage for all sections of society

Tipping Point to End Child Marriage

Noted child rights activist, author, Supreme Court lawyer and founder of CMFI campaign, Bhuwan Ribhu has authored a ‘When Children Have Children: Tipping Point to End Child Marriage’ and put forth a framework advocating a sustainable, holistic and focused strategy with time-bound targets and measurable indicators to make India child marriage free by 2030. This book shows the path to eliminating child marriage in India within the next decade. As suggested by the author in the book, by adopting a systematic, highly focused, and intensive intervention model, over a phased timeline it is possible to reduce the national child marriage prevalence levels to 5.5% —the threshold, the tipping point, beyond which the prevalence is anticipated to diminish organically with reduced reliance on targeted interventions.

Tipping Point Methodology

The aim of reduction of 60% of child marriage (in each of the phases) is assumed to bring down the incidence of child marriage to 5.5% in the next 9 nine years from 2021, from the last available estimates i.e., NFHS-5, till 2030. An additional assumption is that such a focused and elaborate intervention against child marriage would have a ripple effect. The tipping point analysis has been divided into two phases. The first phase will extend over a period of six years, starting in 2021. Subsequently, the second phase will span over a three-year period. It is expected that the national average for child marriage prevalence (percentage women aged 20-24 who were married before 18 years) would decline from 23.3% to 13.7% if the prevalence of child marriage is reduced by 60% in the 257 high-prevalence districts in the first phase followed by a further reduction of 60% in all districts across the country.

In order to reach the Tipping Point, the author has proposed a strategy at national and district level.

  1. National Level strategy where Governments, Institutions, statutory bodies, etc. work towards prevention, protection, increased investment, improved prosecution, convergence and use of technology for monitoring

  2. District Level strategy is similar to national level strategy but includes district administration, Panchayats, civil society, NGOs, other functionaries, parents and children who work collectively to prevent, report, and take action against child marriage

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PICKET Strategy to Combat Child Marriage

Addressing the issue of child marriage requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach of different government departments, institutions, statutory bodies, and civil society organisations. The Child Marriage Free India campaign is pillared on the ‘PICKET’ strategy as it requires a multi-pronged approach. For India as a nation to end child marriage by 2030, the PICKET strategy would entail the following:


Policy for prevention, protection, prosecution: It is important to ensure parity in the enforcement of laws, and special laws must prevail over customary or personal laws.

The effective implementation and enforcement of existing laws and policies that prohibit child marriage along with swift and decisive justice delivery mechanism are most important steps in checking the prevalence of this crime against children. When prevention of crime is incorporated as a policy, it ensures that the state machinery as well as citizens feel responsible and accountable to prevent child marriage.

Investment in infrastructure, incentivisation and institutions: Investing in child protection institutions, education, healthcare, justice delivery, and rehabilitation framework builds layers which work to prevent and protect children from abuse and exploitation apart from providing legal and mental health support for girls in child marriages.
Infrastructure to support girls at imminent risks of marriages, like institutional alternative care and residential educational facilities are urgently needed to stop their marriages, abuse and exploitation, and provide them with resilient alternatives.

Incentives in the form of conditional cash transfers have shown impact in communities to keep girls in schools delaying marriage decisions. Universalization of these to at-risk families has the potential to stop child marriages and trafficking and abuse of girls for both labour and sexual exploitation.

Convergence of departments, governments and stakeholders in the community: All schemes and interventions geared towards the protection, prevention, education, health and awareness of children and adults affected by child marriage need to operate in sync with each other. Child participation and empowerment is at the core of such convergence aimed at child centric community development. 

Knowledge which equips all the stakeholders to combat child marriage: Enhancing knowledge empowers children, especially boys, to say no to child marriage. When a young man refuses to marry a minor girl, he breaks the cycle of generations of conditioning. It also gives agency to girls to raise their voice and complain when they are forced for marriage against their will or in violation of law. When children, parents, community members and stakeholders participate in decision making equipped with correct and latest knowledge, it can lead to collective action to prevent child marriage.

Ecosystem where child marriage does not thrive: Central to the PICKET strategy is an ecosystem where child marriage is non-existent. In a society where child marriage is pervasive, multi-pronged intervention at all levels is required. To change the societal perception, behaviour and acceptance towards child marriage, the response at scale requires and ecosystem level retaliation.

Technology for monitoring and deterrence to combat child marriage: Enabling real-time attendance data analysis will help reduce child trafficking, child marriage and drop-out rate in schools. Different states are already using technology for awareness campaigns, supporting and monitoring programme interventions, augmenting education and skills outreach. The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence needs explorations in support of child protection and creating a safe and harm-free ecosystem for children.

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