On 19 April, 2017 by the initiative of Access to Information (a2i) Programme of prime Minister’s Office, the project called ‘Age verification and marriage registration through mobile apps’ was inaugurated through video conferencing. The aim of the project is to prevent child marriage through using this apps.

The project was inaugurated by Meher Afroz Chumki MP, the State Minister of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs through video conferencing in Gazipur; Kabir Bin Anwar, Director-General (Administration) of Prime Minister’s Office and Project Director of a2i Programme and Khan Mohammad Abdul Mannan Inspector General of Registration were present as  special guest in this opening ceremony.

The Deputy Commissioner of Kurigram district delivered the welcome speech at the beginning of the ceremony. After this, a brief introduction about the innovative initiative was given by Md. Abdul Wares Ansari, Assistant Commissioner of Kurigram district. The state minister delivered her speech in this ceremony and stated that, ‘the prevention of child marriage will be helpful for reducing violence against women in the country; we hope, completely the Child marriage will be stopped by 2018’’.

Later, a video was shown on this subject. At the end of the video, the chief guest gave his speech and announced the inauguration of the program in the digital system. At the end, special guests were delivered the speech.

Under this project, the registered online birth and death registration authorities, national identity card authorities, the religious leaders who are registered with the marriage registrar and engaged the marriage ceremonies (Maulvi, Muazzin, Priest, Priest, etc.) will be able to play a vital role to prevent child marriage through verifying the age.

When registering each marriage, the marriage registrar must verify the age of bridegroom by dialing a USSD code (* 16100 #) with her mobile phone or by sending SMS to 16100. Registration of marriage will be completed if the age appropriate. After registering the marriage registrar, the system will receive a 12 digit ID number which will be registered as the registration number of the corresponding marriage register (Balaam book). In this process, the information regarding the registration of marriage registration through mobile phone SMS is sent to one of both bride and groom members. If the efforts taken locally to prevent child marriage fails, its remedies and irregularities in registering marriage on mobile are required calling the National Helpline (109) free from any mobile.

Director General of Governance Innovation Unit, Md Abdul Halim, Director General of Women’s Affairs, Shahin Ahmed Chowdhury, Director General of Women’s Affairs, and Project Director of Multi-sectroal Program, Dr. Md. Abul Hossain and Women and Children Affairs Ministry and senior officials of the Department of Women Affairs, Inspector of the Department of Registration, SM Saidur Rahman, Kurigram District Registrar, Women Affairs Officer, Kurigram District Officer; Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh, the officials of Save the Children, officials of Prime Minister’s Office and a2i program and media representatives were also present on the occasion.

It is noted that, making people’s services easier, ensuring service for all, helping government, private and individual innovation efforts to improve the quality of public services, to ensure the normal and self-reliant lifestyle of the disabled people and to develop innovative skills in the existing small and medium enterprises “Service Innovation Fund” is done. The fund, consisting of the Bangladesh Government, UNDP and USAID, is being run through a2i Programme implemented in the Prime Minister’s Office. Under this, a total of 133 projects have been awarded in 8 rounds. Meanwhile, verification of age verification and marriage registration was made by mobile phone service provider of Service Innovation Fund, conducted by Kurigram Deputy Commissioner’s Office.