Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, in collaboration with Access to Information (a2i) Programme and Plan International Bangladesh, has organized a roundtable discussion on the core reasons behind child marriage and early school dropout in the auditorium of the Department of Women Affairs on Saturday 30 April 2016. The discussion was headed by the Honorable Minister Begum Meher Afroz Chumki, M.P. and chaired by the Secretary Nasima Begum ndc.

The main presentation was made by the Director (Innovation) of a2i Program Md. Mustafizur Rahman. He identified some of the core reasons behind the occurrence of child marriage and early school dropout, mentioned the different initiatives undertaken by government and development partners to combat these problems, and outlined areas of future scope to work.

The audience, including public and private sector professionals, were invited to an open floor discussion. From there, different points where identified and jotted down which will be used later to initiate a joint challenge fund by the a2i Program and Plan International Bangladesh. The pilot projects taken through the challenge fund would be closely monitored and guided by the ministry itself.

It is mentionable that, the a2i Program is designing the challenge fund to encourage innovators from the public and private sectors to come up with innovations that can address the nationally important problems affecting the majority of the population. After screening through a competitive process, the best solution providers would get limited funding to pilot their ideas in defined areas of Bangladesh during which time the a2i Program and other fund partners would provide all types of technical support while the relevant ministry would engage selected officers to monitor the progress of the project. Once the pilots are over, the ministry would undertake efforts to scale up the comparably better performing pilots.