Research Grant for Study on Birth Registration for Adolescent Girls in Bangladesh

Can the registration of adolescent girls in developing countries be accelerated disrupting child marriage?

Dr Zaki Wahhaj at the School of Economics, together with Dr Abu Parves Shonchoy at Florida International University, have been investigating how birth registration of adolescent girls in developing countries can be accelerated with the aim of disrupting the traditional practice of female early marriage.

Many children and adolescents around the world today lack official birth records, which may be key to accessing publicly provided health and education services and state protection against the abuse of child rights. In places where birth registration systems have been introduced recently, parents may not be able to bear the costs or lack the necessary information to carry out the registration process.

Grand Challenges Canada, an initiative funded by the Government of Canada and other partners, recently awarded 99,340 CAD to an NGO in Bangladesh, MOMODa Foundation, to test such an innovation. Drs Shonchoy and Wahhaj are serving as scientific advisors on the project. The findings will help understand whether and how strengthening the presence of formal institutions can impact upon the lives of adolescent girls in traditional societies.

Dr Zaki Wahhaj is the convenor for the undergraduate module “Microeconomics of Development” (EC570) as well as the postgraduate module “Development Economics” (EC844) at the School of Economics.