Child Marriage Free Zones

Establishing Child Marriage Free Zones (CMFZ) Union Councils in Pakistan Matiari district in Province Sindh, the first Child Marriage Free Zone ITA and HANDS collaborate with A World At School (AWAS) for CMFZ  Matiari Ranks

Matiari District Profile

Province : Sindh
District : Matiari
Population : Estimated: 834,660


District Matiari was previously a taluka of district Hyderabad. On the 4th of May 2005, this taluka/sub-distroct was separated from Hyderabad and was awarded the status of a district.
Historically, this region was ruled by different dynasties, including the Soomras, the Summas the Arghuns, the Kalhoras and the Talpurs. When Britain invaded the subcontinent, General Charles Napier, a commander in the British Army, defeated the Talpur dynasty and conquered Sindh in 1843. He was appointed as the first Governor General of Sindh.
The estimated population of 2014 is 834,660, showing a 37 percent increase in 16 years. (1998 to 2014). Matiari is categorized by a high growth rate of 2.88% per annum, which means that the population will double itself in the next 24 years7. 43 % of the population is below 15 years and 3 percent is 65 years or above.

Gender Specific Information

Out of the total population, 52 percent are male and 48 percent are females. Women and minority groups frequently have less social, economic and political power and are not represented in the formal leadership structures. There are 300,486 registered voters having 143,225 women voters.

Education Profile- Matiari

The education status is quite poor in district Matiari. The overall literacy rate (for the Population of 10 years and above) is 48% (female 32%) whilst in urban areas it is 62% (male: 74% And female: 49%); whereas the rural literacy rate is 43% (male: 59% and female: 26%).

ASER 2013 & PSLMs Findings 2012-13:

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2013) for Matiari reveals that 36% children of age group 6-16 are out of school compared to the provincial status of 29%. Around 65% children of age group 3-5 are unable to attend school whilst for age 6-16 the enrolment rate is 64%. The Net Enrolment Rate (NER) for primary level is 54% (girls 47% ) NER for Middle is 29 % (girls 23%) and for matric/grade 10 it is 16 % (girls 7 %). Learning levels of girls are poor trailing behind boys in all grade 2 level competencies in basic Sindhi, English, and Arithmetic.


ASER 2013 – Matiari District Profile of Children Enrolled 6-16 by age, and type of school

Status of Child Marriages in Matiari District-Sindh

Nearly 72 per cent girls in Sindh are married before they turn 18, and this phenomenon is no longer restricted to rural parts of the province. Study conduct in two districts Matiari and Jacobabad by HANDS in collaboration with Rutgers WPF Pakistan. The study indicates that ” child marriage is the most prevalent form of violence against women”. It leads to estrangement from the family at a very young age, before a child is strong enough to live by herself. It represses individual freedom and curtails the right to pursue health choices. Child marriages may also result in bonded labour, slavery and domestic violence —50 percent of perpetrators of violence are male relatives. Early marriage is also often associated with wife abandonment, divorce and separation.

In rural Matiari, the age for girls contracting marriage was reported to be around 12 to 13 years in a majority of community discussions and even between 8 and 10 in a few others. For boys, the average age group was between 18 and 20 years. In contrast, data from urban Matiari puts the mean age for girls at 18 years and between 22 and 25 for boys.

If a girl is not married soon after puberty then she becomes a threat to the family’s honor.”

Respondent from Matiari

Findings from urban areas of Matiari where education and awareness is relatively high suggest that there is lesser discrimination against girls in terms of education, nutrition, privileges, freedom of movement, participation in celebrations and jobs. Men shared that they celebrate the birth of a girl with more fervor than that of a boy because a boy could grow up to become a ‘loafer’ but a girl would grow up and serve her parents and keep them happy.

Yet, female education is considered shameful by many. Usually after grade five girls are sent to the field to work and then married off as soon as it is convenient.

It was my ardent wish, to have my daughter continue her studies after primary level. But my entire family opposed me. I was so helpless to not be able to do anything.”

-A mother from Matiari

Partners for CMFZ/Union Council in District Matiari

  • Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)
  • AACM – Alliance Against Child Marriages
  • MPA/MNA- Parliamentarians
  • Media
  • Lawyers- Bar-Association
  • Youth Groups and Education Youth Ambasadors
  • A World At School
  • Global Business Council for Education
  • Pakistan Working Group for GBC Ed


  • ASER 2013 PSLMs:
  • An Account of consultative progress on child marriages by HANDS