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Kendeda Fund Awards Population Media Center $1.4M to Fight Child Marriage in Nepal

Sep 21, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – The Kendeda Fund, a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to supporting the dignity of individuals and the sustainability of communities through investments in transformative leaders and ideas, has awarded $1.4 million to Population Media Center (PMC) for a new national radio serial drama project in Nepal.

The 208-episode Nepali-language drama program will address child marriage and other related issues of early pregnancy, maternal health, reproductive rights, girls’ secondary education, and sexual violence against both women and girls, and will be accompanied by a hosted call-in radio talk show. Together, these radio programs will stimulate positive community discussions on the topic of child marriage and its negative effects on the children, as well as drive measurable changes to the behaviors that perpetuate the harmful traditional practice.

PMC has a proven track record of using entertainment-education programming to shift cultural attitudes around tough social issues, and will coordinate with the efforts of other development partners also working on child marriage, including CARE Nepal, UNICEF, and UNFPA. PMC’s VP for International Programs, Kriss Barker, and Director of Program & Partnership Development, Stephanie Tholand, will travel to Nepal at the end of September 2015 to establish PMC’s in-country operations and to launch the project.

With the nation still rebuilding after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in April 2015, the urgency to address this pervasive norm is only heightened. The rate of child marriage in Nepal, estimated at 4 in 10 girls married before age 18, was far higher than the worldwide average even prior to the earthquake. In the wake of natural disasters, child marriage rates often increase: families suddenly facing diminished resources and security may see marriage as a means of protection for their daughters, and girls who have lost one or both parents are at far greater risk of discontinued education, trafficking, or abduction. The Government of Nepal remains committed to its goal of ending child marriage by 2020, and is partnered with several international organizations on national efforts with which PMC will coordinate.

“No child should be married. Instead, they deserve an education,” said PMC President, Bill Ryerson.

“When it comes to the task of ending child marriage, it is essential to address the gender biases and poverty that are deeply entrenched in society and require a significant coordinated effort to turn toward a positive direction. How well a society treats its children and women is one of the strongest indicators of the success and health of a society. By providing girls with an education, ensuring women have a voice in family decisions, and providing women with opportunities for economic freedom, we build stronger future generations.”


Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world.


The Kendeda Fund is a private grantmaking foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia. The foundation empowers communities across the US and around the globe to develop solutions that increase equity, vibrancy, resourcefulness, and resilience. They also help underrepresented but trusted voices build and sustain social and community capital by supporting experienced, and emerging, leaders who have the vision to see problems differently and the courage to challenge conventional thinking.  And they work to shift perceptions and disrupt the status quo by supporting projects that challenge social, economic, and ecological assumptions. Learn more at