BNPS organized a convention through its Safe School Safe Community project at Public Hall Auditorium, Netrakona on 22 August 2015 with the participation of civil society, local administration, teachers, students, SMC members from schools and community members. The tagline of the convention was “Ending violence against women and girls is possible, if we try it together.” Ms. Rokeya Kabir, Executive Director, BNPS, urged for ensuring equal citizenship and security for women in light of the liberation war of Bangladesh in her speech as the chair of the convention. She also told that the world is being changed with the advancement of technology and we have to adapt the changes to remain in the modern society which contains gender equality.
Mr. Arif Khan Joy, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, GOB was present as the Chief Guest of the convention. He said that we have to respect each other overcoming the traditional gender discriminating rules and norms of the society. He acknowledged the role of BNPS in promoting women rights and women empowerment and said that these initiatives are complementing the steps taken by the government of Bangladesh.
Special guest Mr. Anower Hossain Akondo, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) thanked BNPS for organizing the program. He said that the rich men in the society used to skip the punishment of crimes which results in increasing the crime-tendency in the society. He also said that we should be aware and have to take necessary steps to ensure the rights of women and girls.
On the day at 10:30 in the morning the convention was started with the National Anthem of the country with the presence of 675 participants (Women 325, Men 350). The other distinguished guests were Mr. Golam Ershadur Rahman, Folklore Researcher; Ms. Rehena Siddika, General Secretary, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Netrakona District; Dr. Abdul Hamid, social leaders of Netrakona; Mr. Saidur Rahman and Prof. Golam Rasul Talukdar; who delivered their valuable speeches in the event.
The students Tanjina Akter, Papiya Nancy Prova and SD Selina sang issue based songs on violence against women in the program. Shafia Mustari Shefa, Atikul Islam Rakib and Manjuratur Rahman Mishti delivered their speeches on behalf of the students. They highlighted the traditional outlook of family, school, society and state towards women and girls, discrimination in distribution of work and enjoying rights, unsafe roads and workplace for women.
Mr. Jibon Chandra Sarkar and Ms. Shipra Rani Chakroborti delivered their speeches as the representatives of guardians. They said how traditional view and outlook of parents, guardians and society creates obstacles on the life of women especially adolescent girls as well as development. The teacher’s representatives Md. Lutfar Haider Fakir and Ms. Kamrun Nahar highlighted the safety issues of girls on the way of schools and inside the schools as well as discrimination of teachers against girls in their speeches. They urged for cooperation and support from community to ensure safety and security of girls on the way to schools.
Besides, Tanha Begum, student of Netrakona Model Girls High School read out the declaration of the convention. The declaration includes some recommendations to the government for making the family, school and society safe for girl children:
Mr. Quazi Rabiul Alam, Coordinator of Safe School Safe Community project delivered the welcome speech on behalf of BNPS describing the background, goal, objective, expected outputs, activities of the project and expectation from the district level stakeholders convention at the first part of the event.
- Comprehensive information related to gender, women rights, the acts, rules and laws to prevent violence against women and girls should be incorporated into the text books developed by NCTB. The teachers training materials also should include the above mentioned information to make it gender sensitive. Separate training should be compulsory for teachers on these issues and a separate budget should be allocated for implementing this.
- The involvement with schools of family and community members should be increased through monthly/quarterly sharing meetings where issues like safety of students and children especially girls and the role of society in this regard can be discussed.
- Preventing sexual harassment policy should be prepared in all schools and proper implementation should be ensured through proper monitoring by following the rule of the High Court.
- The High court rules should be converted into law and the rulings should be placed on boards in all the schools openly for teachers and students.