The speakers of a sharing meeting on “Safe School Safe Community to End Violence against Women” demand this to make schools and community safe for women and girls. They also urged to ensure it through proper monitoring by both education department of Bangladesh government and community. Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) organized this meeting on 9 June 2015 at VIP Lounge of National Press Club, Dhaka. Ms. Rokeya Kabir, Executive Director of BNPS moderated over the meeting where Dr. Ainoon Nahar, Professor, Dept. of Anthropology of Jahangirnagar University presented the keynote paper.
The discussants of the meetings emphasized on strict law enforcement to stop ever increasing violence and oppression against women and girls. Change of mindset and perception of men is very important in this regard to eliminate violence against women and girls from the society. They said increasing critical understanding of teachers, parents, guardians and family members should be given proper importance to prevent increasing rate of girl students’ dropout due to sexual harassment, child marriage and other reasons.
The discussants also urged to include comprehensive information on gender, women rights, the acts, rules and law enforcement to prevent violence against women and girls in the books developed by NCTB. Speakers also urged to initiate compulsory separate trainings for teachers on these issues, for which separate budget should be allocated by the government.
They said the involvement of family and community members should be increased through monthly/quarterly sharing meetings where issues like safety of children especially girls and the role of society in this regard can be discussed.
Dr. Naseem Akhter Hussain, Professor, Dept. of Government and Politics of Jahangirnagar University and Dr. Syed Md. Saikh Imtiaz, Chair, Dept. of Women and Gender Studies, University of Dhaka were present there as panel discussants. Ms. Christine Hunter, Country Representative of UN Women; Mr. Abdul Wadud, MP and Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance Ministry; Md. Mohammad Hasan Mahmood, MP and Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Education Ministry; Ms. Fazilatunnesa Indira, MP and Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Professor Narayan Chandra Paul, Chair of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board delivered their valuable speeches and comments as special guests. Moreover Ms. Momtaz Latif; Professor Nur Mohammad Talukdar; Ms. Tahsina Akter; Mr. ANS Habibur Rahman; Mr. Mahfuzul Bari Chowdhury; Mr. Samsuzzaman Sazan; Ms. Inun Nahar; Mr. Shahidul Islam and Mr. Nurunnabi Shanto participated in the open discussion session of the meeting. Teachers Uttam Kumar Acharya from Chittagong, Mr. Golam Mostafa from Netrakona and Ms. Jakia Barira from Dhaka and Student Jaya Mondal of class eight also participated in the discussion.
In the keynote paper of the meeting, Dr. Ainoon Nahar presented some important findings gathered from the baseline survey and periodical monitoring reports conducted under “Safe School Safe Community” project implemented by BNPS. The baseline survey of the project shows that more than 50% girl students do not consider their school safe. They think that their schools, ways to schools, coaching centers and nearby areas of schools are not safe for them. Hence the project included actions to create safe environment by making violence and fear-free society by the side of empowerment of girl students through information and training. Even the project has taken initiative to provide kung fu and karate training to the girl students to increase their self-confidence and self-defense capacity.