Empowering the Girls and the Youthsocial Development
Although the girls’ education rate is increasing in Bangladesh. In secondary level education, girls’ enrollment rate higher than that of the boys but greater divergence yet is seen according to wealth quintiles: 50 percent of the wealthiest children complete upper secondary school but only 12 percent of the poorest. In 2021, at the upper secondary level 54.5% of who did not complete are girls.
Keeping in prime consideration the issue of “Safeguarding”, RDF carefully considers “Safe designing including risk assessments”, “Safe preparing”, “Safe implementation” and “Safe review” using “Intersectional Lens” and Gender with all diversity.
Resource Development Foundation (RDF)has been implementing four years “Combating Early Marriage in Bangladesh(CEMB)” project since 2019 funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The CEMB project is being implemented in four Upazilas of Jhalakati District in partnership with Plan International Bangladesh.
Objectives of the project
1) Increased agency of adolescent girls and boys to protect themselves from harmful gender norms and practices, including CEFM, and exercise choice about their futures via enhanced economic empowerment, knowledge and capacity;
2) Improved community acceptance of norms that value the girl child and actions that support girls and boys to delay marriage by building the ability and capacity of champion fathers, mothers, and community gatekeepers.
3) Increased responsiveness of duty bearers at national, district and sub-district (Upazila) level to prevent and respond to child rights violations, particularly CEFM by scaling up of the SMS-based age verification and online marriage registration systems. All 3 components will be implemented in 4 Upazilas in Jhalokati district.
The Girls Get Equal (GGE) programme is being implemented in Taltoli sub-districts of Barguna district, in the southern part of Bangladesh. The overall objective of the programme is to reduce the incidence of child marriage in 7 unions of Taltoli sub-districts within the district of Barguna. Taltoli have been selected specifically because of their low score on SRHR indicators, such as lack of access to quality SRH services and poor knowledge of SRHR issues. Taltoli is also a particularly vulnerable area in terms of natural disasters, floods and cyclones, which exacerbates child marriage. The number of extreme poor people living in Taltoli 12 % (while the national average is 12.9%).[i]
Specifically, the programme aims to deliver and achieve the following outcomes:
Outcome 1: Retention of girls in school
- 40 secondary schools, including madrassahs and TVET institutions will be supported to strengthen the implementation of ‘Safe, Inclusive and Girls-friendly schools’
- 2160 out-of-school children receive accelerated or alternative basic education
- 390 educational staff will be trained in code of conduct and inclusive pedagogy
Outcome 2: Knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights among adolescents
- 5130 adolescents have knowledge of quality SRHR
- 320 educational staff and trainers are trained on SRHR
- 1891 traditional initiators, parents or relevant local actors receive training on SRHR
Outcome 3: Strengthened economic opportunities for girls and families at high risk of CEFM
- Facilitate skills and employment opportunities for decent incomes for 825 youth, focusing especially on girls
- 750 critically poor families at high risks of CEFM receive economic support so they do not need to marry off children due to poverty
Outcome 4: Communities embrace social norms that value the girl child and support them to delay marriage
- 8999 community members receive awareness-raising on gender equality, child rights and CEFM
- 1920 girls and boys receive training on gender equality, child rights and CEFM (using the Champion of Change methodology)
Outcome 5: Increased responsiveness of duty bearers at national, district, and sub-district levels to prevent and respond to child rights violations, particular CEFM.
- 50 CBCP committees/mechanisms are functional and with higher sustainability level
- 24 civil society organizations engaged in advocacy relating to CEFM, including child protection, child rights, inclusion, gender equality
- 614 official duty bearers/CBCP members trained
- 12 civil society organisations have increased capacity on policy advocacy
RDF mobilized 242,375 women, 108,890 youths including adolescent girls, 77,418 parents/adults and 2,961 other stakeholders. The main focuses of Community Mobilization are “Combatting Early Marriage and Creating Scope for Exploring Girls’ Potentials”, “Stop Violence Against Women (including domestic violence)”, “Child and youth Safeguarding”, “Campaign on Girls’ Education”, “Skills Development”, “Coping with Climate Change Vulnerabilities” and mobilizing towards “Women Economic Empowerment”.