Bangladesh launching Red Card Campaign to prevent child marriage, sexual harassment

The government is going to launch a school-level campaign against child marriage and sexual harassment in Bangladesh.

Published : 6 Sept 2016, 04:05 PM
Updated : 6 Sept 2016, 04:05 PM

The country is criticised for its high incidence of child marriage in the world. The latest survey, however, showed the under-18 marriage had declined to 59 percent in 2014 from 65 percent in 2011 – the biggest drop in recent decades.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged to eliminate this menace by 2040 in the 2014 Girl Summit in London.

The government’s Upazila Governance Project (UZGP) on Tuesday said they would launch the “Red Card Campaign” on Wednesday to raise awareness about the menace and prevent them.

The project has prepared a ‘red card’ with slogans against early marriage and sexual harassment.

Calls can be made at two hotline numbers of Upazila Nirbahi officer (UNO) and vice-chair (female) of Upazila Parishad to seek help from local administration to prevent those social ills.

The project will cover some 195 high schools under 65 Upazilas of seven selected districts – Kishoreganj, Brahmanbarhia, Sirajganj, Khulna, Barguna, Sunamganj and Rangpur.

Officials are expecting to mobilise around 150,000 high school students, teachers, guardians and community people to fight those issues.

The campaign will launched from Jamtoil Dhopakandi Girls’ High School in Kamarkandi Upazila in Sirajganj district.

The schools will hold a day-long workshop and discussion with students, teachers, guardians, government officials, local opinion leaders and community people about the consequences of early marriage and sexual harassment and the way-out.

The Red Cards will be distributed among the students during the workshop and they will take oath to fight against the issues.

A complaint box will be set up in each school and a school-level prevention-committee will be formed to address the social ills.

The project is being implemented with the technical and financial support of the EU, Switzerland, the UNDP and the UNCDF.

In 2015, the project had carried out the same programme in 130 high schools under 65 Upazila Parishads of seven districts and mobilised 100, 000 community people to combat gender-based violence, said a statement.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher