Women and girls are not safe anywhere inside or outside the house. More importance must be given to making public gatherings and walkways safe for women. There is no alternative to public awareness to prevent violence and harassment against women. In order for a woman to be safe and to walk smoothly, she must have to ensure a suitable environment. Besides, the youths have to come forward. These were the words of the speakers at a departmental workshop on “Women’s Safety Campaign in Public Places” in Barisal. The skill upgrading program for youth volunteers was jointly conducted by the National Human Rights Commission, the Center for Research and Information (CRI), and Youthnet for Climate Justice.
The session, which was organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Program’s Human Rights Program, was attended by 25 Barisal youth organizers who vowed to ensure safe movement for women. The session, hosted at the city’s ABC Foundation, covers the campaign’s aims and objectives, participatory situation analysis, partner analysis, and establishing their duties, as well as campaign success and cooperation concepts.
District Probation Officer Sajjad Parvez and Youthnet Coordinator Sohanur Rahman conducted the workshop. At the workshop, UNDP gender expert Bithika Hasan discussed gender-based violence against women and sexual harassment, and Rahima Sultana Kajal, executive director of Avas, spoke about the culture of blaming women for harassment.
Joining online, Shakila Islam, chief coordinator of Youthnet, and Israt Jahan Tonni, assistant coordinator of Young Bangla, said that in a patriarchal society, women are not given much opportunity to apply their due respect and acquired knowledge. Almost every woman has to spend her days in an unknown panic after leaving the house. Thinking of their own safety, thousands of potential women get lost in the eternal darkness just like the thoughts of some ugly-minded people. Therefore, the aim of this campaign is to make public places safe for women by changing patriarchal behaviour. Although the campaign is conducted across the country on the online platform, with special consideration in 10 areas of Bangladesh C.R.I’s youth platform Young Bangla is being run at the field level through 10 organizations.
Ali Mohammad Abdullah Chowdhury, UNDP’s communication expert, joined the trainees online and gave a clear idea of what a woman should do if she is a victim of violence, or what young people should do as a volunteer, and who to contact. Moreover, in order to conduct a campaign, there are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, how to conduct the activities, these are detailed discussions on how to conduct the campaign in a safe manner. Area-wise (educational institutions, hat-bazaars, public meeting places, railway stations, meeting places, service organizations, cyber world) are formed to find the stakeholders and divide the youth into groups and distribute responsibilities for conducting the campaign.
UNDP’s communication expert, Ali Mohammad Abdullah Chowdhury, joined the trainees online and gave a clear notion of what a woman should do if she is a victim of violence, or what young people should do as volunteers, and who to contact. Furthermore, there are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in conducting a campaign, as well as how to do the activities; these are the extensive discussions on how to run the campaign in a safe manner. Area-wise (educational institutions, hat bazaars, public meeting places, railway stations, meeting locations, service organizations, online world) groups are formed to identify stakeholders, divide youth into groups, and share campaign tasks.
Among others present at the workshop were Aminul Islam (Firoz Mostafa), Chairperson of Model Youth Parliament, Mayuri Akter Tumpa, Program Manager and Ali Ahsan, Project Officer of Avash.