In recognition of International Women's Day, the British Council organised an event on 9 March 2017 to celebrate the day and to highlight the success of the English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) programme in educating and empowering marginalised girls across Bangladesh. Nasima Begum ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Woman and Children Affairs, attended the celebration event as the chief guest. Other notable attendees were David Ashley, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission in Bangladesh and Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council.
The EDGE programme, which was started in 2012 in Bangladesh and later in 2015 was regionalised in India and Nepal, focuses on enhancing girls’ English proficiency, digital and 21st-century skills, awareness of social issues and improving their leadership skills. Since its inception, the programme has opened 364 after-school clubs in Bangladesh and trained around 800 peer group leaders to facilitate these clubs for around 9000 participants. The programme has operated in nine districts – Manikganj, Tangail, Gaibandha, Bogra, Sylhet, Chittagong, Khulna, Narshingdi, and Mymensingh.
The event kicked off with a speech from Barbara Wickham where she stated that ensuring gender equality through educating and empowering women is an important part of the British Council’s activities pertaining to cultural relations. There was a stage drama performed by the EDGE project beneficiaries at the event which showcased the impact of EDGE in their lives- how it has stopped child marriage, helped them to stand up against eve teasing and improved their English skills. The event concluded with a photo exhibition of the EDGE activities.