The United Nations General Assembly declared 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. It is a stage at which key investments and support can set girls on a path towards empowerment, or when discrimination, recurrent constraints, harmful practices, and violence can send them down a negative spiral with lifelong consequences, not just for themselves, but for societies and future generations.
On 19 October 2016, the British Council celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child at the Dhaka University Campus office. The event was attended by government officials, UN agencies, USAID, Plan International, Save the Children, D.Net, Room to Read, Tarango, BRAC, Hunger Project and Google women in tech. Dr. Adul Hossain, Project Director of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA) attended the event as the chief guest. The event was aimed to create networking opportunities among girl child sector players, showcasing examples from different girls education projects in Bangladesh. It also created an opportunity to share ideas between the key stakeholders and to discuss where the data gaps are in Bangladesh.
Jim Scarth, Deputy Director, Programmes started the event with an opening speech and then took the chief guest to inaugurate the photo and art exhibition of the EDGE project.There was an open panel discussion to discuss what data is available for Bangladesh, and where the data gaps are – what do we not know about the girl child space? The panel was formed by three members, Dr Abul Hossain from the Ministry of woman and children affairs, Mahmuda Rahman from USAID and Mahtabul Hakim from UN Women.
Three adolescent girls (project beneficiaries) from projects in Bangladesh talked about the impact the project had on their lives. They came from the British Council’s EDGE project, Plan International Education Programme and UNICEF Young Champion Project. Sanjida Aktar Shathi, an EDGE peer leader from Chittagong, said, “I am really happy see how the attitude of my family members and the people of my community towards me has changed because of my role in my EDGE club. It feels really good to be recognised for who I am and I am so thankful to the British Council and BRAC for bringing this opportunity to me.” Overall, the special day was celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and was appreciated by all the people involved.