A day-long orientation training was arranged for the English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) trainers and the programme’s peer leader mentors on 6 March 2018 at the British Council office in Dhaka University campus. EDGE programme focuses on enhancing participants’ English proficiency, digital and 21st Century skills, and awareness of social issues, which is then disseminated among the participants’ broader communities. The British Council implements the EDGE programme in efforts to sustain gender equality and promote employment, economic growth and education in communities.
This month, the training focused on two main areas. One portion consisted of materials of the programme’s consolidation training and the other half focused on Child Protection policies and practise. Md. Abdul Karim, one of the EDGE trainers, said, “It was a really good refresher for us, especially the Child Protection portion. It has made me think of a lot of things that we usually do not take in consideration while working with children. It was very productive.”
The EDGE trainers next commenced five-day long training sessions with different young peer group leaders from chosen communities, which ran throughout March 2018. 200 peer group leaders, divided into eight batches, have been trained in the EDGE training centres of Dhaka, Mymensingh and Tangail. These peer group leaders, who have already completed the foundation stages of EDGE programme, were introduced to new EDGE materials. From this stage onwards, they will also have internet connectivity in their clubs. The marginalised girls were very excited to know that they were now going to have access to online materials, which would help them further develop their English and digital skills. Also included in the training exercises were several sessions on Child Protection. These addressed do’s and don’ts when engaging digitally online and highlighted the best ways for the girls to be safe online. Tanima, one of the peer group leaders from Narsingdi said, “I am excited to see the new materials, and I liked the colourful magazines included this time. They are full of exciting information. I can’t wait to have the internet connectivity in my club and run sessions using online materials in front of the club members.” All throughout April, the peer group leaders will be taking these training materials to their designated clubs and share the newly acquired knowledge in their wider communities.
As aimed by the EDGE programme, participants will be better able to make informed and independent life choices, as is their right, to contribute more fully to their families, economy and the society. Also, the programme aims to improve the leadership skills of a smaller group of peer leaders drawn from the same communities of adolescent girls.