Women and Children Affairs
The government has named five "outstanding personalities" as the recipients of the "Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib Award" 2022 – considered the highest state award for women in the "Ka" category – for their contributions to different sectors. State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira announced the names during a press briefing in Dhaka Saturday. The government has introduced the award to recognise five Bangladeshi women in politics, economics, education, culture and sports, social services, independence and liberation war, research, and agriculture and rural development every year. Also read: Mahmuda gets USAID's Laura W. Bush Award This year's awardees are Sylhet's Syeda Jebunnesa Haque (politics), Cumilla-2 MP Selima Ahmed (economics), former Dhaka University pro-vice chancellor Nasreen Ahmed (education), Kishoreganj's Asia Alam (social service), and Gopalganj's Ashalata Baidya (independence and liberation war). The award will be handed over on August 8, marking the 92nd birth anniversary of Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, mother of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and wife of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Also read: Bangladesh receives D-8 peace award Born in Gopalganj's Tungipara on August 8, 1930, Fazilatun Nesa was assassinated along with most of her family members on August 15.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday wondered why the August-15 carnage was carried out in cold blood and what the crimes of her father Bangabandhu, mother Bangamata and brothers were! “One question always crosses my mind -- what actually had driven the killers to stage these killings, what were the crimes of my father, mother and brothers?” she questioned while addressing a programme arranged marking the 91th birth anniversary of Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib. Read:Bangabandhu: Bangladesh’s liberator as proclaimer of independence The theme of the day this year is ‘Bangamata: a fearless companion in the crisis and struggle’. The prime minister joined the virtual programme from her official residence Ganobhaban, while other participants got connected from the Osmani Memorial Auditorium and Deputy Commissioner’s Office of Gopalganj. She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib and her brothers sacrificed their lives for peace and happiness and the independence and economic freedom of the nation. “But that Bangalees killed him, murdered him --why?” she said in an emotion-choked voice. Hasina, the elder daughter of Bangabandhu and Bangamata, recalled that Bangamata contributed a lot towards advancing the struggle of independence with patience, courage and right and timely decisions and implementing those. “My mother contributed a lot to every movement.” She also said Bangamata encouraged Bangabandhu throughout her life enabling him to devote himself to work for the country and the nation. Mentioning that Bangamata always believed that every woman should receive education and attain financial solvency, the prime minister said, “She thought that only shouting for rights wouldn’t bring anything for the womenfolk. For attaining the rights, all women should take education and get economic emancipation to stand on their own feet…she had felt that very well.” Hasina said Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib ignored her personal desires and demands in many ways to create a scope for Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to devotedly work for the country. Bangamata had no personal demand and never annoyed Bangabandhu with family matters.” Read: Five women receive 'Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib Award' Recalling the role of Bangamata in the country’s independence, she said Bangamata had taken the right decisions in various critical times in politics. “When a matter of taking a tough decision came up in politics on various occasions, it’s very sad to say many of our senior and experienced leaders had failed to take the right decisions or about to take wrong decisions. My mother had taken the right decisions at the right time. Alongside dealing with family affairs, Bangamata used to take care of the families of the detained and ailing leaders, and arranged their treatment,” she said.
Speakers at a webinar have said it is critical to promote equal learning opportunities and gender-responsive environment for skill development and volunteer engagement to foster incredible youth contributions. The webinar titled ‘Volunteerism and Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic' was jointly arranged by UN Volunteers in Bangladesh and UN Women Bangladesh on Thursday. Read:'Volunteerism, Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic' webinar Thursday Women and Children Affairs Secretary Md Sayedul Islam spoke as the chief guest at the event. "We’ll look into ways to work on incorporating more young people, volunteers, especially female volunteers, to include them in different initiatives and design programmes around their overall development, promotion and recognition," he said. Subhra Bhattacharjee, Strategic Planner and Head, United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office (UNRCO) in Bangladesh, said the positive effects of volunteerism can be very empowering for youth and young women in particular, providing access to social networks, new skills, and an influential role in the community for individuals who may otherwise have few formal routes to education or influence. "If we can properly utilize the huge young population and turn them into a skilled generation and inspire them to volunteer then we shall have the asset to leading towards a smoother path to achieving SDGs," said Md Azharul Islam Khan, Director General of Department of Youth Development. Md Aktar Uddin, Country Coordinator, UNV Bangladesh, pointed out that volunteering engagement can be an alternative tool for promoting skill development and civic responsibility among the youth.
A new campaign has been launched to encourage people to condemn child marriage in Bangladesh that has thrived in the shadow of the pandemic. The initiative -- 'Actions to Prevent Child Marriage in Bangladesh' -- is also designed to support every girl’s dream to achieve their aspirations and will help advance the objectives of Bangladesh’s 10-year National Plan of Action to End Child Marriage (2018-2030). Read: Patuakhali child marriage: case filed against UP chairman and five others The campaign, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will seek to collect one million pledges from adolescents, parents, community leaders, policy makers, business leaders and civil society representatives to prevent child marriage. This will remind people that everyone has a responsibility to protect girls from early marriage, create a safe and healthy environment for girls and boys in their communities to help them reach their full potential in life, which in turn, would benefit the society, said the US Embassy in Dhaka. “Child marriage is a human rights violation. We all must take charge to end a complex issue like child marriage that requires efforts along many fronts," said Xerses Sidhwa, Director of the Office of Population, Health, Nutrition, and Education of USAID. USAID will continue to work to protect young Bangladeshis from this harmful practice, and work alongside the government of Bangladesh and other partners to eliminate child marriage, which undermines efforts to promote sustainable development, said Sidhwa. Speaking at the launching event, Women and Children Affairs Secretary Md Sayedul Islam said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to eliminate child marriage from Bangladesh by 2041. "The government, development partners, non-government organisations, the private sector and relevant stakeholders must all work together to make it a reality.” Read: Child marriage rate still over 80% in Bhola He thanked USAID for initiating this timely campaign to help reduce child marriage that has thrived in the shadow of the pandemic. Amir Hossain, Director of Information, Education, Motivation unit of the Directorate General of Family Planning, officials from the US Embassy in Bangladesh, and representatives of other national and international organisations also attended the event. Bangladesh has made notable progress in curbing child marriage, with several studies showing a decline in the same. Proportion of girls who married before the age of 16 declined from 46 percent to 32 percent between 2007-2017, while those who married before age 18 (the legal age) fell from 66 percent to 59 percent, according to the studies. However, Bangladesh is witnessing a sharp rise in child marriages during the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by multiple factors including reduced income, especially in lower-income families, and school closures, said the US Embassy. Read:13,886 child marriages in 7 months during Covid-19 outbreak: MJF USAID’s Ujjiban Social Behaviour Change Communication project, implemented by Johns Hopkins University, is leading the public awareness campaign highlighting the health risks of early pregnancy and the high returns of investing in girls’ education. The campaign will also help generate awareness about the current law in Bangladesh that prohibits child marriage, instruct people how to use existing mechanisms to report incidents in their community, and help victims.
The Child Daycare Centre Bill 2021 was placed in Parliament on Saturday to support the children of professionals and working women as the number of nuclear families is increasing day by day. State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nesa placed the Bill and it was sent to the respective Standing Committee for further scrutiny. The committee was asked to submit its report within two months. The bill has been prepared as the number of professional and working women is increasing day by day in the country. Also read: Cabinet approves draft child daycare centre bill According to the proposed law, there would be four types of child daycare centres in the country. They are – 1) Child daycare centres run with subsidy provided by the government; 2) Daycare centres run by the government, any government agency, directorate, department, statutory agency or autonomous agency to provide services free of cost; 3) Daycare centres run by individuals or organisations for commercial purposes; 4) Non-profitable daycare centre run by any individual, organisation, non-government organisation, club, association, corporate sector or industrial sector. Registration will be required to set up the child daycare centre and there would be a separate authority for the registration of the centre. Also read; 10-yr jail for negligence to babies at daycare centres The Women and Children Affairs Ministry will monitor the daycare centres. As per the bill, the maximum punishment for failure to maintain proper safety and security of children in the daycare centre would be a fine of Tk 10 lakh. He said if anyone runs any child daycare centre without registration, they would be fined with Tk 50,000, according to the proposed law.