Participation of children
© UNICEF Bangladesh/2008/Naser Siddique
A participant at a children’s workshop for Child Rights Week speaks about the challenges facing children in Bangladesh. Rajshahi division.
UNICEF seeks to empower children to speak out about the issues that concern them and participate in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.
UNICEF conducted the first national Children’s Opinion Poll in 2005 to find out what issues most concern young people. The second national poll in 2008 focused on vulnerability, disparity, and discrimination. It specifically addressed corporal punishment and other abuses in schools, homes, and workplaces, children’s experiences in disasters, and the rights of children with disabilities.
Some key findings:
- 91 per cent of respondent children reported experiencing physical punishment at school.
- 80 per cent of children thought that physical punishment at school was acceptable in certain circumstances.
- 16 per cent of respondent children have had to leave their home in the last five years due to a natural disaster.
- While only 1.4 per cent of households included a child with a disability, 90 per cent of respondent children knew about disability and were able to list different types of disability and problems faced by children with disabilities.
UNICEF works with children in every district of Bangladesh as part of Children’s Express , a news agency dedicated to children and youth. Children receive training in child rights, news writing, interviewing and reporting. Their work is printed in local and national newspapers. In 2008, Children’s Express trained 670 young journalists who contributed 390 group reports on child rights issues and 261 individual features to local and national newspapers.
Children in the media
UNICEF collaborates with various media agencies to advocate for children’s participation and children’s rights.
- UNICEF trains journalists on children’s issues and ethical reporting.
- Television and radio stations broadcast programmes both about children and for child viewers. Two TV stations in Bangladesh have won awards for the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting in recent years.
- UNICEF sponsors the Meena Media Awards for excellence in media programmes and writing, produced about children, for children or by children.
- UNICEF supports the International Children’s Film Festival Bangladesh, which promotes quality films for children and supports child filmakers.
- UNICEF supports the national public radio and television stations, and numerous private channels, to produce and air edutainment programmes for children.
- UNICEF also works with the Department of Mass Communication to promote children’s issues through folk theatre and song, and films screenings in local communities, followed by public discussions and courtyard meetings.