Learning from decades of experience, UNICEF in Bangladesh shifted its approach to plans that envision a complete package of services for children as they grow from infancy to adolescents.
For all these stages of a child’s life, UNICEF has mapped areas of social behaviour that require engagement in the levels of households and communities.
The messages are constructed and distributed using various strengths: research partners, NGOs, frontline government workers and cross-cutting media platforms like TV, national and community radio, cell phones and social media.
Here are the key household behaviours identified for change by UNICEF. They follow the life course of a child, changing behaviour of adults wherever necessary.
UNICEF engagement at the roots level ensures that a mother completes all four check-ups during pregnancy and has the delivery at a hospital under the care of skilled attendants. We also reach with instructions on essential new born care practices.
Knowledge of key hygiene messages is high in Bangladesh, but the practice of effective handwashing is very low. But this behaviour effects all development outcomes.
So UNICEF continues to communicate the need to wash hands with soap at four critical times, (A) after using the toilet (B) cleaning the baby’s bottom (C) before handling food and (D) before feeding children.
To maximise growth of children
Stunting happens when children lack nutrition essential for growth. UNICEF works to accelerate the reduction of this illness in Bangladesh by communicating the need to start early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of child’s life.
After six months of just breastfeeding, mothers and family members are instructed to introduce fruits, vegetables and animal protein such as egg, meat in addition to breast feeding.
Timely birth registration
UNICEF talks to father, mothers and members of extended family to ensure birth registration of a child within 45 days of delivery and get hold of a certificate.
Early care and development
Mothers, fathers and other caregivers of children below the age of five are encouraged to create learning environment at home, stop physical violence, provide at least 3 toys, play and interact, praise good behaviour and enroll children between age three and five at ECD center.
Better access to quality primary education
UNICEF engages with parents of children aged six or above to encourage them to enroll and keep all girls and boys in school. They are at the same time informed on the basics of quality education.
UNICEF talks to government, teachers and parents to get them to adopt positive disciplining of children in school and at home and utilisation of the National Child Helpline, 1098.
Messages are designed to change existing perceptions of “child” and “childhood” for preventing child labour and violence.
Ending child marriage
Adolescent girls and boys, their parents and community members are informed about girls not being ready for marriage and child birth, physically and mentally, before the age of 18.
They are encouraged not to arrange or participate in marriages of children. UNICEF also talks to communities about their role in raising awareness against this harmful practice, giving them the option to report such incidents by calling helpline 1098.
Access to education for adolescents
Focusing on continuation of education, UNICEF tells adolescents, their parents and community members to enroll girls and boys in high school, remove barriers for them to complete their education and besides support life skills and citizenship education.
Adolescent health and well-being
UNICEF communicates with adolescents, their parents, teachers, local elites, community Health workers and service providers to encourage menstrual hygiene, proper nutrition, protective behaviours related to HIV/AIDS and also create demands for adolescent-friendly health services.
More adolescents in development
UNICEF engages with adolescent to provide them platforms for participation and empowerment, focusing on building identities and facilitating the role of youths as agents of change.