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Adolescent campaign launched for positive social change

Dhaka, 31 July, 2018: The Government of Bangladesh and development partners are putting growing emphasis on adolescents aged 10 to 19 years to realise the potential of this demographic group accounting for close to 20 per cent of the country’s population.

Areas of action include data and evidence generation, policies, programming and services to improve the health, education, wellbeing, protection, and participation of adolescents in all spheres of life.

Ministry of Women and Children Affairs with support of UNICEF today hosted an event to celebrate the ‘Power of Adolescents’ to foster positive norms shift in the country. The event showcased multi-sectoral media-based adolescent programmes was supported by Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Information, UNICEF, UNFPA, DFID, CIDA, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, PCI Media Impact, Grameenphone, H&M, Channel i and Shornokishori Foundation.

State Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki, MP, attended the occasion as the chief guest, while UNICEF Regional Director Jean Gough was present as the guest of honour.

“New research has highlighted how the adolescent brain is a work in progress, offering a crucial opportunity to influence the development of children in their second decade of life,” said UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder. He also added that adolescents need to be engaged and empowered to seek information, learn and express themselves in safe spaces and take actions to trigger changes within their families and communities. Particularly, adolescent girls need to be supported to harness the power of this group and catalyze transformative change within the country.

A number of media and communication-based initiatives have been launched to celebrate the power of adolescence with an aim to enhance adolescent engagement and empowerment. These include Shorno Chef (Shining Chef), a cooking show developed by UNICEF, Channel i and the Shorno Kishoree Network Foundation with technical support from the US-based PCI Media Impact, to encourage healthy eating among adolescents and their families. The occasion also saw the launch of U-Report in collaboration with Grameenphone. U-Report is a mobile-phone based, social engagement tool for young people to increase access to information, speak out on issues that matter to them and promote positive change in society. It is a global initiative which has over 5.5 million users in more than 50 countries, and Bangladesh is the newest addition to the initiative.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Ministry of Information with support of UNICEF and UNFPA as well as PCI Media Impact and Asiatic MCL have launched a new evidence-based adolescent-focused 26-episode drama series – Icchedana (On the Wings of Wishes), that portrays the lives of a group of Bangladeshi girls who face and overcome the challenges and risks of adolescence.

Lastly and building on the success of Phase 1 of the Campaign to End Child Marriage launched in 2017, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, UNICEF and UNFPA launched the Phase 2 of this award-winning campaign. The current initiative focusses on prevention of child marriage as a universal personal responsibility, and highlights the role that committed citizens in the country have played to end child marriage in the country.

Contributions by Partners:

  • The showcased initiatives have been developed under the aegis of the Government of Bangladesh particularly Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) and Ministry of Information (MoI) and in consultation with adolescents
  • The initiatives have been made possible by generous funding received from the Governments of Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and private sector partner, H&M
  • UNICEF has provided technical and operational support for all initiatives, partnering with UNFPA on the adolescent show and Ending Child Marriage Campaign
  • The Shorno Chef: Radon Lorai Food show will be produced and hosted through the support of Channel I and the Shorno Kishoree Network Foundation
  • Grameenphone is the first telephone operator to support U-Report. The service is being offered free-of-charge to users as part of the company’s initiative to harness technology in reducing inequalities
  • PCI Media, a USA-based not-for-profit organisation specializing in entertainment education, is providing technical support for the television shows
  • Asiatic MCL has provided creative and production support for the launch of the initiatives

For more information, please contact:

Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: +880 1711595045, Email: iachowdhury@unicef.org

 

 
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