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Workshop on Women’s Safety at Public Places: Young Bangla members gearing up to act

Centre for Research and Information (CRI), the secretariat of Young Bangla, organized a workshop on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Safety at Public Places at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Youth Development, Savar.

Thirty-one youth leaders representing Joy Bangla Youth Award winner organizations participated in the three-day long residential workshop. The overall aim was to sensitize the participants about gender-based violence (GBV) and draw out a set of actions along with a campaign plan for women’s safety in public places. The workshop was organized in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Center for Men and Masculinities Studies (CMMS).

The workshop was full of buzz as the facilitators, participants and organizers were engaged in interactive sessions, discussions, debate, group work, presentations, informal talks and lots of fun-filled activities.

Day 1
The workshop kicked off with ice-breaking and briefings on rundown, objectives and expectations. The first session of the workshop was on Basic Understanding on Gender. Other thematic areas covered in day 1 include – reasons behind gender-based violence, men, masculinity and reproduction of gender based violence and role of duty bearers, other influencing factors: existing rights framework. Bithika Hasan, Gender Expert, UNDP, Sayed Saikh Imtiaz, Chairperson, CMMS, Shankor Paul Communities and Minorities Expert, UNDP conducted the sessions. Both the participants and facilitators had a lot of interactions and reflections in between power point presentations, research finding sharing and group works. The participating youth leaders showed great enthusiasm to explore perceptions about gender, gender based violence and generate ideas to work on the issue of gender based violence.

Day 2
The second day was more engaging and absorbing as the sessions were dedicated to explore expected change in attitude and practices, identifying stakeholders/institutions, strategies for awareness campaign and actions for women’s safety in public places. The participants worked in groups, developed presentations and shared those with all. Moreover, there were two sessions conducted by CRI resource persons where presentations on reports on gender based violence in print media of Bangladesh and campaign against gender based violence in other parts were made and participants shared their observations and ideas. One major activity was the identification of specific action points to ensure women’s safety in public places. Mirza Shahjahan, an activist who runs 10 kilometers to protest sexual harassment of women, was present in a session and shared his experiences.

Day 3
The last day of the workshop was particularly memorable one as the participants had the opportunity to interact with some guest who have been both vocal and active proponents of women’s right. In one session Kazi Reazul Hoque, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Advocate Fawzia Karim Firoz, Sharmeela Rassool, Chief Technical Adviser, UNDP, Member of Parliament (MP) Aroma Dutta were present and discussed about country’s policy framework to address gender based violence in public places. There was a question-answer session where the participants asked a number of questions. The guests highly appreciated the youth and encouraged them to play greater role as social and community leaders. Later in another session, Nahim Razzaq MP and Waseqa Ayesha Khan MP interacted with the participants. The participants suggested a number actions that can be raised in future policy discussions. They shared the view that MPs and people’s representatives in local governments can help them to conduct a social awareness campaign at local level. Finally, the chief facilitator Sayed Saikh Imtiaz recapped the workshop discussing the outcomes of the workshop.
The youth leaders of Young Bangla platform highly appreciated the workshop and they felt charged up to lead a social campaign on women’s safety in public places.