Our efforts in 2016 to ensure violence against children is no longer tolerated
Progress We Made Together in Ending Corporal Punishment in All Settings
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of 2012-2013 (report published by UNICEF and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in March, 2015), 82.3% children (1-14 years) in Bangladesh experienced psychological aggression or physical punishment during the last one month. In most cases, children get punished by the parents, teachers, employers, and caregivers in the name of ‘discipline’. Government has banned corporal punishment/Physical and Humiliating Punishment (PHP) in educational settings through a circular (2010) of Ministry of Education. Still this is widely practiced, as corporal punishment is socially acceptable.
One of the strategic objectives of Child Protection program is to protect children from PHP in homes, schools, work places and communities through establishing a functional reporting mechanism, capacity development of children on protecting themselves as well as strengthening the capacity of parents/caregivers/teachers on Positive Discipline. We are also advocating to enact a new law banning Physical and Humiliating Punishment in all settings.
Rolling out of Positive Discipline in Everyday Training (PDEP) program:
In partnership with University of Manitoba, Child Protection program of Save the Children in Bangladesh developed a pool of Country Trainers on PDEP. Dr. Christine Ateah (University of Manitoba) facilitated Country Trainer Advanced Training on Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP) during 2-6 May, 2016 in Dhaka. Seven staff of Child Protection and one from Education participated in the training.
Country Trainers are training staff of partner NGOs as Facilitators who are delivering the sessions to parents in the communities. So far 31 Facilitators (19 female, 12 male) and 324 parents (177 female, 147 male) have been trained. So far we have delivered program to some of the most deprived groups of parents (living in urban slums and refugee camps, from ethnic minority communities whose mother language is not Bengali, sex workers etc.). The analysis of pre and post test data showed positive and significant changes in beliefs about physical punishment, use of punishment overall, Positive Discipline approach, and parenting efficacy. The experience of PDEP in Bangladesh has been shared in the global conference of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Calgary, Canada (August, 2016).
Awareness of children has been developed; they are reporting PHP issues through complaint and response mechanism.
Development of strategy to ban PHP in all settings:
Child Protection sector organized a workshop ‘promoting and achieving law reform to prohibit all corporal punishment of children in Bangladesh’ during 7-9 June, 2016. The workshop was participated by staff from Child Protection, Education, and Policy, Rights and Governance and Program Development and Quality along with staff from partner NGOs. In addition, a selected group of journalists of English and Bangla dailies joined the workshop on the first day to develop an understanding on the importance of legal reform on corporal punishment so that they are able to mobilize public view in favor of the move to end the age old cultural practice happening in the name of ‘child discipline’. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Sharon Owen (Coordinator, Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children) and Dominique Pierre Plateau (Asia Representative, Child Protection Initiative, Save the Children). Through group work the participants drafted a strategy to ban corporal punishment in all settings in Bangladesh, which was finalized after thorough review by the Child Protection team and incorporating feedback of the Facilitators. In From 2017, Save the Children will implement the strategy by forming a Coalition of interested NGOs. Media report “law sought to end corporal punishment of children” was published. (http://newagebd.net/234300/law-sought-end-corporal-punishment-children).
Advocacy success with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education:
The joint Round Table of Child Protection with Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST), and Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) dated 20th December, 2015 attracted the attention of the key stakeholders. The Minister, Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) of Government of Bangladesh as the chair of the program instantly endorsed the cause and committed to work together to offer a joyful learning environment to the children. Out of 32 general recommendations of the round table, a set 10 priority action points were handed over to the Minister and Secretary of MoPME in a follow up meeting on 28 February, 2016. MoPME accepted those by issuing a series of circulars & instructions to the Department of Primary Education (DPE), Directorate of Institutions and Training, Directorate of Monitoring and Inspection and a special letter to the 64 Deputy Commissioners to work on those. In addition, Child Protection and Education program of Save the Children drafted a set of e-monitoring indicators for DPE (http://www.dpe.gov.bd/site/page/335cfd1e-4549-4161-ac5d-3257138e5601); the next step is to include these indicators in the School Inspection Check List. Child Protection team updated the progress to the Secretary In Charge of MoPME on 29th November, 2016, and submitted an outline of the next course of actions – offering support from Save the Children. In addition, along with BLAST, Child Protection published ‘Role of the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission in Ending Corporal Punishment in Educational Settings’.
Engagement with media:
The following opinion pieces by the Director-Child Protection were published by leading Bengali and English newspapers and an online portal on banning corporal punishment and the importance of effective parenting:
The following editorial was published by a leading Bengali daily after our meeting with the Minister (MoPME):
During the Child Rights Week, Child Protection also organized a television program on violence against children; State Minister of Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs participated:
Partnership with the Child Affairs Journalist Network (comprised of print, television and radio and journalists) of Bangladesh Shangbad Shongstha (BSS) started through a two day workshop (29 and 30 November, 2016) to focus on and deal with the issues of corporal punishment in their reporting.
The journey to ensure “violence against children is no longer tolerated” will continue through advocacy work on PHP and PDEP programming.