Peacempire launched

Peacempire launched

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Dhaka – On October 01, 2016, Peacempire successfully launched its social action project in the largest school of Narayanganj called, “Murapara Model Pilot High School” bringing together nearly 1375 students in a road show, just after collecting petition signature of 603 people and a workshop of 109 attendees there. Later on October 08, 2016, it also organized the consecutive second events, which included drama drawing a crowd of 579 local audiences, over 340 students in a rally, 499 petition signatures and about 107 participants in a workshop at an Islamic seminary called “Baraloo Paragaon Batenia Dakhil Madrasa” in the district.Peacempire is among top 20 global advocacy solutions for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Sponsored by Women Deliver and Johnson and Johnson, it advances through 03 major activities, which include workshop, campaigns and building coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights advocacy to reduce the rate of Early Forced Marriage and Violence against Women into the rate of 30% involving young people, aged 12 to 25 in the underprivileged areas of Rupganj subdistrict, Bangladesh. The project also forms a coalition bringing together SRHR experts, traditional leaders, political quarters, administrative bodies and victims in monthly social campaigns.Thus it equips young advocates with capacity to effectively respond to Child Marriage and Gender vioelnce through citizen journalism and digital media facilities, i.e. common cellphone hotline, social media outlets etc to ensure legal interventions and public engagements in the area.
First, the workshop has four core sessions, i.e. icebreaking, focus session, brainstorming, essay competitions and survey. From grades 07 to 10, we select top 20 students on the merit list from different sections of a school, which sum up little over 100 students in total for a duration of two hours. Experts address the Focus Session titled “Understanding the Local Context of Child Marriage and Gender Violence”. On September 01, 2016, Debashis Bhattacharjee from “Youth School for Social Entrepreneurs” conducted the Focus Session at “Murapara Model Pilot High School” and Later on September 08, 2016, Rafiqul Alam Khan from “South Asian Youth Society” took another Focus Session at an Islamic seminary called “Baraloo Paragaon Batenia Dakhil Madrasa”. In the middle of workshop, 02 facilitators each time cooperated with attendees to help brainstorm “Causes, Effects and Preventions of Child Marriage and Gender Vilence”.
Participants wrote their opinions on colorful stickypads to be glued with sketboard papers on the walls. In both of the days, a total of 06 excellent essays received mementoes with the categories of 02 Winners, 02 First Runner’s Up and 02 Second Runner’s Up. Finally undertaking surveyes marked the end of workshop activities. In this session, students filled up attendence sheets and chose their roles out of given 04 priorities of “Popular Opponents”— reporters, educators, advocates and campaigners.
Second, the campaigns included both infield and online activism. Offline activism included 01 rally and 01 roadshow, 02 hand imprints, 10 street interviews, 1103 petition signatures, 01 drama, mimes etc. On the other hand, digital activism is undewway to establish common cellphone hotline, social media outlets, producing documentarie/short films, blogging, storytelling, reporting and creating apps to be available in the Peacempire website soon.
Third is building coalition and forming club. The multi-actoral coalition included 05 SRHR experts/practitioners, 11 religious leaders, 06 traditional leaders, 03 policy makers, 15 local media workers/journalists, political quarters, administrative bodies and victims. Since some of the religious/traditional leaders propagate early marriage, justify violence against women and discourage contraceptives, the project educates and engages religious quarters in SRHR practices. They prefer early marriage of girls to protect their virginity/purity from adultery, an absolute misinterpretation of religion. Therefore, as religious solution to religious challenge, the project aims at finding a positive religious explanation in lights of Holy Scriptures. On the othe rhand, the club consists of “Popular Opponents” of all 04 categories. With regular followups, the club members will be further trained up to write, blog and help make video documentaries for the website and other social media channels.
Thus the project will directly benefit 2022 people, while indirectly outreaching more than 17402 beneficiaries and 50000 virtual beneficiaries in 34 villages and beyond. The unique outcome of the project is drawing a popular end to the culture of indifference and violence against girls and women in the area. This project finds an enduring solutions through the establishment of permanent website and social media channels, which will continue beyond the project timeline.
(The writer is a Women Deliver fellow, USA. He can be reached at rasan@wdyoungleaders.org)

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