Joint campaign of nineteen development partners on children safety cover more than 10 thousand schools
The ‘Safe Back to School’ alliance is running a campaign with the government to raise awareness on behavioural change among children, ensuring that they comply with Covid-19 health advisories in schools.
Besides the countrywide awareness campaign using messaging through different channels, the alliance members are also implementing diverse activities in more than 10 thousand schools across 56 districts to promote behavioural change in children to help them grow habits to follow the Covid-19 precautions.
The government and its stakeholders took children safety as their top priority before the educational institutions were re-opened on September 12 to make sure that children return to and continue school with all kinds of protection against Covid-19. To drive the effort 19 national and international development organisations launched ‘Safe Back to School’ campaign on 10 February this year.
Alongside the government, the campaign is leveraging all the available mediums of communication to create countrywide awareness to ensure safe return and safe learning environment for children in schools. The implementing partners today, Tuesday, briefed the current activities and future plan of the campaign at a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
BRAC’s senior director KAM Morshed, on behalf of the implementing partners, told the press conference that the campaign has been particularly designed to disseminate messages to all children and their families through all possible communication channels. “We are using all the available mediums of communication – mass media, social media and word of mouth. These messages are promoting behaviour change in children to help them adopt the Covid-19 precautions of handwashing, mask wearing, social distancing as habits,” said KAM Morshed.
Communications manager at World Vision Bangladesh Devashish Ranjan Sarker moderated the event, while Save the Children in Bangladesh senior manager (media and communications) Nusrat Amin briefed on the different contents developed under the campaign. The contents, among others, include an audio-visual advertisement by popular band group Joler Gaan themed on awareness messaging for children to be aired soon on television channels and social media.
Country Coordinator of Stromme Foundation Mizanur Rahman said the alliance is working as a catalyst to make a bridge between the government and the marginalized people so that the demands of marginalized reaches the government and the messages by the government reaches the masses properly.
Coordinated initiative and planning between the government, non-government organisations and the mass media is required to get those children back to regular schooling, who are left behind due to family or social situations or financial constraints, said Golam Kibria, head of education at Educo Bangladesh.
Save the Children in Bangladesh country director Onno Van Manen requested mass media to highlight different contents on the need for importance of education to encourage children to return to school to recover last one year and a half’s Covid-19 induced learning loss.
Tony Michael Gomes, director (Communications, Advocacy) at World Vision Bangladesh, said all the alliance members working in the field of education is making sure that the available resource are mobilised to keep the schools safe.
Samia Ahmed, senior manager (advocacy and campaign) at Save the Children in Bangladesh, and Rafe Sadnan Adel, head of media and external relations at BRAC was also present at the programme.
Alongside the awareness campaign, the alliance members are also implementing diverse activities with special focus on the schools in remote areas. These activities include Covid-19 safety training for teachers of remote schools; distribution of masks, hand wash and education materials, thermal detector at schools; advice on keeping schools clean; assistance to children of families in extreme poverty to get back to school; advocacy with school management committee and community leaders on school safety; and door-to-door campaign and courtyard meetings with guardians to send children to school.
The organisations running the campaign are - BRAC, Campaign for Popular Education, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Educo Bangladesh, FIVDB, Friendship, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion, Jagoroni Chakra Foundation, Plan International Bangladesh, Room to Read Bangladesh, Save the Children in Bangladesh, Sightsavers Bangladesh, Sesame Workshop Bangladesh, Stromme Foundation, Teach for Bangladesh, VSO, World Vision Bangladesh and YPSA.