Empowering Adolescent Girls
Our key project is our work with adolescent girls in the BKAF network (Bangladesh Kishori Adhikar Forum). This translates to Adolescent Girls Alliance in English. Members of our BKAF network include students, garment workers, victims of gender-based violence, domestic workers, street girls and slum girls.
This alliance is known for its strength in enabling girls to connect with others, share stories, learn about human rights, and support each other in their stand against violence. Many girls have stood up to violence in their homes and neighborhoods because of the support from other girls in their community.
Between 2005 and 2008 we reached more than 18,000 members across 189 chapters (or alliances) of the BKAF.
Under the BKAF programme we run a Young Women Summit. This is an annual summit where adolescent girls from all over the country come together to learn and speak out about violence against women, and advocate for their human rights as enshrined in the international human rights charters.
BKAF also hold informal and formal debate programs fon human rights for girls and boys.
To celebrate the achievements of young girls and encourage greater participation in education, PHREB runs an awards initiative for girls who achieve a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 5 in their secondary school examinations in Chittagong. Girls are encouraged to give a speech at an awards ceremony at which key community representatives are also invited to speak. Winners join the BKAF to advocate for women's rights.
BKAF organizes regular meetings and cultural functions at the BKAF Chapter Meeting Points. The discussants discuss on the issues related to violence against girls, girls' education, primary health care, reproductive health, hygiene promotion, safe water and sanitation issues. PHREB resource person or BKAF chapter leaders aware peers about these issues.
After such exclusive meetings, BKAF chapter members take initiatives to disseminate their learning with their parents, peers and children in their community. So they organize community based meetings or cultural functions.
BKAF chapters are active in stopping events of child marriages. They take various steps such as community mobilization programs to aware parents and peers about the negative effects of child marriages, child pregnancy and domestic violence. If the parents do not pay attention to these awareness campaign and they continue giving child marriages, the BKAF chapter leaders and members take help from the community based PHREB alliances with Imams, Village Heads, Teachers and Local Government Leaders and finally from local Police Station.
BKAF is run by an Executive Committee, which is elected by the chapter leaders. Each Chapter has its own committee in place to operate the functions for that chapter. Because the girls and women in this network have an acute sense of what is going on in the community, we draw on the experience of BKAF members to inform our strategic direction. This is so we can continue implementing relevant and successful programs.
Eli Devi (in the middle, seated) was our first Central President of BKAF. She committed suicide in 2005 in an act of protest against a society that supports perpetrators of gender based violence.
Please Help Us to Make Bangladesh a Safe Place for Adolescent Girls.