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16 days of activism

  • Published at 02:37 pm November 29th, 2018
WT, Pg 18, Vol 6, Nov 30, 2018
Photo: Courtesy

35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexually intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence—an international campaign that aims to inspire action and end violence against women and girls around the world. 

In Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women, the campaign will match Zonta International’s efforts to help end child marriage which, this year alone, will affect more than 12 million girls worldwide, according to Girls Not Brides. At the local level, Zonta clubs across the world have organized activities and events as part of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign, which focuses on the service and advocacy actions of Zonta clubs and districts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in their local communities.

“Early marriage is probably the most appalling act of violence against girls. It is closely associated with and often triggers other forms of violence,” says Zonta International President Susanne von Bassewitz. “Under the umbrella of Zonta Says NO, Zonta members and clubs around the world will not only provide funding, but engage in advocacy activities as well to end child marriage.”

On November 25, Zonta Club of Dhaka III started off the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender-Based Violence with a program at Jaago Foundation, a free school for 300 underprivileged children from slum areas in Korail.  Ratna Guha, a guest speaker from Brac conducted Awareness to Stop Child Marriage with an interactive discussion with the parents and the students. The President of the Club, Khadija Afzal, spoke about the importance of education in advancing the status of women while board member Fahmida Karim and other members Momtaz Chowdhury and Meena Kalim spoke about the rights of women and the girl child and how violence against women should be stopped. At the end, the students and parents took a vow to stop child marriage. 

From November 25 to December 10, Zonta Club of Dhaka III will be observing 16 days of activism through different events and activities as part of its commitment to Zonta Internationals towards honoring, empowering and advancing the status of women. 

These are:

Branding of buses with ‘Stop violence against women’ signs

Eve teasing being a major problem these buses plying the Inter District route to North of Bangladesh will create Awareness through the different cities and towns they travel

Advocacy and awareness at Shishu Bikash Kendra

A project of Zonta Club Dhaka III where 160 students from slum areas of Rayerbazaar are given free education, books, stationery, uniform and breakfast along with an adult literacy program in the afternoon.  Awareness on elimination of child marriage and gender based violence will be conducted among parents and students by advocate Farmin Islam and other members of Dhaka III. 

Deepshikha Training Centre

Another project of Zonta III where women from Badda and Shahzadpur are given six months training on tailoring, sewing, and other skill development training for income generation along with adult literacy programs. Advocacy programs will be conducted among the women along with their father, husbands and other male of their family to create awareness against child marriage and violence towards women by guest lawyer.

Awareness among Rohingya Refugees 

Zonta Club Dhaka III has partnered with Action Aid in setting up deep tube wells and latrines at Rohingya Refugee camps. Advocacy and awareness to stop child marriage will be conducted among 200 women at the Action Aid safe centre for women in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazaar.

On December 10, the culmination of the 16 Days of Activism will be observed with a program conducted jointly by all the six Zonta Clubs in Bangladesh. Zonta I, II, III, IV, Greater Dhaka and Chattogram with a candle lighting ceremony to depict the light that Zonta International ignites and enlightens worldwide to honor and empower the women of the world.