Campaigns on Global Day of Citizen Action (GDCA) Peace Observance
Under the dynamic leadership of mr. Alam, and as an activist, DAM conducted GDCA Peace Observance on 16 May 2015 in cooperation with CIVICUS. Two separate campaigns were conducted to mark the Day. The first one was at the Auditorium of Mohammadpur Bengali Medium High School, Dhaka-1207 and the second venue of the campaign was Mirpur Shahin School Premises, Dhaka-1216. About 230 participants participated in each of the campaign programs. The participants were Urban Community Learning Centre (UCLC) students, teachers, parents, and community leaders, NGO representatives, resource persons, religious leaders, local elites, slum leaders and UCLC leaders. The campaigns on GDCA were addressed by politicians, youth activists, journalists, media experts, and students on child rights and peace and how it can be practiced at family, community and school levels. Mr. Alam was very keen on innovative promotion of child rights and peace among the slum dwellers of Dhaka Mega city.
The objective of the Campaign on “Global Day of Citizen Action (GDCA) 2015 Peace Observance” was to encourage children to have the freedom to speak out, organize and take action, to enable them by the parents, community leaders, teachers and stakeholders to take action in favour of children. In every house of the societies to promote their rights and well-being, through awareness raising and practical actions, help to achieve internationally agreed Goal 16 for peace among children and societies as well promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development geared by the activities of social mobilization, motivational awareness education and advocacy campaign.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The objective was achieved through mobilization of slum communities, motivational awareness education on child rights and peace, and advocacy campaign by ensuring active participation of slum dwellers of Dhaka Megacity. Mr. Alam is very keen to innovative use of non-formal education and vocational training in an integrated way as leverage to improve human conditions with regard to poverty alleviation through 10 Schools of DAM’s Urban Community Learning Centre (UCLC) project. Mr. Alam-led DAM’s UNIQUE-II project has been providing quality preprimary and primary education to children of slum dwellers. Students are involved in cultural activities to develop their esthetic sense based on child rights, because every child deserves a childhood. DAM’s UCLC and UNIQUE-II project offers its support and services to slum children to grow up, empower, dream and bring out their potential which they would never dream of and give opportunity to develop them for tomorrow’s competent citizen.
The innovative campaign activity of Mr. Alam through DAM was preschool to non-formal primary and secondary education, remedial and preventive education support to low performance learners from Grade I to V, non-formal basic education integrated with vocational skills training support to slum children in a cost-effective manner. Multi-Grade Teaching-Learning approach in non-formal education has been an innovative adaptation by Mr. Alam and providing specialized training to teachers, alongside follow up and on-the-job training, advocacy and lobbying. The slum students have been oriented on child rights, safe water and sanitation, primary health care, human rights and civic responsibilities.
The slum dwellers of Mohammadpur and Mirpur under Dhaka Megacity have been enjoying the right to speak out and organize them under Urban Community Learning Centres (the people’s platform) and to take action in favour of them. The right to freedom of association assembled them to form 10 UCLC - to peacefully protest for the things they want for their wellbeing (housing, water and sanitation, health, electricity, drainage system, children education, road communication, security, etc.) to take important decisions that affect them and to counter the things they don’t expect. Through campaigns, they enlightened to know about how to encourage children - the freedom to speak out, organize and take action through education, community mobilization and advocacy work, and its reflection towards achieving Goal 16 for peace. They committed that they will pay their highest attention and more careful to their children’s development, to live in safety and security.
The biggest challenges are people’s migration from coastal areas due to climate change effects forcing them to take shelter in city slums, and find work opportunity for better life. So that slums of Dhaka Megacity had increased. Slums reflect the miseries of deprived people who have to struggle with poverty to survive. The huge population has made the megacity over-crowded, congested, polluted, unhygienic and unlivable. Due to poor sanitation and congested living with 4-5 people in 10m² rooms, women and children often suffer from contagious diseases. Resource management and biomass recycling have been seriously affected in Dhaka City. The biggest challenges are how to organize them under UCLC, reduce poverty, improve substandard housing with no other facilities, and required support and services from Dhaka City Corporation and related Govt. departments, NGOs, and civil society. Combined effort is necessary from the policy makers’ level with the coordination of grassroots level.
Most slums are situated on government land and very few in the rented private land or slum’s room. The make-shift slum rooms are very close to one another and make it congested and unhygienic for living. The slums are growing rapidly in Dhaka Megacity as there are no restrictions from law enforcing agencies. Rickshaw pulling, part time housemaid, tea and cigarette selling, newspapers and flowers selling in traffic signal by the children and adolescents are the common occupation of the slum people. Mr. Alam as an activist, the lessons were learnt that slum dwellers have been organized under the 10 UCLCs. They have been mobilized by ensuring participation of slum dwellers for access to and entitlement to govt. and public resources for achieving minimum standard of their lives and livelihoods by the support of DAM-UK Charity. Institutional approach to deal with the slum problems will be incumbent on all stakeholders.