ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) is supporting children for education and nourishing their creative potential which is the major approach of AAB for improving children’s capacity and intelligence. For this AAB has been organizing various programs for developing drawing skills of children since 2008. For this capacity building of children, the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University has also become a significant part of this development process through a long-term relationship with ActionAid Bangladesh. They cooperate AAB for organizing events and activities for children both at local and national level like national level drawing competition in 2008 and in 2009 engaging children from AAB’s working areas.
To improve basic drawing skills of sponsored children, drawing training has been organized every year at the LRPs from 2010 to 2019. In 2020, drawing training did not take place due to coronavirus pandemic. However, students from the Faculty of Fine Arts work used to provide basic drawing training to children in an enjoying and creative manner that helps children draw better.
Therefore, AAB has built a partnership with the Department of Crafts under the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University based on which it offers Internship for students of crafts department to work as drawing trainers, so that they would impart their skills among sponsored children. In this way, students get a scope to be familiar with development issues and to grow as an active citizen for the wellbeing of the society. However, the objective of this activity is to enhance cognitive development of the children by creative learning and assist children to think and act differently through exploring aesthetic and drawing language.
ActionAid Bangladesh strongly believes that children are the heart of community-based effort to reduce poverty so the Community Journalism Group (CJG) for children will create an opportunity to build awareness and achieve development through ensuring access to children’s basic human rights, information and participation. Along with children, community people can broaden up their hidden knowledge by writing or preparing news, articles, stories/case studies featuring poverty, development and related socio-economic issues in the community newsletter.
To increase the capacity of CJGs, AAB organizes national and local level training on reporting, creative writing, advocacy, ICT, photography every year. It helps community children by promoting children’s creativity and talent in cultural fields by six monthly publications and finally, to build children and the general mass as active citizens of the nation. Some of CJG members are well trained and capacitated enough to produce quality reports. To flourish their talent and skill on journalism and helping them to grow up, ActionAid is facilitating them to get some space in the national media. However, for national level training, renowned journalists like Mujtaba Hakim Plato from HelloBdnews24.com or Iftekhar Mahmood from Prothom Alo contributed to child development. As a consultant, Senior editor of Jagonews24.com Md. Anwar worked with ActionAid.
Childhood is a period when children need special care and protection so children should know about their rights. However, the children's awareness towards their rights is depending on the exposure that they got from the adult. It is the responsibility of the adult to educate the children regarding their rights. So, ActionAid organizes child rights sessions through child space classes, meetings with children groups, discussion sessions on special days and events.
Moreover, children also conduct sessions on child rights with knowledge and information provided by ActionAid. For example, in the child rights week celebration in 2020, children were educated on the negative impact of child marriage and known the important clauses of Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017. After that, they conducted sessions on child rights for children and community people.
The first child leadership training was arranged for the child forum member of ActionAid in 2019 to make children strengthen to establish child rights and child protection that will also empower them to take part in community development. Through this training, children will take their leadership position and will mobilize other community children in future. To strengthen them in leadership positions, Global Platform Bangladesh (GPB) first conducted a ToT for the children of these groups of LRP 50 and 40 at Kuakata. Henceforth, this capacity building initiative has also taken place in this year of 2020. However, the course is based on the principles of experience-based learning, learning-by-doing and participatory methods. This means that the participants acquire skills, knowledge and attitude through the continual process of action and reflection gathering knowledge on the basic idea of leaders and leadership; demonstrate essential leadership skills required for mobilizing others including communication, team management, conflict management and decision making; build confidence in their own leadership abilities and many other issues.
The capacity building training on cultural movement, that first time initiated in 2020 through LRP 51, is to enable the children to show their leadership quality in cultural activities like drama presentation, singing, event organization, etc. Cultural walks accelerate the psychosocial development of the children. Along with that, it is possible to portray the society through drama or song. Cultural activities can be a tool for social change.