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Program Areas

This section briefly summarizes the various areas that BWF has focused its grant-making and other supports through:

 

1. Strengthening Women's Political Participation in Local and National Level Government

BWF sees vast potential in the women taking elected offices at both Local and National level, working as potential agents for change, challenging the structured political institutions and acting as leaders through promoting an agenda of gender equality on behalf of their female constituents. Advocacy on gender mainstreaming by elected officials to help legitimate the wider, extra-parliamentary efforts of women’s organizations as well as creation of sources of solidarity and support for women working within Government are paramount to the ongoing efforts to promote gender equality, women’s rights and their political participation within Bangladesh.

BWF has so far supplied 28 different local women’s organizations and has worked with women representatives at Upazila/Union level who now seek to campaign to prevent violence against women in their respective constituencies through establishing forums and participating in village dispute resolution. As mentioned previously an ongoing project with ANWF/NORAD is linked with this program focus.

 

2. Grants making on Celebrating International Women's Day (IWD)

March 8th sees the celebration of International Women’s Day. To join in the celebration BWF has given small grants every year to 15-20 women’s groups/organizations so that women in Bangladesh can play their part in recognizing the achievements, courage and determination of females everywhere irrespective of their political, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

It also provides a platform from which future goals and opportunities can be identified. With these factors in mind grantees are given funds to engage in outreach activities, solidarity building and policy advocacy with their stakeholders, families and communities. Normally this will consist of organizing rallies, discussions, and cultural program with open ended demands for women’s equality and empowerment.

 

3. Adolescents Girls Rights

Engaging with males and females from a young age can foster a shift in norms, values and attitudes towards each other and arguably promote a more inclusive and less partially structured system of social relations. As such establishing an environment of inclusion and equality in education institutions is essential to short term confidence and security building amongst teenage girls as well as long term gender equality in Bangladesh. BWF therefore encourages an increased representation of women at secondary, higher secondary and tertiary levels – a period which normally sees the decline of female student representation.

Previously BWF has provided fund to 12 local women’s organizations to mobilize teachers and students to act responsibly and encourage female attendance and furthermore ensure this continued through establishing student forums such as the ‘Student Forum for Justice and Gender Equality’.

 

4. Social and Economic Rehabilitation for Assaulted Girls

Providing the supporting base for women who have been either sexually or violently assaulted is the intention of these programs. Through counseling, education, worker training and support group’s women who have been assaulted can work towards building a network of trust and support with other women who’ve experienced the same trauma whilst also developing their levels of economic independence.

Six different organizations in this area have received fund to help develop the networks, contacts and training necessary to aid these women.

 

5. Gender Equality and Poverty Alleviation

Establishing the conditions – both personally and in wider society – through which self-reliant, economically empowered women can actively participate in decision making for their families, communities and society as equal partners is a focus of BWF. Since its inception BWF has contributed to various local women’s organizations in support, working to empower the lives of over 30,000 women throughout rural Bangladesh.

 

 

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