For the first time, 300 children representing the same number of electoral constituencies of Bangladesh have come face-to-face with elected parliamentarians to voice their demands, concerns and aspirations in Dhaka on Thursday during the 1st National Session of Generation Parliament.
Generation Parliament – a joint initiative of UNICEF and Bangladesh Debate Federation – facilitates engagement of young people in discussion of policies that have direct impact on their present and future wellbeing.Around 600,000 young people aged between 13 and 17 years joined the initiative through online platforms with 300 groups formed in line with the parliamentary constituencies, said a press release of UNICEF.
Representatives from a cross-section of children and young people’s groups have been selected for the national session based on the frequency of their participation in the online groups. The child parliamentarians, among other things, pressed for policy review and increased public finance for children to overcome the impediments that continue to affect their development and growth.
The 15 issues discussed during group work included child marriage, child labour, health, education, nutrition, climate change, violence against children, road safety, psychological wellbeing of children, information and communication technology, youth and employability, children with disabilities, access to information, and increased budgetary allocation for children by the government. The findings were presented by the child parliamentarians before the Deputy Speaker of National Parliament in a mock parliamentary session.
The event was also attended by Deputy Speaker of National Parliament and Chief Advisor of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights Fazle Rabbi Miah and President of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights Shamsul Haque Tuku MP as chief and special guests respectively.
Maurizio Cian, Head of Cooperation of the European Union and Representative of UNICEF Bangladesh Veera Mendonca were also attended.
Generation Parliament aims to help children articulate and voice their demands and concerns. It builds a bridge between children and policy makers through online platforms as well as through face-to-face interaction twice a year.