1,200 Women Leaders Celebrate their Success in Bangladesh
In May 2010, more than 1,200 women leaders from across Bangladesh participated in the Third Women's Convention of The Hunger Project (THP)-Bangladesh's Unleashed Women Network.They represented more than a third of the 3,000 women that have been mobilized by THP-Bangladesh to form the Unleashed Women Network of grassroots women leaders.
The women placed such importance on the meeting that they paid their own travel costs to attend the convention. They even paid their own registration fees.
At the convention, the women leaders shared their achievements:
- Last year, they stopped 645 early marriages and 533 dowries.
- So far, they have created 1,502 local organizations (self-help groups).
- A total of 41,634 women are members of these organizations and many of them are now self-reliant.
- They have led initiatives to test 13,357 tube wells for arsenic.
- They constructed sanitary latrines for 7,445 families.
- They have declared seven unions (local administrative unit) free from dowry and early marriage and three unions free from domestic violence.
Guests included: Chief Guest, Dr. Shireen Sharmin, State Minister for Child and Women Affairs Ministry; Special Guest, Rokeya Sultana, Secretary, Cooperative and Rural Development Ministry; Salma Khan, Chair Person of a renowned women's organization named Women for Women; and Chair of the event, Sultana Kamal, Former Advisor, Care Taker Government of Bangladesh.
Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Vice President and Country Director of THP-Bangladesh, explaining the context and purpose of the women's convention, said, "Members of the Unleashed Women Network became 'women leaders' through organizing activities, solving social problems and taking on responsibility. The title ‘women leader' is not given to them to show sympathy - they earned it."
Women leaders celebrated their achievements and displayed their activities throughout the fun-filled day. The event was also widely reported in the media.