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Holistic child development in slum areas in Dhaka

About half of all Bangladeshi children are living in poverty with no access to education, making it extremely difficult to reach their full potential. UNICEF is using a holistic approach including children, parents and whole communities to get children aged 4-18 years into school, and to prevent them from dropping out.
Our goal

40,000

children will be enrolled in play group learning or education and they hopefully proceed to higher education.

40,000

children will be enrolled in play group learning or education and they hopefully proceed to higher education.

Bristy Akhter at the primary school in Dhaka.
Photos: UNICEF Bangladesh

The project strategically links education, child protection, behavior and social change interventions, and is based on a holistic approach which also targets families as well as the community.

The situation in Bangladesh

Even though Bangladesh has made significant progress in the last 30 years in terms of economic growth and social transformation; the development needs remain large and pressing. Bangladesh is still one of the poorest countries in South Asia.

Over the past few decades urbanization has progressed at a very fast rate. Dhaka city’s population jumped from 0.5 million to 12 million between 1961 and 2001. Today Dhaka has close to 4 million people living in around 4,000 slums, with very poor or no government services.

We are used to think of urban children as being better off than rural children in every way – better fed, better educated and with better chances of succeeding in life. For many children, this is true. But for growing numbers, the so called “urban advantage” is a myth. Multiple barriers keep preventing children from participating in education, which makes it difficult for them to reach their full potential.

Holistic approach to improve school attendance

UNICEF works to strategically link education, child protection, behavior and social change interventions, based on a holistic approach. The project supports children between 4-18 years of age who are not in school, or who are at risk of dropping out.

Additionally poor families will gain improved access to a range of social protection services in order to reduce their vulnerability to abuse, violence and exploitation of children, youth and women. Communities surrounding the schools and learning centres will also receive information about the benefits of keeping children in school.

The objectives

  • Contributing to improved access to high quality early learning, pre-primary and basic primary education, basic life skills and social protection services.
  • 40,000 children should be enrolled in play group learning or education and they should proceed to higher education.
  • Improving the livelihoods for families and communities in the slum areas.
  • Providing a multi-sectorial model that can be replicable by government and non-government agencies, to contribute to universal primary education in the country.
SUMMARY
Focus area: Education
Project: Holistic child development in slum areas in Dhaka
Country: Bangladesh
Partner: UNICEF
Project period: 2014-2019
Total donation: 45.8 million Swedish krona
People reached by 2018: 40,000

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