The purpose of the Bikoshito Nari (Unleashed Women) Network is to organize, empower and inspire the women of Bangladesh by building their capacity and developing their leadership skills to powerfully confront the issue of gender inequality. This special women’s leadership program trains women to take on projects such as stopping child marriages and dowries in their communities.
Women leaders are formed as the result of a four-year empowerment process, at the end of which every woman is empowered, able to advocate at the policy level and take a lead role in decision making both at home and within her community.
The 26-day training course is spread over a period of four years:
- Year 1: three-day residential Foundational Course, followed by monthly, full-day trainings for the rest of the year. Trainings are led by The Hunger Project-Bangladesh staff from Dhaka and from the region of the training.
- Year 2: Full-day trainings every other month
- Year 3: Full-day, quarterly trainings
- Year 4: Full-day trainings twice a year
The Foundational Course addresses topics such as what gender is; the role of women in families and society; patriarchy and women’s rights; and development initiatives. Throughout the four years, there are scheduled trainings according to particular topics, ranging from the role of women in their unions, how to hold courtyard meetings, and domestic violence.
Women leaders gain a clearer understanding of gender and their rights, and develop the necessary skills to advocate for their rights and mobilize other women in their community.
They develop plans to hold monthly activities to raise awareness for their rights and the rights of others, through courtyard meetings, campaigns and rallies.
The women also become development leaders in their communities, and form groups with other women to discuss gender equality and social justice, in addition to creating solutions to the challenges they identify in their daily lives. They organize courtyard meetings on topics such as breastfeeding, health and nutrition; lead campaigns against child marriage; host human chains in honor of National Girl Child Day; and participate in other Hunger Project programs.
The results are encouraging:
- Two hundred and five (205) trained Bikoshito Nari Network leaders contested in Union Parishad elections, with 115 of them winning . A total of six (6) members won the Zila parishad election.
The Bikoshito Nari Network, launched in 2006, in 2021 has 9,400 active members in 284 units across the country.
Geographical Distribution of BNN Units
Below are the demographics of this national network (as of 28 February 2018):
|Division||BNN Units||BNN Unit Leaders||Number of trained Women Leaders|
|District Units||Upazila Units||Union Units||Total Unit||District Units||Upazila Units||Union Units||Total Members|