"With the participation in Child Parliament session, future leadership would be grown up from the children", said Fazley Rabbi, Deputy Speaker, and National Parliament.
National Children Task Force (NCTF) is the only national level child-led children rights organization in Bangladesh. It was established in 2003 with the support from Bangladesh Government, Save the Children, Plan Bangladesh, BRAC and other NGOs. NCTF's purpose is to raise the voice of the children and work for their rights. During the period of 2003 and 2014 it has been recognized as a children led organization by different strata including governments.
During the last ten years NCTF has successfully contributed to significant changes in policies and practices, demonstrating that children can effectively affect social development through protection and promotion of children's rights. NTCF is a pioneer in feeding children's ideas to local and national level policy making processes. It also has its own initiatives like stopping child marriages, monitoring hospitals and jails, submitting memorandum for safe roads, abandoning corporal punishment and child abuse as well as raising awareness on these issues.
Bangladesh Government now distributes free text books up to secondary school which NCTF has been advocating for years. Thanks to NCTF initiatives the government ordered circulars for abandoning corporal punishment and teachers' use of cell phones in classes. Major political parties are also committed to stop exploitation of children in political activities.
The NCTF has 38000 members in 64 districts, boys and girls are represented in equal numbers. The organization was primarily established to monitor the implementation of the National Plan of Action for child rights issues, to raise concerns about duty bearers’ accountability and to
create space for children's participation in decision making.
Over the years NCTF has gained remarkable support from the government including the Bangladesh Shishu Academy which provides housing for the NCTF secretariat in 64 districts. The Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs included one NCTF representative in district Child Rights
Forum, a committee working for the implementation and monitoring of UNCRC at district level.
It consists of three wings: advocacy, social media and research. The research group developed a "Child led Alternative Report" based on child rights monitoring and reporting according to the UNCRC concluding observations. NCTF initiates evidence based advocacy at national level in order to influence policies through the Child Parliament.
The Child Parliament includes a speaker, deputy speaker, and members of parliament, ministers and representatives from national and international development agencies. The Child Parliament is a platform advocating and negotiating with the state and other actors. The idea is to enhance children's understanding of duty bearers, their roles and responsibilities and to enhance child participation in state processes and mechanisms.
- Feature prepared by Save the Children in Bangladesh