Over ten million children in Bangladesh will have support in the ethical and responsible use of digital technology through a new partnership between UNICEF Bangladesh and Grameenphone and Telenor.
Under this partnership, an initiative titled “Strengthening digital literacy and secure, ethical and responsible use of digital technology for children in Bangladesh” will be rolled out. The primary objective is to equip children and adolescents in Bangladesh with essential digital literacy skills and raise awareness about the safe, ethical, and responsible use of digital technologies, considering the evolving challenges and opportunities in the digital landscape.
“UNICEF works to ensure that every child in Bangladesh grows up in a safe environment and remains protected against violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The Internet offers many opportunities for children’s education and growth. It is equally important, however, to ensure children’s digital literacy and online safety to protect them from potentially harmful content and online threats that can impact their well-being,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
Over 10 million students across the country will benefit from this initiative, encompassing 4.2 million students in grades 8 and 9. Among these students, the project will prioritize supporting one million vulnerable children, including those with disabilities, in their digital education journey. An additional 6 million students from grades 8 to 10 will receive multiple sessions as per their age on online safety and digital literacy.
The project will also engage 25,000 teachers and 2 million guardians and parents, with messages about the importance of online safety, to extend their knowledge throughout the community.
“Ensuring online safety and digital literacy are integrated into our education is a commitment to a safer future for our children. By teaching our students how to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly, we empower each and every one of them to harness the full potential of technology while ensuring their safety and well-being,” said Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Grameenphone. “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to UNICEF for their unwavering commitment to this global partnership. Each of us has a part to play in keeping our children safe online. The time is now to step up and contribute to this noble cause.”
Johan Martin Seland, Head of Sustainability, Telenor Asia, said, “Digital skills and online safety are essential to unlock the opportunities that come with connectivity. This project is an impressive evolution of the partnership we, and Grameenphone, have enjoyed with UNICEF so far – taking it to the next level in terms of scope, scale, and impact. Everyone needs the opportunity to build and develop their digital skills to keep pace with advancing technology and to protect themselves in a digital world, matching the needs of today and for the fast-approaching future.”
Since 2019, UNICEF Bangladesh, Grameenphone and Telenor have been working together under Telenor’s global partnership programme to raise awareness among children, parents and caregivers about safe internet practices and mitigating online risks as well as to engage adolescents as digital influencers in their communities. The programme in Bangladesh has trained over 20 million students, teachers, parents, and guardians across the country.
This innovative shared value partnership highlights the commitment of Grameenphone and Telenor to empower and protect young people in Bangladesh, particularly in the digital domain. UNICEF continues its commitment to engage with the youth to thrive and shape a more sustainable future.