State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Ministry Md Enamur Rahman said initiatives will be taken to develop a special mobile phone-based application to ensure social protection by ending violence against women and children.
"We will seek support from the Information and Communication Technology Divisionto develop the app," he told a seminar titled "Youth Engagement in Disaster Risk Reduction" in Dhaka Sunday.
At the seminar organized by Brac, the state minister said initiatives to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic have been successfulthus far since the government were aware ahead of time.However, gender inequality and violence against women and children have increased during the period.
Blamingthe pandemic-led situation, which has forced people to remain at home, Enamur said the government is working to address such social risks.He said initiatives are being undertaken to leverage information technology to protect social security.
The state minister said the infection rate in Bangladesh would have been reducedhad the Bangladeshi returnee migrant workers been properly quarantined. He saidmore than 6 lakh expatriates returned home during the first three months of the pandemic.
He said like other countries of the world, Bangladesh is also under socio-economic pressures due to the pandemic. "However, the government is taking initiatives to prevent long-term fallout," he noted.
He hoped that the intensity of the second wave of Covid-19 would be less than the first. "The government will also announce stimulus packages to deal with the second wavein a bid to get the economy in a strong position," said the state minister.
Sajedul Hasan, Humanitarian Programme director toBrac,said, "During the pandemic, our staff have dealt with the situation at field-level. Brac is working to help the government with social security."
Hasan said if required, they are ready to cooperate with the government with vaccinationdistribution. He promised to stand by the community in any disaster.
In the meantime, memberof the Bangladesh national women's cricket team Shathira Jakir Jessy said gender inequalities range from home to field.
She said female cricketers get less benefits than male cricketers do during their careers. She mentioned that she even had to get married during the Covid-19 period.
Students of nine universities who participated in the seminar expressed their views on violence and said that along with extreme poverty,incidents of gender disparity, violence against women and children and violation of children's rightshadalso increased during the pandemic.
Youths had expressed interest in working with the government and NGOs to address social crises, such as natural calamities. The state minister assured them that the ministry would provide youths with training facilities in this regard.
According to the seminar, between January and August this year, more than 9.03 lakh women and children had received support in the form of medical services, counselling, police, and legal assistanceafter calling the national helpline "109". The figures were 6.50 lakh and 18.11 lakhin 2018 and 2019 respectively.