UNICEF honours 29 media persons

UNICEF today honoured 29 media personals both from print and electronic streams for their excellence in promoting child rights in the media.

UNICEF distributed the 7th Meena Media Award 2011 at a function in the city. Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh spoke on the occasion.

“The spirit of Meena Media Award is advancing children’s rights in media and I thank you all for your work, by presenting various reports and creative work with diversity. You are not only raising the issue but also bringing the voices of children into the limelight,” said Carel de Rooy during the The Meena Communication Initiative

UNICEF developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project aimed at changing perceptions and behaviour that hamper the survival, protection and development of girls in South Asia.

Following eight years of extensive research in the region since the initial conceptualization, UNICEF launched the Meena Communication Initiative in September 1998. The name Meena is one that spans the different cultures in the region, and a cast of carefully researched characters has been created for Meena’s family and community. The Meena stories are entertaining and fun, but also reflect the realities of girls’ lives in South Asia. The stories revolve around the adventures of Meena, her brother Raju, her pet parrot Mithu, and members of her family and village community.

The stories cover issues such as education, health, gender equity, freedom from exploitation and abuse. A story about girls’ right to play called ‘Fair Play for Girls’ was developed in conjunction with the Asian Cricket Council, and recently the Government of Japan helped UNICEF produce an episode that helps teachers and children deal with the shocks and trauma of natural or human-made disasters.

The MCI arose from a need to find culturally appropriate ways to communicate messages that address the empowerment of girls in one of the world’s most challenging gender environments. Showing a healthy, personable child who can engage constructively with her family and her community to help overcome serious issues has proved extremely popular.

The MCI has been linked to education, health and social development programmes undertaken by UNICEF partners in government, NGOs, the media and the private sector. Meena has proven to be an effective messaging device when implemented alongside other programme interventions, and has enhanced perceptions of girls. Many children have wanted to either emulate Meena or have adopted her as a figurehead for their own efforts to change their worlds
marked by roaming life- size animated cartoon of Meena cartoon and children’s performance.

“The most precious resource of Bangladesh is its children. We need to invest in them to ensure that they will fulfill their full potential and consequently that of their country – Bangladesh,” Carel de Rooy added.

Thanking the participants for sourcing the productions that spoke highly of their talent, he said that these relate to issues important to children and to healthy and happy entertainment for children.

The Meena Media Award was introduced by UNICEF in 2005 to celebrate excellence in creative media and journalism in both print and electronic streams.

The award is named after Meena, a popular animation character held dear by children and adults alike in Bangladesh. Meena epitomizes an iconic girl child who is a change agent in her community and whose stories champion the rights of children across South Asia.

The 7th Meena Media Award has generated overwhelming response as it received more than 400 entries both in print and broadcast media. Broadly divided into ‘creative’ and ‘journalistic’ categories, entries have been sought from print, television and radio under specific age groups.

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd award recipients of each category and age-groups received Tk 50,000, Tk 25,000 and Tk 15,000 in cash prize respectively in addition to a crest.

The judges included Selina Hossain, Shamim Reza, Shahnoor Wahid, Shumona Sharmin, Robaet Ferdous, Shamim Shahed and Qadir Kallol.
About The Meena Communication Initiative

UNICEF developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project aimed at changing perceptions and behaviour that hamper the survival, protection and development of girls in South Asia.

Following eight years of extensive research in the region since the initial conceptualization, UNICEF launched the Meena Communication Initiative in September 1998. The name Meena is one that spans the different cultures in the region, and a cast of carefully researched characters has been created for Meena’s family and community. The Meena stories are entertaining and fun, but also reflect the realities of girls’ lives in South Asia. The stories revolve around the adventures of Meena, her brother Raju, her pet parrot Mithu, and members of her family and village community.

The stories cover issues such as education, health, gender equity, freedom from exploitation and abuse. A story about girls’ right to play called ‘Fair Play for Girls’ was developed in conjunction with the Asian Cricket Council, and recently the Government of Japan helped UNICEF produce an episode that helps teachers and children deal with the shocks and trauma of natural or human-made disasters.

The MCI arose from a need to find culturally appropriate ways to communicate messages that address the empowerment of girls in one of the world’s most challenging gender environments. Showing a healthy, personable child who can engage constructively with her family and her community to help overcome serious issues has proved extremely popular.

The MCI has been linked to education, health and social development programmes undertaken by UNICEF partners in government, NGOs, the media and the private sector. Meena has proven to be an effective messaging device when implemented alongside other programme interventions, and has enhanced perceptions of girls. Many children have wanted to either emulate Meena or have adopted her as a figurehead for their own efforts to change their worlds

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