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Citizen Voice for Effective Policies to Reduce Child Mortality Causes to Drowning (Drowning Prevention)


Drowning is a major public health problem in the world. Every year the world is losing approximately 372,000 lives (42 every hour) for drowning which is almost two thirds attributed to malnutrition and over half of malaria. But still it is neglected issue in the public health system though drowning is the third leading cause of death globally. Of all drowning deaths, more than 96% occur in low and middle-income countries where individuals are exposed to water during daily life. The rate of fatal drowning in low and middle - income countries is six times higher than in high-income countries. However, drowning is not yet recognized by the policy makers as a major cause of child mortality in most countries. Most of drownings are occur during daylight hours, with an astounding 68% happening between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, when parents are busy with their responsibilities (Saving of Lives from Drowning study, JH-IIRU, 2014). 

Bangladesh is a low-lying, riverine country located in the subtropical region of South Asia and bordering with the Bay of Bengal. Its tropical monsoon climate is characterized by heavy rainfall and melting snow in the Himalayan territory, leading to large rivers, such as the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. The country has a landmass of 147,570 square kilometers and is one of the most densely inhabited countries in the world with a population of 163.7 (Bangladesh Economic Review 2019) million. Daily life in Bangladesh exposes people to water bodies, such as ponds, ditches, rivers and canals, which are used for daily household needs, including agriculture, fishing and transportation. As a result, drowning effects all ages of the Bangladeshi population. Drowning is the leading cause for child mortality in Bangladesh and claims around 50 children per day death. Ponds and ditches are in abundance in both rural and urban areas which is also responsible for the deaths by drowning of children. 

Though drowning is a serious public health challenges in Bangladesh but the country has not any comprehensive policy or law for its prevention. Some policies and laws like ECCD Policy 2013, Day Care Act, drowning prevention Strategy, NEP 2010 has partially addressed the issue but it is not enough for prevention. Besides, the community level awareness is still very poor and they practice number of traditional myths which are also danger for public health. 

Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) is an advocacy and campaign network promoting early childhood care and development and quality education of both boys and girls.  It has gradually grown into a well-known credible coalition of more than 900 NGOs, researchers, campaigners and teacher associations sharing similar vision and mission. CAMPE has vast experience to contribute different policy formulation process including NEP 2010, NSDP 2011, ECCD 2013, and Non-Formal Education Act 2014 and CAMPE’s interventions are acknowledged by the government. CAMPE has been playing a significant role for promoting Early Childhood Development (ECD) through evidence-based advocacy, networking, capacity building, publication and dissemination of materials. CAMPE introduced the ECD issue in early 90s through policy dialogues, seminars, memorandum sending, open appeal and mass mobilization. CAMPE developed a partnership with Bangladesh Shishu Academy and piloting to establish ECD centers. 

Drowning is one of the crucial parts of early childhood care and development area. Drowning is the single largest killer of children (aged one to five years) in Bangladesh and it claims the lives of 30 children (aged under five) every day. According to a research finding of IDRC and CIPRB, “the age is a major risk factor for drowning. The highest rates of fatal drowning are 01- 4 year, when children start to walk and venture away from supervision.” CAMPE believe that, formulation of a comprehensive policy and its effective implementation may help to save the lives. In connection with this, CAMPE has designed and implementing a project for the community level awareness building and influencing the policy makers to formulate a comprehensive policy for drowning prevention. 

The project will implement both in national and sub-national (district) level. In sub-national level, it will raise the community awareness for drowning prevention and amplify their voice in favor of comprehensive policies/law. Local administration, law enforcement agencies, local government, journalists, CSOs, teachers, students and community people will engage in sub-national level campaign. In national level, the project will create a space and influence the policy makers for policy enactment in favor of drowning prevention. Both print and electronic media, journalists, teacher associations, government officials, policy makers, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders will engage in the national level process. 

Purpose and Objectives 

The overall purpose of the project is to create a favorable environment for getting approval of submitted DPP titled on Integrated Community Based Centre for Childcare and Protection, Women Enlightenment and Swim-Safe Facilities. In this connection, the specific objectives of the project will be twofold:    

Objective - 1: Engage in a comprehensive advocacy campaign for the approval, implementation, and scaling up of a Development Project Proforma (DPP) titled Integrated Community Based Centre for Childcare and Protection, Women Enlightenment and Swim-Safe Facilities, which has been submitted to MoWCA; and 

Objective - 2: Generate public demand to reduce child mortality due to drowning with countrywide outreach. 

Major Activities
To achieve the above objectives, the project will carry-out a number of activities including
a)      National Level Policy Dialogue;
b)      Round Table with Media;
c)       Sub-National Level Consultations;
d)      Investigative TV News on Drowning Issues;
e)      TV Talk-Show; and
f)       Community Radio Engagement. 


The project will implement both in national and sub-national (district) level with covering 8 administrative districts. Local administration, law enforcement agencies, local government, journalists, CSOs, teachers, students and community people will engage in sub-national which will create a space in national level for influencing the policy makers for DPP approval. The project will work closely with print and electronic medias, journalists, government officials, policy makers, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders and relevant ministries i.e. MoPME, MoE, MoWCA, MoSW, MoLJ&PA among others. 

Expected Result

The propose approach and interventions are expected to bring some results at outputs and outcomes level. The expected outputs are

  1. Policy makers made commitment in favor of drowning prevention;
  2. ### of media personnel engaged and aware on drowning prevention;
  3. Actions taken by the local administration for drowning prevention in 16 districts; and
  4. Nation-wide voice raised for a comprehensive policy/law for drowning prevention and effective implementation of existing ECCD policy. 


The expected outcomes of the project are:

  1. ### of people engaged, sensitized and voice raised to protect their children from drowning and
  2. Tangible progress visible for influencing the policy makers to approve submitted Development Project Proforma (DPP).
  3. The project will reach 1,000 people directly while more than 15 million will inform and aware indirectly through media programs. 
Total budget
USD 90,707
Supported by
Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI)

Time Line

November 2020 to March 2022
Focal Person (Project)
Md. Mostafizur Rahaman
Deputy Director
Cell: +880 17 1148 7942
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