The International Men’s Day 2020 is an international event celebrated on 19th of November every year to acknowledge the achievements, contributions and sacrifices of men. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values. The event was inaugurated in February 1992 by Thomas Oaster and it was later re-initiated by Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. There are six core objectives of this event, they are promoting positive male role models, celebrating men’s positive contributions to society, focusing on men’s health and wellbeing, highlighting discrimination against men, improving gender relations and promoting gender equality, and creating a safer, better world. From 2002, an optional secondary objective has been suggested by world coordinators beside the six core objectives. For this year, the secondary objective was “Better health for men and boys”. Other than these objectives, three new themes were introduced, they are “Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys”, “Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys' wellbeing”, and “Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity”.
In 2020, Swisscontact Bangladesh hosted an online session to highlight this event and celebrate the presence of men in the organisation through a series of activities.
Swisscontact Bangladesh organised an internal story writeup competition where the participants had to write a short story of 150 words about a male figure who have positively influenced their life.
On the first half of 19th of November, the collected write-ups were rated by the internal employees online.
At 3:30 pm Bangladesh Time (BDT), the online session started with a warm introduction from the event was host and moderator Tamjid Ahmed (Intervention Manager, Sarathi), followed by an insightful speech of Mujibul Hasan (Country Director, Bangladesh) on the importance of celebrating International Men’s Day.
At 3:45 pm BDT, a structured panel discussion took place based on the theme “Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity” where the panelists were David Harvey (Team Leader, B-SkillFUL), Jannat Adib Chowdhury (Manager, M4C), Md Ashikujjaman (Senior Project Officer, Uttoron), and Mosiur Morshed (Senior Officer – MRM, Uttoron).
The panel discussion ended with a follow up question session which ended at 4:15 pm BDT and the winner to the competition was announced. The winner also gave a glimpse of the inspiration behind the winning story to the audience and with warm wishes and gratitude the event ended at 4:30 pm.
Beside the Tamjid Ahmed and Mosiur Morshed, other members who were in the organising panel were Anika Parvez (HR Specialist, Business Administration), Manib E Eram (Coordinator- Gender & LRDW, B-SkillFUL), and Pritam Azra Hassan (Officer- Portfolio Development).
On November 19th, Swisscontact Bangladesh celebrated International Men’s Day 2020 with a story writing competition followed by an online event. The story writing topic was “Share a short story on a male figure who have influenced your life”, which encouraged a number of employees to participate enthusiastically. Among the participants, four stories were shortlisted and was put online for review. Based on ratings of the employees of Swisscontact Bangladesh, the story “স্বপ্নের কারখানা”, translated as “Dream Factory” written by Shariful Islam Chowdhury (Project Officer – MRM, Sarathi) won the competition. The story, alongside the in-house translation is given below.
মাসের বাজারের সব খরচ শেষে ৪৫০ টাকা বেঁচে গেল। বাসাই এসেই খুব গোপনীয়তার সাথে নিজের জমানো টাকার বাক্সটা বের করলো করিম সাহেব। সব মিলিয়ে ২,৫০০ টাকা হলো। আজ ই কিনতে পারবে নিজের শখের গীটার টি। গত ৪ মাস ধরে নিজের ব্যক্তিগত খরচের টাকা থেকে একটু একটু করে বাঁচিয়ে এই গীটারের টাকা টা জমিয়েছেন। আজ সে অনেক বেশী খুশি। কেউ জানে না তার এই শখের কথা। প্রতিদিন গীটারের দোকানে একবার করে দেখে আসতেন। একটু পরেই তিনি বের হবেন। কিন্তু খুব আজব কারনবশত তার ছেলে কান্নাকাটি করছে একটি তিন চাকার সাইকেলের জন্য। তাকে কিনে দিতে হবেই। করিম সাহেব খুব বিরক্ত । সে অনেক ভেবে গীটার কেনার উদ্দেশ্যেই বের হলেন। গল্পের সাসপেন্সের দরকার নেই, বোঝাই যাচ্ছে সে বাড়ি ফিরলো তিন চাকার সাইকেল নিয়ে। করিম সাহেব ভাবলেন আবার ৩-৪ মাস জমিয়ে শখের গীটার টি কিনেবেন। জানি, কোনদিন ও তিনি পারবেন না। আর কোনদিন কেউ জানতেও পারবে না তার এই বারবার স্বপ্ন ভঙ্গের কথা।
At the end of all the market expenses of the month, 450 taka was saved. As soon as he came home, Mr. Karim took out the box of his savings with great secrecy. In all, it was 2,500 taka. Today he can buy his own desired guitar. For the last 4 months, he has saved a little bit from his personal expenses and saved money for this guitar. Today he is ecstatic. No one knows about this hobby of his. He used to visit the guitar shop once a day. He will be out shortly. But for some very strange reason his son is crying for a three-wheeled bicycle. His son wants him to must buy it. Mr. Karim is very upset. He thought a lot and went out to buy the guitar. There is no need for suspense in the story because he returned home with a three-wheeler. Mr. Karim thought he would buy a hobby guitar after 3-4 months. I know he will never be able to. And no one will ever know about his dream being broken again and again.