In Bangladesh, 45 per cent of the total population consists of children below the age of 18, of whom 48 per cent are girls. From birth, girls in Bangladesh face some of the most severe discrimination in the world, hampering their physical and psychological development. Bangladeshi girls score lower than boys in education, skill development and confidence level. Girls also suffer enormously from sexual violence. Improving these circumstances requires a profound change in social attitudes towards girls. Bangladeshis must come to recognize that girls are not only future mothers but also a great asset of the nation. The progress of the country depends on girls achieving good physical and mental growth, safety, and equal participation throughout society. Investing in girls is the best and most important investment the country can make.
From this recognition, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh originally proposed celebrating a National Girl Child Day countrywide to focus attention on the rights of girls and build a social movement committed to this cause. Fifty-four non-governmental organizations as well as cultural organizations and prominent individuals stepped forward to give strong support to this goal. On 4 June 2000, the group submitted a written proposal to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs of Bangladesh calling for the declaration of National Girl Child Day on the second day of National Child Rights Week. The government agreed, and declared that 30September would be celebrated as National Girl Child Day. Since 2000, various governmental and non-governmental organizations celebrate the day across the country in order to focus awareness on one annually chosen aspect of girls’ rights, such as education, nutrition or safety. To spread this vision at the grass-root level throughout the country, the group established the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF) in 2002 as a sustainable platform committed to this effort.