Bangladesh training thousands of girls to protect them from online blackmail and harassment


According to a news published in the Voice of America (, Bangladesh has begun training thousands of school girls to protect them from being blackmailed or harassed online.

Government officials recently finished conducting a pilot project in which female students from urban areas were taught how to keep themselves safe if faced with online threats.

“Most of the victims of cybercrime in our country are young girls. So, we decided to spread awareness among the girls first," said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State minister of the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Division of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Post, Telecommunication & Information Technology. He added that under the pilot project, over 10,000 girls from 40 schools and colleges took part in the workshops and the response was massive. Now the Government wants to take the campaign nationwide involving 40 million students in 170,000 schools and colleges.

Sahana, a 15-year-old who took part in one such workshop, said she feels she has benefitted from the training. “I shall verify one’s identity in many ways before I accept his or her Facebook ‘friend request’ now. Now I have also learned that I should not disclose much of my personal information on Facebook,” she said. “Also, I am quite confident now that none can harass or blackmail me on Facebook.”

The government of Bangladesh is keen to spread cyber safety awareness across the whole country. Abul Mansur Mohammad Sharf Uddin, who heads the government’s cyber safety awareness campaign, said his department is busy on a blueprint to expand the campaign. The contents on Internet literacy will be included to the national curriculum soon.There are also plans to introduce the course not just in schools and colleges, but also in over 100 universities of the country. The Government also aspires to raise capacity of teachers across academic institutions of the country who will conduct cyber safety training classes for students locally.

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