TAGS portable pool opens in Bangladesh
25 July 2022
On Tuesday 25 July 2022, the students at Bangladesh’s Shishu Academy got a treat. The State Minister for Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA), Ms.Fazilatun Nessa Indira, had arrived to inaugurate the school’s first portable pool to teach water safety and basic swimming.
Donated by the TAGS campaign, in partnership with the eminent anti-drowning organisation, CIPRB, the pool is the first of many to be donated to the Shishu Academy and schools across Bangladesh to address the hidden pandemic of child drowning deaths.
In her video message for the inauguration, TAGS founder Malini Mehra said “It is very fitting that after years of delay due to the COVID pandemic, that the pool is being opened on such an auspicious day – the 2nd World Drowning Prevention Day.”
After pneumonia, unintentional drowning deaths are the leading cause of childhood mortality for under-fives in Bangladesh. CIPRB estimates that the closure of schools and daycare centres during the 2-year COVID lockdowns has contributed to a doubling of drowning deaths in this period.
Bangladesh is also one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change and the TAGS campaign uniquely brings together a focus on saving lives, addressing climate risk and gender inequality by a focus on girls and women.
While Bangladesh suffers from high drowning rates, it also has one of the world’s leading drowning prevention organisations, CIPRB, which has developed pathbreaking low tech, locally-adapted interventions such as portable pools and specially-adapted village ponds to teach water safety and basic swimming skills to young children.
Schools are key for this intervention and the TAGS Campaign also calls for policy reform to ensure that these life saving skills of water safety and basic swimming are offered in national curricula of every school in the world, and also included in national climate adaptation plans and strategies in climate-vulnerable countries such as Bangladesh.
The TAGS team works with partners such as CIPRB and others to promote the linkage of drowning prevention efforts with broader public policy agendas on climate change, disaster risk reduction, female empowerment, and public health.
With the installation of the pool in the Shishu Academy in Dhaka today, we look forward to more scenes like the video below of girls learning how to be safe in the water, have confidence and have fun!