Unlocking the potential of youth
Youth are a significant part of the total population in Bangladesh. A country's development depends on its skilled youth group. The government is providing some training and loan facilities. But these are far from enough.
Emphasis should be placed on providing timely training to the youth and necessary steps have to be taken to increase the quality of the training provided to them. Along with that, there must be facilities for arranging adequate loans to the youth after the end of the training sessions. These loans must be provided on easy terms with low interest and minimum collateral. The government must also increase the amount of the loan.
These recommendations were shared by participants in a session titled "Youth employment (training and loan facilities)". The session was a part of a daylong event jointly organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Oxfam in Bangladesh on March 11, 2021 with the support from European Union (EU).
Mohammed Mosharrof Hossain, a community volunteer from Netrokona, and Halimatun Sadia, a member of Youth Group from Rowmari, Kurigram, gave a presentation at the session. The presentation referred to a study that was carried out with the data from various government and non-government organisations.
The study revealed that 77 per cent of the youth respondents receiving training from various government institutions had not been able to arrange any employment after the training. They also didn't get any information as to employment opportunities.
37 per cent of the respondents said that the trainings provided were not up to the standard. Furthermore, as to the loan amount, 50 per cent of the borrowers said that the amount of loan they received was less than their demand.
The local service providers, according to the participants, must play an effective role to ensure youth employment as well. They should make yearly plans for youth employment in consultation with local young people. The service providers also need to identify the challenges faced by young people to improve their capacity and to create adequate access to government services.
"We cannot deny the lacking in our service delivery, political participation, and democracy. We want to ensure that our resources are used wisely. If the government just spends money in a haphazard way without any proper way to track the results, there will not be any proper development for our youths. There are various developmental organisations at the local government level but there isn't proper coordination among them and it seems like they spend the money and their budget only for the sake of using them instead for actual developmental agendas," said Rokeya Kabir, special guest of the session and Executive Director and Founder of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS).
The participants urged the local service providers to institutionalise the Citizen-led Social Audit to ensure quality services in a transparent and accountable manner. The Citizen-led Social Audit and community engagement can be effective tools for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2041 of the Bangladesh Government, they opined.
"Social audit is a very important part of social accountability. Along with social accountability, the need for parallel and downward accountability is equally essential in order to bring sustainable results," highlighted Badiul Alam Majumdar, Country Director of The Hunger Project – Bangladesh and the chairperson of the session.
Oxfam, in partnership with CPD, has been implementing a project titled 'Enhancing the Participation of Community-Based Organisations (CBO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Democratic Governance in Bangladesh' in thirteen districts of the country with the support from the European Union.
The project strengthens the knowledge and leadership capacities of grassroots CBOs and CSOs regarding social accountability tools such as citizen-led social audit. The project is aimed at providing improved services at the local level by increasing transparency and accountability. In order to ensure social accountability, the project is using a social audit tool. The main purpose of social audit is to contribute to the enhancement of government accountability by incorporating the views of citizens and public organisations. In addition, it provides an opportunity for civil and public organisations to observe and respond to public service activities in a participatory manner.