UNFPA and The Daily Star jointly organised a roundtable on “Safe Spaces for Youth” to commemorate the United Nations' International Youth Day 2018 at the Azimur Rahman Conference Hall of The Daily Star Centre.
Celebrated every August 12, the objective of this year's IYD was to promote youth engagement and empowerment through civic, public, digital and physical spaces. The right to express one's opinion, nurture mutual respect irrespective of differences, initiate and deliver constructive dialogues were a few of the many attributes IYD'18 wanted to encourage amongst this particular mass throughout the world.
Engagement in safe physical and virtual spaces would ensure the youth to feel recognised for who they are and what values they stand for. As a result, they would be far better skilled in making the right choices, be on par with channeling emotions constructively and develop social skills that would allow harmony and system within society.
Other than discussing and explaining the above ideas in the context of Bangladesh, adolescent issues, unemployment statistics, lack of awareness on reproductive health and many other topics were touched upon.
Eshani Ruwanpura, Chief of Adolescent and Youth Unit of UNFPA Bangladesh, emphasised on the dire need of a national youth policy and action plan as 48 million people in Bangladesh are youth. With adequate budget allocation, addressing youth issues will be easier.
Korvi Rakshand, Founder and Chairman of JAAGO Foundation, said that there is a lack of good teachers at the grass root level of our education system. Without proper guidance, materialising safe spaces for youth is almost impossible.
Jeroen Steeghs, Head of Development Cooperation, Charge d' Affaires, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, spoke about the need for providing required information regarding health issues to the youth.
The roundtable speakers also highlighted the recent past events that affected and involved a large portion of the young population of Bangladesh. Everyone agreed that ensuring and proactively creating safe spaces for the youth is the one factor that can lead the country to a prosperous future.