With the aim to directly involve the youth with development goals to achieve 'Vision 2021' and relaying their voices and ideas to policymakers, 'Young Bangla' – a national platform of young achievers and leaders – was launched at Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka on November 15. The theme of the event was 'Connecting the Dots'.
Sabbir Shams, Executive Director of CRI (Centre for Research and Information, a non-profit policy research organisation working towards bringing politics closer to the people), said that Young Bangla has been designed to promote achievements of Bangladeshi youths and facilitate activities like capacity building training for young social activists and entrepreneurs.
CRI, Bangladesh Debate Federation, Engineering Students' Association of Bangladesh, Junior Chamber International Bangladesh, and United Nations Youth and Students Association of Bangladesh are the convening organisations behind the initiative. Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; ICT Division, Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology; Ministry of Science and Technology; Ministry of Social Welfare; Ministry of Women and Children Affairs; Ministry of Youth and Sports; Union Information and Service Centre; BOI Bangladesh; Bangladesh Scouts; National Academy of Fine & Performing Arts, Bangladesh and SME Foundation collaborated with the organisers for the launch of Young Bangla.
In his speech, Nahim Razzaq, MP, Convener of Young Bangla, said, “Representatives of over 200 youth organisations from 64 districts, as well as from ministries and corporate houses are attending this event – a reflection of what this platform wants to achieve, that is, to create a bridge between young changemakers and those who can help realise their goals.”
Chief Guest of the event, Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Prime Minister's Adviser on ICT, formally launched Young Bangla by registering as a member on its website. Responding to why this focus on the youth, he said, “We all know the statistics – over 65 percent of the population are young. Becoming a middle income country by 2021 would not be possible if the youth are not the driving force.”
“To develop leadership skills, the ministries will provide internship opportunities to deserving young individuals. The PM's Office has already started taking in interns; 50 and 500 interns would be recruited by the ICT Division and the Ministry of Energy respectively,” he added.
After the launch, a Q&A session between representatives of youth organisations and a panel consisting of the representatives of convening organisations kicked off. In the course of the session, policymakers learned of the various challenges young activists and entrepreneurs face. A particularly moving account was that of a differently-abled activist who did not want help to reach the venue but was forced to as there was no ramp – just an example of the everyday challenges differently-abled individuals face.
The panellists responded to the queries and assured the young participants that they would convey the issues to the respective ministries and establishments. The panel also addressed a confusion regarding the role of Young Bangla -- it would not directly disburse funds to youth organisations but would connect them to potential investors and donors.
The event ended on a high note with the announcement of a National Youth Summit in February, 2015.
To register as a participant/ volunteer/ organisation, go to: http://www.youngbangla.org/