The first report in the series, Bangladesh: The Next Generation, published in 2010, sparked a much needed debate on how the country can transform itself to harness the potential of its young people.
The report offered a comprehensive investigation into the status, aspirations and attitudes of the country’s youth. Over 2,000 young men and women between the ages of 15 and 30 were surveyed as part of the research, and the project was overseen by a Task Force of leading public figures who drew on their expertise to provide a commentary on the findings.
The following questions were addressed by the research:
- What are the challenges facing young people in Bangladesh?
- What concrete steps can be taken to realise the Next Generation’s potential?
- How do we convert young people’s willingness to serve their communities into action?
- How do we ensure that there are jobs for our youth and that they have the skills required doing them?
- What role can the internet and mobile phone technology play?
The report led to the establishment in Bangladesh of our hugely successful youth empowerment programme, Active Citizens, which to date has worked with over 16,000 young people across the country, helping them acquire skills in leadership, communication, citizenship, project delivery, fundraising and network building. The report also found that 76% of young Bangladeshis felt they had little or no say in government decisions and were unsure about their ability to influence, which in turn led to the government’s establishment of the first Bangladesh Youth Parliament, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British Council.
2015 sees the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education – have helped form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. They have galvanised unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. For beyond 2015, new goals will be decided upon, and an international consultation is still ongoing to finalise these goals.
There is a definite need for the thoughts of Bangladeshi young people to be included in this process, and new research can once again act as the catalyst for new interventions in youth empowerment. So, within the context of these new global development goals, our latest research will address the following questions: how is the Next Generation shaping Bangladesh, and how can future development better serve their needs?
The report is based on a mixed methodology of desk research, a series of focus group discussions, a nationally representative survey of 5,000 young people aged 15-30 and an online survey. This is complimented with in-depth interviews with 15 young people that represent the diversity that exists in Bangladesh today.
We partnered with ActionAid Bangladesh and the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh to produce and publish this research. The brief report is now available to read and download online, with the full report due to be published in October 2015.