The British Council has organised a National Youth Summit under its PRODIGY project (Promoting Democratic Inclusion and Governance through Youth) in partnership with leading Civil Society organisations of Bangladesh including Democracywatch, Shushilan, the Hunger Project, Uttaran and Wave Foundation on 21 March 2019 at Bangla Academy, Dhaka. Kanbar Hossein-Bor, British Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh inaugurated the summit as Chief Guest. Andrew Newton, Deputy Director of British Council Bangladesh was also present among others.
The PRODIGY project aims to increase peaceful and meaningful civic participation in local governance and to create a more inclusive society by promoting accountability, transparency, inclusivity and social cohesion as well as upholding pluralism and valuing differences in perspectives. PRODIGY has developed the knowledge and skills of more than 800 young people directly and more than 1300 like-minded youth indirectly to engage the wider community through volunteer activities, including youth club activities, theatre performances, internships with local government, community radio programmes and public dialogues. Through these activities, the project creates platforms and channels to ensure that the wider community has access to government information. PRODIGY also supports innovative and creative ways to ensure that marginalised communities receive the information and guidance they need to enable their participation in, and contribution to, social change.
The National Summit provided youth participants a platform to showcase the brilliant work they have done in the communities to increase people’s access to government information and services. Over 500 youth participants attended the summit. This event also provided opportunities to participating youth to demonstrate their achievements and the positive youth engagement in different spheres. The event brought together representatives from government, sector experts, development partners, academia, social activists, researchers and enthusiasts.
Participants presented 15 Social Action Projects (SAP) in a stall-exhibition setup. The stalls were decorated with photos of the accomplished activities in the community, banner, poster and community information map etc. The guests visited the stalls after the inauguration ceremony and the participants shared their experiences and achievements of their Social Action Projects.
In the summit, two panel discussions were organised involving key sector specialists. The first panel discussion focused on “Role of Youth in Achieving SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” and the second discussion on “Role of Youth in Building Social Harmony”
Panel discussion 1:
- Professor Dr. Tofail Ahmed, Local Governance Specialist
- Ms. Farah Kabir, Country Director, Action Aid Bangladesh
- Mr. Mohsin Ali, Executive Director, WAVE Foundation
- Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)
- Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, Country Director, The Hunger Project and Secretary of SHUJAN
Panel discussion 2:
- Kazi Maruful Islam, Professor, Dept. of Development Studies, University of Dhaka
- Dr. Niloy Ranjan Biswas, Associate Professors Dept. of International relation
- Mr Feroj Wazed, Deputy Executive Director, DemocracyWatch
- Aminul Ehsan- Program Director, Democracy International
- Mr. Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron, Chairman, Debate for Democracy
The first panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Country Director, The Hunger Project and Secretary of SHUJAN and the second panel was moderated by Mr. Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron, Chairman, Debate for Democracy.
This summit encouraged the youth participants to continue their good work in the community through an award giving ceremony to the 15 high achieving Social Action Projects which was showcased at the summit.