With great festivity and enthusiasm, the Active Citizens Regional Achievers' Summit has been organised in four divisional districts of Bangladesh where hundreds of Active Citizens participated to share their ideas and social action projects. These summits were a platform for the youth to empower themselves to give back to the community.
It started with Dhaka at the Bangladesh National Library Auditorium, Dhaka. The British Council, in partnership with The Hunger Project, organised the summit for the Active Citizens youth leaders of Dhaka division to showcase their sustained projects and activities which brought about pragmatic changes in their communities and to recognise the best Social Action Projects (SAPs) with awards.
Kanbar Hossein Bor, Deputy High Commissioner of British High Commission Dhaka, was present there as the chief guest along with Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh, British Council. Dr Halida Hanum Akhter, Former Chief of Party USAID-DFID, NGO Health Service Delivery Project and Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, Director and Global Vice-President, The Hunger Project attended the event as special guests.
The summit was a source of inspiration for the young change-makers. “I have attended many fairs before, but this kind of event is quite new and unique to me,” said Alif Khan, one of the awarded Active Citizens who showcased his team’s project at the summit. “It is a nice opportunity to give an idea to the world about what we are doing and how we are contributing. I believe, if all the youth of our generation get themselves engaged and work together for their communities, certainly we will be able to change our country to that condition which we always desire for.” Alif's team is working on making people aware of the harassment that the women of all ages, classes face in public transports in Dhaka city. Their target is to eradicate this social disease through advocacy, making awareness and ensuring the implementation of laws. Their commuting style is like canvassers, and in that way, they are spreading the awareness in public places like bus stands. That is why they named their SAP as “Social Canvasser”. This was one of the top sixteen Social Actions Projects that was showcased during the 'Active Citizens Regional Achievers’ Summit 2018.
The summit also included a panel discussion session. It focused on two significant issues that are relevant to the interests and engagement of the youth. The discussants of a session titled ‘Role of the Youth to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals’ were Dr Shibly Noman Khan, Associate Professor, School of Business, Independent University Bangladesh and Dr Shahnaz Karim, Director Society, British Council. Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar moderated the session. In the panel discussion titled ‘Digital Opportunity for the Youth,’ the speakers were Iqbal Bahar, Director and CEO, Optimax Communication Ltd and Mohammad Ferdaus, Coordinator, PPDM, BRAC University. The session was moderated by Toufiq Hasan, Head of Society, British Council.
After competitive judgment by ten judges from different professional backgrounds, the award-winning volunteer groups were acknowledged with appreciation crests. From each district the summit awarded three best social action projects.
“We believe the recognition of the Social Action Projects is a formal acknowledgement from our part to the efforts of the youth leaders, it will inspire all the volunteers to be engaged in the tremendous job they are doing,” said Toufiq Hasan.
Around 2000 youth from different institutions participated in these regional summits.