In July 2018, the British Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Youth Development (DYD) under Ministry of Youth and Sports to build social leadership skills of young people and promote youth volunteerism in Bangladesh. This collaboration gives way to new opportunities to work towards youth leadership and empowerment by linking about 2000 young people across the 64 districts of Bangladesh.

The memorandum agrees to conduct a series of activities for the facilitators’ pool and build their social leadership skills by using the Active Citizens methodology and training toolkit. Over November and December 2018, two four-day sessions were conducted where 70 participating DYD government officials received facilitators training and expertise to train and lead the youth population of Bangladesh. These facilitators will then cascade their newly learned skills and knowledge to young leaders through specially designed leadership training, who will carry out social action projects at their community on various social themes. After the successful completion of the training and social action project, each young leader will be awarded a certificate jointly signed by the DYD and the British Council.

The residential training took place in the Sheikh Hasina National Youth Centre. Mallick Sayeed Mahbub, Director Training of Department of Youth Development, was present as the motivator guest. The four-day training focused on intensive nurturing skills, which are essential for a facilitator. The main sessions included exercises on how to set goals and write proposals for a social action projects, to conduct community mapping, to closely follow the do’s and don’ts of leadership, and understand how the Active Citizens training works. Some of the sessions also addressed other holistic issues to highlight the importance of creating self-awareness, empathy and respect for others while working together in a team, to understand how cultures are differently expressed, and to understand the need of communication and advocacy to maintain dignified global citizenship.

Each day began with recap sessions of previous learnings to set apart the differences between expectations and the field reality and to identify any space to expand, change or fine-tune any session if necessary.  “I have gained more confidence as a facilitator after receiving the training session, and this training was different than any traditional training,” said participant Shyamal Krishna Malakar.

The vigorous four-day training sessions with the DYD officials have been held to ensure engagement on governance level which will help integrate the Active Citizens learnings, a cascade of knowledge created directly from the master trainers of Active Citizens to the government and the community leaders through engagement of like-minded youth through social action initiatives. Thus, Active Citizens programme builds trust within and between communities by supporting people to act on issues they care about.