The British Council PRODIGY project organised a Community Study Visit for 26 of its promising youth leaders from 25 respective project locations. They received the opportunity to exchange skills, knowledge and experiences with their local communities and learn about best practices in each community. During the four-day-long visit to Chuadanga and Rajshahi, they visited two different communities, met with local government representatives and beneficiaries of PRODIGY.
The Community Study Visit formally inaugurated with a welcome dinner on 15 June, where they were briefed about the programme activities. The first day was all about different kinds of discussions on social harmony, inclusiveness and pluralism. Youth leaders showcased their Social Action Project (SAP) through creative presentations, photographs, banners and communication materials that they have used for the awareness campaign or meeting. This showcasing helped them share and learn each other’s experiences that they achieved in the last two years in their community, which can be replicated. The next day, the leaders were divided into two teams to visit two different communities – Rajshahi and Chuadanga – with PRODIGY staff members.
The teams first visited the ward counsellor’s office, where they met the ward councillor to learn about the PRODIGY youth leaders’ awareness-building programmes on citizen charter, the counsellor and mayor’s roles in the implementation of SAP and what are the working mechanisms. The meeting also shed light on the challenges in project implementation. They held similar meetings with the local government office in Mougachi and Chuadanga to see how the leaders are collaborating with the community youth. The local PRODIGY youth leaders organised a performance for the visitors and local people called ‘Gomvira (unique folk song of Rajshahi) at Mougachi bazaar, which is an art performance to deliver social messages through music, song and dance. This performance conveyed the message about the Right to Information (RTI) act.
On the third day of the visit, the participants visited a community radio station called Radio Padma. There, Active Citizens youth leaders aired a special programme “Break the Silence” to raise voice against women harassment. Afterwards, G. M. Mortuza, Director of CCD Bangladesh shared his development sector expertise, his learning journey and experiences with the youth leaders at a knowledge-sharing session that was organised by CCD Bangladesh. This was followed by ward and courtyard meetings on the RTI with the local people of Rajshahi and Chuadanga, where the importance of social harmony was stressed through discussions and sharing experiences.
At the last day of the programme, youth leaders were divided into five groups. They shared the learnings of the visit through different kinds of performances. Majority of the groups presented their learning journeys through a drama and one group performed a radio show. The visit ended with a visit to a historically significant place called Puthia Rajbari.