In May 2018, the British Council’s PRODIGY (Promoting Democratic Inclusion and Governance through Youth) project has organised a community study visit for youth groups to its project site locations to allow them to explore projects related to social issues. PRODIGY is one of the many initiatives of the British Council to enrich the youths of Bangladesh with the knowledge and skills to grow into productive and visionary members of the workforce. These visits are arranged to encourage people-to-people relations across cultural, geographical and political boundaries via a dynamic social network of participants.

The community study visit invited 30 (15 of male and female each) youth leaders from 25 respective project locations, who have received prior opportunity to exchange skills, knowledge and experiences from their local communities. These leaders were provided with the chance to experience the best practices in each community by participating with other prominent leaders in the visit. During the three-day programme, they took part in the PRODIGY learning journey, visited two different communities and met with local government representatives and beneficiaries of PRODIGY. Not only were the participants able to assess social areas that needed SAP attention by learning from their peers, but they also learnt the methods by which these communities address and tackle these issues in a systematic manner. The project partner played a key role hosting the visit.

The excursion also included meeting with different youth groups of Active Citizens who are currently working on the development of social harmony between conflict groups. On their visits to different communities and action project sites, they also met with local government representatives and discussed the subjects of community health and prevention of child marriage. They also did further research on possible challenges faced when implementing social action projects in these communities and how to mitigate the crisis effectively with the help of collaboration techniques from local government officials.

This programme was met with positive feedback from the participating youth leaders. “In the study visit I got the opportunity to meet with people from different culture, thinking style and knowledge,” says Jannatul Marjan

Another participant, Md. Mamun Al-Mahmud, Jahanabad union of Rajshahi, adds, “The community study visit works as a tool for learning and networking. When team building and removing a problem from the society is the main goal, a joint retreat, outdoor adventure or related exercises can enhance cooperation and group dynamics to resolve the problem.”