On 12 August 2018, the British Council celebrated International Youth Day across Bangladesh. This day is of international significance not only because it showcases youth talent, but the day also encourages young people to make positive contributions by engaging them in social development and awareness-raising projects. This year’s theme was ‘Safe Spaces for Youth.’

Our youth based projects of Society programme; PRODIGY ( Promoting Democratic Inclusion and Governance through Youth) and Active Citizens observed International Youth Day in eight divisions of Bangladesh. Youth leaders engaged with like-minded young people of the communities, key stakeholders, local government agencies, government officials, civil societies, electronic and print media personalities. Various activities and events were organised by the PRODIGY youth leaders, which engaged relevant government departments and a wide range of influential members of the society. The following activities were done as a part of raising awareness on "Safe Spaces for Youth"  - 

Community clean-up campaigns: Youth leaders took part in cleaning their communities in different project locations. The aim of this clean-up campaign was to create awareness on community belongingness and taking responsibility to keep the community safe and clean. Respective community leaders, guests, students and young members enthusiastically participated in these campaigns. 

Panel discussions: 25 panel discussions were held in the different communities on issues like the role of youth in implementing SDG 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels) in community development. The discussion sessions were mainly focused on the inclusion of youth for social activities and in local government proceedings for ensuring development initiatives and sustainable development.

Social Action Projects: Youth leaders showcased their social action projects to the community people. These projects were presented in different stalls which were decorated with photos and displays of the activities accomplished in each community, printed materials such as banners and posters to highlight the projects, information maps etc. The guests visited these stalls, and youth leaders shared their experiences and achievements of the social action projects.

Sports and games: The day also included friendly football matches to raise awareness on the significance of safe spaces for youth for their physical and mental development. 

Rallies: Last but not the least along with local leaders, government officials, local government counter parts, civil society members, teachers and our youth leaders held rallies in 25 different locations to build awareness regarding safe spaces for youth. 

“The international youth day has given us an excellent opportunity to build good relationships with important factions of our societies and tell the brilliant stories of our social action projects to the world,” says Active Citizen Susmita Ghosh from Rajshahi. “It will support us to make bridges with them and make positive changes to our community.”

More than 5000 young people, along with representatives from local governments, government officials, members of political parties and civil societies, and media personnel attended the events. The celebrations were broadcasted on national TV channels and covered in local and national newspapers.

In addition to this, our young learner students of the British Council Teaching Centres also celebrated International Youth Day 2018 by designing colourful and creative posters with quotes, recommendations and oaths relevant to the theme of ‘Safe space for youth’. The creatives were put up as exhibitions, and the audience enjoyed hearing from the students about their work.

The British Council believes that, youth are the driving force of the country who will undertake key role both in national and international level to make devlelopment process sutainable and we provide enormous opportunities for young Bangladeshis to gain the skills they need. Through our different projects we are creating active citizens who are actively working throughout the year to implement the SDGs within their communities also participate in global dialogues.