As youth is a key priority area for the British Council globally, this year our Inclusive Communities team organised a month-long virtual celebration to mark International Youth Day 2020. This year’s theme for International Youth Day seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels are enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes. The month-long celebration the British Council has organised includes interactive virtual discussions hosted by our civil society partner organisations, inspiring videos from our young activists from across our programme portfolio, and a panel discussion with the participation of key stakeholders - all highlighting the breadth and depth of our youth engagement work in Bangladesh, including the proactive Covid-19 response nationwide, and work in climate action. 

The Active Citizens partners Centre for Communication and Development (CCD)DemocracywatchThe Hunger Project (THP)ShushilanUttaranWave Foundation, and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), organised seven online Facebook LIVE sessions where British Council team members from Inclusive Communities team have joined and discussed on a wide range of issues such as initiatives on youth skill development during Covid-19 situation, youth engagement for global action, youth ideas regarding Corona situation and role that they are playing to be resilient to pandemic situation etc. These sessions can be watched on the partners' official Facebook pages.

On 18 August 2020, the British Council hosted a virtual LIVE session where Mr Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir (Additional Secretary), Director General, Department of Youth Development (DYD), Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr Javed Patel, British Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, Global Vice President and Country Director to The Hunger Project Bangladesh, Zafar Sobhan, Editor of Dhaka Tribune, and Rukaiya Alam Moumita Active Citizens Youth Leader and Active Citizens facilitator participated as distinguished panellists. The session was moderated by Dr Shahnaz Karim, the Director of Inclusive Communities and Arts, British Council Bangladesh. In this session, panellists discussed the policies and programmes of the Government of Bangladesh that focuses on youth and skills, youth engagement in the local and national level that is contributing at the global level, the role of media to enhance youth resilience challenges that the youth are facing in this pandemic and set of skills and platforms that youth needs during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, UK government priorities and contribute to youth development globally and locally etc. Panellists shared their views and talked about the opportunities from their sector. Mr Badiul Alam, shared his thoughts on how leadership capacity is developed, which contributes directly to the society and the responsibilities of civil society organisations to guide them to that path. Mr Zafar Sobhan talked about the platform that the media is trying to identify the problems that youth are facing currently and creating a platform or space for youth where they can address these issues. Mr Javed Patel shared British High commission’s initiatives focusing youth’s capacity development, youth activism, education and employment opportunity creation programme for disadvantaged people, education for underprivileged children, vocational training for almost 50000 young people, and Active Citizens programme that connects more than 45000 young people around Bangladesh. Mr Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir talked about the DYD initiatives and resources for capacity development for youth. DYD provides training for the under-privileged, unemployed and youth who have less chance for higher education which help them creating employment for themselves and develop entrepreneurship skills. Also, they are provided with soft loans through Bangladesh Karmasangsthan Bank so that they can pledge income-generating initiatives for themselves. Watch the Facebook LIVE discussion here.

Earlier in the month, Ms Shahnaz Karim participated in a virtual dialogue on climate action and green recovery cooperation with ‘We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership, Netherlands, and ActionAid Bangladesh as part of the celebration of International Youth Day on 12 August 2020. In this virtual session, the young people from the 19 coastal districts of Bangladesh gathered online to celebrate their achievements so far in protecting the environment and taking climate actions. ‘Action Hub’ was also launched in this programme which is an online and offline platform for young people. Honourable Minister Dr A.K Abdul Momen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the Chief Guest at this event. The Facebook LIVE discussion is available to watch here

As part of our virtual celebration, the British Council youth-focused initiatives of Active Citizens programme, DARE (Disability Arts: Redefining Empowerment), Arts team, PROKAS, Libraries Unlimited and P4D have been showcasing the youth actions and initiatives for community development in the form of recorded video testimonies under the tagline ‘Youth for Social Change’. To watch these videos as they are gradually released, keep an eye on our British Council YouTube channel and British Council Bangladesh Facebook page.