They say that the government, civil society, and both public and private sectors should be held accountable for their commitments made to the country’s youth
The country’s youths want to see a transparent, inclusive, robust and accountable democratic governance system to achieve progress and development.
As many as 64 youth representatives from across the country made the call during a dialogue with young political leaders, which aimed to exchange views and expectations and discuss their involvement in overall youth development.
The half-day participatory dialogue was held to mark the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence – arranged by Jaago in collaboration with The Asia Foundation – at Dhaka’s Doreen Hotels & Resorts.
They said that all – including the government, civil society and both public and private sectors of the country – should be held accountable for their commitments and urged the institutions functioning at different levels to be effective, transparent, accountable and democratic.
According to the organizers, this dialogue has developed a positive relationship between the political and youth representatives.
Speaking at the event, Sirajganj’s Belal Hossain, a youth representative, said: “Our desired goals will not be achieved if transparency, accountability and proper administration of justice are not ensured.”
He believes that meritorious students refrain from getting involved in politics due to “its unhealthy culture.” He said that this trend was alarming for the future of democracy in the country as it would lead to a lack of young leaders.
Sumaiya Safat, who participated in the dialogue from Khulna, said: “if we want to establish good governance and also want to practice democracy then we must avoid the ‘might is right’ policy.”
If the practice of democracy is undertaken properly, the country will change for the better very easily and the existing inequalities that stand in the way of development will be eliminated, according to youth representatives Naximur Rahman and Shariyer Ahmed.
Meanwhile, Founder and Executive Director of Jaago Foundation Korvi Rakshand, said: “We have invited youth representatives from 64 districts of Bangladesh who actively work in community development in their areas. They have shared their views with young political leaders about community development, change of anti-democratic and extreme values, soft skill development and implications in employment, entrepreneurship opportunities in communities, etc.
“I believe engaging youth with the political representatives will not only enhance their skills and leadership potential, but political representatives will also value their contributions, which will be effective for the betterment of the country.”
Awami League MP Nahim Razzaq, said: “We shouldn’t use the ‘no vote.’ Everyone should vote for his or her preferred candidates. We have to choose to talk about different issues of our society, thus ensuring youth vocalization.
“We need individualism and, at the same time, targeted social work to improve the well-being of society. The job market today is very competitive, with the scope of jobs in the public sector being small, while the private sector is robust,” added the Young Bangla convener while stressing the importance of skill building and vocational studies along with a three-tier education.
“We need to be very vocal; we need to choose and give our opinion,” he said.
‘United we stand, united we lead!’
Expressing similar sentiments, former lawmaker and Jubo Mohila League President Nazma Akhter emphasized an industrial revolution for the country to reach the level of the developed world.
She also underscored the idea that young people should be entrepreneurs, and “we all should do politics for human service.
“Young people should be encouraged to become entrepreneurs. They will be able to secure their jobs, as well as employ others,” she added.
Besides, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Executive Committee member Tabith Awal highlighted the importance of improving the health and education sectors.
“It is important to increase and enhance the skills set of the labour force. For that, more and more training programs should be arranged,” he said, urging youths to work on their skills set and increase their confidence as they were the future leaders of the country.
“Our days are drawing to an end. Now it is time for the youth,” he added.
BNP MP Barrister Rumeen Farhana mentioned that a working woman in this society needed to do two jobs - one at work and one at home, taking care of the family.
Most females face barriers and this situation should be improved, she said, adding, “We are too reliant on government sector jobs, and we have infrastructural problems.”
She said: “We live in a society that hates women.
“We are too reliant on government sector jobs. As long as we do not increase investment in all industries, we cannot increase the number of jobs in the economy.”
Jatiya Party (JaPa) MP Ahsan Adelur Rahman alias Adel emphasized mainly producing more entrepreneurs from among youths, who could solve the current problems of the country.
According to him, Bangladeshis also lacked communication skills.
“We are the servants of the people. Young people need to change their mindset, behaviour and think about how to contribute to their country.”
Nobonita Chowdhury, Director, Gender, Justice and Diversity (GJD) and Preventing Violence Against Women Initiative, Brac, facilitated the half-day dialogue.