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Dhaka Tribune

Youths voice concerns, propose solutions 

  • Undertaking startups instead of focusing on traditional jobs proposed 
  • Around 25 youths from diverse backgrounds participated in the seminar


Update : 27 May 2024, 11:21 PM

Youths on Monday voiced concerns ranging from challenges in accessing quality education and employment opportunities to societal issues such as child marriage, disability inclusion, and gender inequality at a seminar in Dhaka.

They also proposed solutions, including undertaking startups instead of focusing on traditional jobs, promoting skill development programs tailored to current market demands, and advocating for gender equality through community engagement and awareness campaigns.

The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka, in collaboration with Plan International Bangladesh, hosted the seminar, titled “Listen to the Voices of the Youth”, at the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence. The seminar focused on identifying and addressing key social issues impacting Bangladeshi youth.

Around 25 youths from diverse backgrounds participated in the seminar. The event provided a platform for in-depth discussions, the exchange of innovative ideas, and gaining valuable insights into the current situation and future of the youth in Bangladesh.

Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh Espen Rikter-Svendsen highlighted the need for youth involvement in solving societal challenges.

"Bangladesh still has a youthful population, but the voices of young people are seldom heard in the public sphere. Solutions to the country’s and the world’s many challenges and pressing issues must be sought in dialogue with the people who will still be here in the decades ahead," he said.

Kabita Bose, country director for Plan International Bangladesh, emphasized the need for increased investment in youth activism and leadership.

“We want girls and youths to have ample opportunities to flourish. We want youths to fulfill their dreams, and we are here to support them. Plan International Bangladesh is here to provide them with assistance to achieve economic empowerment and connect them with proper channels to enhance their leadership and entrepreneurial qualities,” she said.

Film Director Raka Noshin Nower and President of Women and e-Commerce Trust (WE) Nasima Akter Nisha presented the keynote speeches.

They discussed topics such as promoting better social awareness of youth issues, gender equality, freedom of speech, creativity and tolerance among youth, creating a more skilled youth workforce, and facilitating youth entrepreneurship to combat unemployment.

They also highlighted existing traditional social norms and how to overcome them to advocate for gender equality rights, thereby creating a positive impact for the youth in the country.

“Youths should be motivated and positively encouraged. They need to practice and pursue their dreams to achieve them. There are many resources around them, and they must curate these by gathering accurate knowledge,” Raka Noshin Nower said.

Nasima Akter Nisha focused on entrepreneurship, skills, and opportunities for Bangladeshi youth.

She pointed out: “Skill development is required for the youths to move forward in this competitive society. They have to think beyond. In this regard, support from NGOs, the government, and corporations is required to facilitate youth employment.”

The seminar included a panel discussion and breakout sessions where the youth participants discussed these crucial social issues and proposed possible solutions.

During the panel discussion, the participants raised other related societal issues such as the key factors driving child marriage, disability inclusion in institutions and workplaces, problems of gender norms and stereotyping, preventing persecution of minority and marginalized communities, challenges faced by youth while seeking employment and undertaking startups, and acquiring skills that are in demand in the ever-changing job market and entrepreneurial landscape.

Marzuk AN Hossain, research associate at Brac’s BIGD; Shourza Talukder, research associate at CPD; Farhana Raha, executive member of YES Bangladesh; and Alamgir Kabir, member of the Youth Taskforce for the Future, participated in the panel discussion moderated by Faez Belal, executive director of the Barisal Youth Society.

Nishath Sultana, director of policy, advocacy, influencing, and campaigns at Plan International Bangladesh, provided the closing remarks.

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