• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:04 am

YfP and IID organizes ‘Policy Camp 2021’

  • Published at 10:43 pm October 13th, 2021
Policy Camp 2021

The program brought together young people from all over Bangladesh and provided them with training on personal development, tools and techniques for skills improvement, and policy advocacy so that they can become Policy Entrepreneurs

Policy Camp 2021, a 5-day long residential program, was organized by the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) and Youth for Policy (YfP) partnered with Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), PROKAS, British Council, UKAid and Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) from October 3 to 6. This initiative aimed to engage youth in long-term policy initiatives to make public policy more inclusive. 

The program brought together young people from all over Bangladesh and provided them with training on personal development, tools and techniques for skills improvement, and policy advocacy so that they can become Policy Entrepreneurs. Designed to improve participant’s understanding of public policy and their role in the policy reforming process, the rigorous training challenged participants’ mindset, capacity and political skills in promoting policy innovations. The previous ‘Policy Camp 2019’ hosted 56 youth participants from 16 districts and ‘Policy Camp 2018’ hosted 101 youth participants from 23 districts.

This year, due to Covid-19, the application procedure was kept very strict. From over 700 applications that were received, 20 participants from 14 different districts were selected. The participants had to inform their Covid-19 vaccination status and take a Covid-19 test before joining camp. During the camp, all Covid-19 protocols were strictly followed.  

The 5 days of camp were designed to train participants in policy advocacy, where they learned how to gather evidence for policy, how to inform the public and policy makers, and eventually how to include and bring policy to the public. There were sessions specifically on participants’ personal development, aiming to imbibe empathy and sensitivity in the participants so that, going forward, they can utilize this learning in all aspects of their lives.

The first and second days of camp included an intense set of workshops and activities. On the first day, participants attended workshops where the goal was to encourage participants to question their own biases, make participants more aware of their privileges by learning about intersectionality, using the lens of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) and understanding human centered design thinking. The participants brought forward their concerns and issues as youths of Bangladesh. The next day, participants learnt what public advocacy is, how to inquire, and how to inform. They learnt techniques of inquiring such as using a mind map and fact checking, and skills of informing like video shooting through storytelling and effective use of social media. They were also divided into teams and asked to find their group ‘ikigai’ which they then presented in front of everyone present. Participants went for a field trip to UCEP Training Center, Gazipur, where they interviewed returnee migrant workers and skills trainees, the trainers at the institute and the management staff. They also interviewed a local entrepreneur and members of Lal Sabuj Society (LSS) working on the LSS-YfP Covid Awareness program. Their theme was “Future of Work”, and participants collected data on climate issues, skills, security issues for working women, and so on to make a policy brief.

On the last day of camp, participants presented their mind maps, policy briefs and videos they made from the data collected utilizing all their learnings from the previous two days. In attendance were Honourable Member of Parliament Advocate Adiba Anjum Mita, MP; Mahjabeen Khaled, Former MP and Co-chair of Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice; and Syeed Ahamed, CEO of IID and Adviser of YfP. In the session Hello MP, participants got the chance to bring forth their issues and concerns to the honourable guests. The discussion varied from issues on unemployment, skills training, climate justice, river bank erosion, secure and better environment for better entrepreneurship opportunities and active participation of youth in public policy. The session was vibrant with opinions and suggestions from the participants and active encouragement from the guests. The session was followed by a discussion with the participants on future plans after Policy Camp. Through this camp, participants became members of the YfP network and will have the opportunity to work with IID in the future. The event concluded with a certificate giving ceremony. 

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