The Digital Khichuri Challenge, a platform for youth to identify cultural barriers and come up with practical and innovative solutions, is slated for a Jessore session in December.
The programme is organized by UNDP Bangladesh and supported by Facebook, Microsoft and Bangladesh ICT Division.
The challenge was open for online registration from October 17 to 24 for the Dhaka chapter and had two sections – identify a social problem affecting the Bangladeshi values of pluralism and tolerance, and offer a feasible solution to the identified problem.
The forms were shortlisted to 30 individuals who went on to participate in a three-day ideas lab where they were split into groups and participated in a number of workshops, talks and received constant mentorship.
After three days of ideation, grooming, and troubleshooting, the teams all presented their ideas, and three were recognized based on their real-world feasibility.
A special jury, which included Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for Ministry of ICT; along with two representatives from UNDP announced the winners of the challenge, recognizing the innovative solutions by the youth for upholding diversity and peace, considering the pluralism in Bangladesh.
The winning team, Bonsai, focused on the increasing detachment and polarization among the youth, which leads to isolation and increasing stress and anxiety. The team came up with the Anu-Bot, an automated messenger app to listen to the problems of juveniles and offer solutions to manage their anger and stress by offering them an ear.
Additionally, the app will collect data from the users and collate information on what the common problems and stresses among the youth are. In this way, the data may be used to design interventions that directly address the core issues facing the nation’s youth.
The 1st runner-up was Jagoron, for their idea to popularize the indigenous fashion and music of Bangladesh into mainstream popular culture.
The team identified the depictions in media and the multi-faceted Bangladeshi identity is instead seen as homogenous. The team seeks to break this stereotype by using music and fashion as a medium to promote indigenous cultures, and not equate the Bangali identity as solely Bangladeshi one.
She Tara was the 2nd runner-up for their planned intervention to empower rural women through ICT skills training and development.
Instead of a one-off charitable initiative, their platform seeks to permanently empower the women and provide them with lifelong skills training equipping them to work in our fast-changing landscape.
Empowerment of these women can break the barriers holding them back from economic emancipation, and promote equal participation.