Young Bangla, one of the premier youth networks of Bangladesh, hosted an interactive discussion session with its leader and the ICT Affairs Advisor to the Honorable Prime Minister, Sajeeb Wazed. The discussion session was held on October 22, 2019 at the capital.
The session was attended by 250 youths. Joy Bangla Youth Award winning organizations, Young Bangla Campus Ambassadors, Student to Startup Campus Ambassadors, Microsoft Young Bangla Interns and Brand Ambassadors, Vision 2021 Interns, Sheikh Russell Digital Lab (SRDL) Coordinators were the participants of this view exchange session.
The event started with welcome and introductory remarks of the guest Mr. Sajeeb Wazed. The entire event was segmented in four sessions and the discussion was moderated by Shah Ali Farhad.
Digital Future of Youth Development
First session was ‘Digital Future of Youth Development’. Tonmoy Ahmed, Coordinator, CRI in his opening remarks briefed on how Young Bangla is partnering with different stakeholder in the journey of building digital future of youth development in Bangladesh. Moreover, he specifically talked on the different initiatives by Young Bangla Secretariat.
Young Bangla partnered with ICT Division to implement Student to Startup initiative which eyeing to create student startup ecosystem in Bangladesh. Within six months Student to Startup Chapter 1 and 2 was completed. Moreover, Young Bangla partnered and spearheaded the National Children Programming Contest which aims to foster programming at very early stage. With more than 40,000 contestants, making National Children Programming Contest highly competitive, the contest has become very popular among the children who started programing at very early stage and aspire to make difference in programming.
Sheikh Russell Digital Lab initiative is expanding day by day with 4,901 labs established nationwide till date where 2800 volunteers were placed. Tech Hub is another Young Bangla initiative in partnership with Microsoft Bangladesh, the tech giant. Till date, there are 64 Tech-Hubs established in 64 districts with a view to connect Young Bangla regional network members with leading startups eyeing to expand operation nationwide.
Honorable ICT Advisor shared his current focus and future plan in translating the Digital Bangladesh vision. He shared that with the growing ICT network expansion countrywide, shifting government to e-government, now Bangladesh needs to adapt with the new ICT happenings. Inclusion and adaption of Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Robotics are the future and Bangladesh has lot to do in this area. There is a scope for Bangladesh to become the leaders in AI, Robotics.
While answering a question from the participants on the scope of grassroots entrepreneurship development Mr. Sajeeb Wazed said, there are demands of these kinds of activities and government will regionalize and localize these initiatives soon.
Echoing the other initiative of the government for entrepreneurship development and create startup ecosystem in Bangladesh the Premier’s Advisor said, government made BDT 1 billion allocation in fiscal year 2019-20 budget to provide startup capital to promote all types of startup enterprises among youths.
Besides, while answering a question on providing training and workshop facilities at university level on IoT, Big Data, Honorable Advisor said, the government is now trying to focus on reducing foreign dependency in these issues and want to focus on long term self-sustainability model. In a bid to become a leader, AI, IoT, Robotics should be the talk of the nation.
Vision 2021 Internship
This session was about Young Bangla Vision 2021 Internship program, the first ever initiative in Bangladesh where a fresh graduate can have a firsthand experience of public sector internship. The panelist Israt Farzana Tanni, Assistant Coordinator, Young Bangla, underscored Vision 2021 Internship Program as a unique opportunity for the youth. Till the date more than 3500 (three thousand five hundred) youth got placement opportunity in private and public sectors.
One of the significant outreach is, Young Bangla placed 350 interns in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Ministry of Power Energy and Mineral Resources (MoPEMR). Newly 8 Interns got placement opportunity at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) following the last batch of 2016.
While responding to a recommendation to take Vision 2021 Internship outside Dhaka and include DC Offices and other government agencies, honorable ICT Advisor said, the initiative just began and the expansion will come gradually.
Inclusion of more ministries for internship was suggested by a participant and Israt Farzana, the panelist of this session assured that Young Bangla is trying to reach more ministries and trying to mobilize stakeholders so that Vision 2021 Internship program can expand its activity and place more interns in near future.
Joy Bangla Stories of Youth
This session was all about the stories of Young Bangla members who accomplished something after joining Young Bangla network. Among the winners of Joy Bangla Youth Award, Zahir Iqbal joined the panel discussion to share their success stories, struggles and expectation from Young Bangla.
Zahir Iqbal believes, Young Bangla brought radical change in his life and his organizational activities. He became more focused in chasing his dreams and goals. He believes that after winning Joy Bangla Youth Award, more promising leaders emerged as agents of change in the community.
In this session, Young Bangla members placed their demands before the premier’s advisor, Mr. Sajeeb Wazed. Some of them were – a Young Bangla youth hub in each division, more budgetary allocation for cultural activism and grant for social innovation.
Honorable ICT Advisor assured to provide necessary support for the growth and expansion of these organizations. He also said that there are a good number of budget allocations for social development work and they should apply formally to avail these funds.
Youth on Politics
The session started with an opening speech of Honorable ICT Advisor Mr. Sajeeb Wazed. He applauded the youth before him for not waiting for the government to solve their problem. He lauded the youth for coming forward to address social problems.
He underscored that the youth before him, the Young Bangla is the answer of the question, what government is doing for the youth. He urged the youth to come out of the comfort zone, to break the stereotypes of choosing conventional career by becoming entrepreneur and problem solver. He emphasized on the point that not everyone has to work on social welfare. Youth can serve the nation by becoming entrepreneur, by becoming employer of thousand other youth. He urged the guardian to let their child grow and let them make mistakes because they will learn from mistakes.
While appreciating the contribution of youth the ICT Advisor coined-
“I feel proud of our youths. Instead of only banking on public jobs, the way they have stepped in, with tenacity and dedication, to fight out the social vices are really worth mentionable”.
Participants came up with some suggestions regarding inclusion of more women in politics, inclusion of more youth in politics.