Introduction

Bangladesh Firestarter Initiative (BFI) responds to the challenges of youths lacking the capability or leadership skills. The project builds the capacity of innovative youth led organisations, especially those led by youth from underprivileged backgrounds, specifically women, girls, and minority communities outside Dhaka. It aims to establish a connection with the wider youth sector and supporting small youth groups through youth-adult partnerships, capacity development, and mentorship schemes.

Background

In a country with a population of over 150 million, youth consist of approximately 1/3 of the populations. They can be the most valuable human assets in the world if they have the opportunity to be fully integrated into their communities. To ensure this integration is inclusive, concerted effort on working with the most vulnerable populations – young women, girls and minorities – is essential. 

The Bangladesh Firestarter Initiative is a reactive and open Innovation Fund that was developed to facilitate emerging and innovative youth-led organisations in their advocacy projects. These organisations are led by disadvantaged youth, especially young women, girls and minorities outside Dhaka. It aims at building the capacity of young people and their organisations through the provision of targeted capacity development courses, peer learning, coaching & mentoring, as well as facilitating the establishment of networks with wider partners in the youth sector, to facilitate sustainable and impactful social change.

Programmatic interventions of AAB engage young people, living in exclusion, particularly with young women and marginalized groups that are excluded based on their identity and locality. And all these engagements are meant to create spaces for young people to convene, facilitate and co-create with the local struggles and connect with progressive social movements, at local, national, regional and international levels.

The International Youth Day, on 12th August, was an opportunity of ambitious prospect of creating lasting impact and awareness among the youth as well as the greater community. This year, the International Youth Day is being observed with the theme of ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ which covers the areas such as Public Spaces, Digital Spaces, Civic Spaces and Physical Spaces, all together. AAB emphasizes that young people must claim their spaces, letting their voices being heard and identifying their diverse needs to be addressed by respective quarters. This is imperative in harnessing the potential of young people in changing this world. According to the theme of International Youth Day, young people should have their stake in the decision-making process exercised. They should engage in governance structure and processes. At the same time, they should demand full opportunity for participation in sports and other leisure activities. All physical structures must be accessible to all groups of young people including persons with disabilities.

In the context of Bangladesh, claiming safe spaces for young people is more relevant than anything as around 53 million of young people are facing lots of challenges and constraints triggered by structural causes. Young people have poor representation in the various decision-making structures whether these are formal or non-formal. Be it be urban or rural settings, there are very few public spaces where young people can spend their leisure time. Safety issues are becoming more prominent in public spaces particularly in highways and public transports. Young women are suffering from sexual harassment, intimidation and abuses etc. to a dire extent. Along with that, young people are restricted in their free expressions of opinion in the various online and offline platforms in many ways. These situations should not continue if we wish to achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, which emphasizes the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization.

To celebrate International Youth Day, AAB  took up a series of programmes from local to national level. At national level, AAB teamed up with the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Bangladesh to participate in a youth gathering and to showcase the works among delegates from government, national and international NGOs and youth platforms, on 6 August 2018.

Along with that, this year AAB is celebrating the International Youth Day on 12 August 2018 in 6 Districts of Bangladesh - Niphamari, Bagerhat, Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Kustia and Chottogram - where Activista Members are taking the lead in organizing events such as bicycle rally, debate, rally, discussion session, street drama, quiz competitions and fairs to create greater awareness on safe spaces among the youth and the greater community.

CategoryDetails
Name Of The InitiativeBangladesh Firestarter Initiative
People Reached2,400 disadvantaged youth
Working together since2015
Focus Areas Of Intervention:Disadvantaged youth, especially women and girls, and minority communities
DivisionKushtia, Joypurhat, Rajshahi, Shirajgonj, Satkhira, Pabna, Bogura, Magura

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