Designed to improve participant’s understanding of public policy and their role in the policy reforming process, Policy Camp 2021 trained participants to develop skills in informed decision making to help them become efficient and effective at personal and professional level and as community leaders as well.
We are in the fourth industrial revolution, where new technologies are being developed and old methods becoming obsolete at an exponential rate. It is important that young people have the skills to be able to keep pace with the changing world around them. Globalization has flattened the world in a way where young people from all walks of life, from all corners of the world are competing at the same levels regardless of their many differentiated struggles. Therefore, youth in developing countries like Bangladesh need to learn tools, techniques and acquire knowledge that can help them be at the same level as their peers from around the world. Emphasis must be given to broadening their skills in personal development, skills needed for their professional endeavors, and also in skills that help them become responsible and active members of their communities.
Policy Camp 2021, was organized by 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 2nd – 6th at Chuti Resort, Gazipur. The program brought together young leaders from all around the country participating in intense workshops and training to begin their journey as policy entrepreneurs.
Using theory and practical activities, the 5 day long residential training program encourages youth participants to be more aware and reflective of their own privileges, prejudices and biases. It is imperative that young people are able to accept diversity, recognize intersectionality and how they can be policy advocates for policies that minimize disparities and avoid marginalization.
Participants learnt the basics of IID’s 3i approach – Inquire, Inform, and Involve. In a field trip to UCEP Training Centre, Gazipur, participants got to apply their learning of inquiry through interviewing various stakeholders on the theme of Future of Work. Participants were divided into groups and asked to interview a local entrepreneur, skills trainees, and youth climate activists, utilizing all the tools and techniques they acquired.
At the end of the Camp, participants got the opportunity to pitch their policy briefs and videos in the “Hello MP” session to Honorable 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. Through the Hello MP, the youth volunteers got to bring forward their concerns and issues on the future of work that they have identified in front of the policy makers and discuss policy solutions. This was their first step in successfully using all their learning from Camp and engaging policy actors in issues that they want policy actors to prioritize.
‘Entrepreneurship is a very effective way to tackle the unemployment problem’, opined Advocate Adiba Anjum Mita, MP, when giving feedback on the ways to alleviate youth unemployment, ‘policies need to make it easy for anyone to engage in entrepreneurial ventures.’ Mahjabeen Khaled, Former MP and Co-chair of Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice, encouraged all the participants to be proactive in their communities and develop networking skills that will be most useful in their future policy advocacy aspirations.
Policy Camp Graduates become part of the YfP Youth Network as volunteers, and participate in policy advocacy events organized by IID and YfP. Since 2018, IID has been organizing Policy Camps in different districts and have trained around 180 youths from more than 30 districts.The aim is that this network of Policy Champions will be more active within their local communities and work together with local policy stakeholders, to bring about positive change for their peers and society at large.