Keeping the National Election 2024 ahead, a team of three members, including Deen Islam (Oikko), Anindo Sundar Basak, and Shirin Akhter Asha, handed over the ‘Youth Manifesto’ to Members of Parliament and political leaders at the IID’s third Policy Conclave in March 2023. The Youth Manifesto is a youth-led effort to bring forth the political demands of the youth to the politicians. This is an initiative by IID and Youth for Policy (YfP) to ensure that youth voices are heard at the policy level. It started in 2013 and has continued in 2015, 2018, and 2020.
Youths called for an education system that prepares students to meet the demands of the job market. They also demanded reserved seats for the transgender community and persons with disabilities in the national parliament, while emphasizing enhanced security for minorities during elections. Another priority in the manifesto was to ensure that no one, including people from marginalized communities, is left behind. The manifesto included the demand for young people to have easier individual participation in politics, independent of political parties, along with a call for accessible loans that offer favorable conditions to support the growth of young entrepreneurs.
The Youth Manifesto was developed through a multi-step process, starting with a three-month Post-Hackathon Campaign on Youth Inclusion in Democracy that took place from October to December 2022. The issues were identified from the findings of the campaign that engages 300 young people from 7 districts through workshops and dialogues. A survey collected opinions from over 800 youths across 23 divisions, and an online FGD engaged 20 youths from 12 districts to gain contextual understanding. Finally, 20 youth leaders from 12 districts met in Dhaka to finalize and prioritize 10 demands for the Youth Manifesto in 2023.
Following the presentation, MPs and policymakers highly appreciated the youths for their call to action. Ahsan Adelur Rahman, an MP, stated, “We must respond to the youths’ demand for career-oriented education while maintaining global standards.” Another MP, Anwarul Abedin Khan, commended the inclusive approaches reflected in this Youth Manifesto, particularly in the demand for reserving seats for the transgender community.
The Youth plans a year-long pre-election campaign to raise awareness and promote the 10-point demands of the Youth Manifesto, with the objective of influencing political parties to include these in their election manifesto for the upcoming national election in 2024.