Youth is the future. It is imperative that young people participate in the decisions made today that will impact their future. The blended learning course ‘PolicyCampX’ is designed to educate and train youth from the grassroots, enabling them to actively participate in local and national decision making. The blend of online-offline allows participants to set their own pace of learning and for YfP to reach a wider group of young people.
‘PolicyCampX’ was held from 29th March 2022 to 3rd April 2022 in 10 districts of Bangladesh – Dhaka, Mymensingh, Bogra, Barisal, Bandarban, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Nilphamari, Faridpur, Gopalganj. The program introduces basic concepts of public policy advocacy and encourage young people to better advocate for themselves and be better advocates for others. A total of 177 youth volunteers graduated the program, among which 60% are men and 40% are women.
The program has two components- first the online course completion on the a2i platform Muktopaath and then a one-day physical event. The MOOC is named ‘Public Policy 101’ comprising 10 modules, with 13 video tutorials, reading materials, multiple at-home assignments, and 2 quizzes. The physical events were designed to put in practice what they learnt from the online course. The participants ranged from 16 to 35 years old, from various stages of education and early career.
The online course explains the concepts of public policy and advocacy policies through theories of government. The course talks about people’s diversity and intersectionality and ensuring equality must be ensured by acknowledging diversity and leveling the playing field for all and not just the select few. The need for public participation in the policy making process, as policies are for the people, and policies must be informed to the public for future evaluation, is emphasized. The physical event includes various games, presentations, demonstrations to imbibe in the participants further understanding of the concepts of intersectionality, diversity, importance of information and how to do identify issues and advocate for them.
The physical events, held in 10 districts, were executed by YfP’s 12 Policy Champions – participants of Policy Camp of previous years. The PC’s got the opportunity to implement their learnings from Policy Camp but customized the curriculum based on their particular participants, and resources available to them. Many of the PC’s managed to involve local community leaders in the events, either as participants or panelists. The events were a success because of the dedication and hard-work of all the Policy Champions.
The changing times requires that new ways of learning must be introduced to young people. All participants of PolicyCampX were enthusiastic individuals who are active in their communities. This blended program has been designed to give the participants the tools and techniques to make their advocacy journey more fruitful.