Updated: Aug 1, 2021
On November 1st, Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) in Bangladesh joined forces with 63 partner Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and 63 Multi-Actor Partnership (MAP) groups across 21 districts to celebrate National Youth Day. Together, they hosted rallies, quizzes, and discussions to share information on social accountability tools and to demonstrate how important youth contribution is in helping communities gain access to public services and learn about their rights. The celebration especially focused on encouraging youth to help marginalised communities access justice and government services to foster inclusive participation at the local level. The festive day brought youth together to share stories of how their communities have already been impacted by social accountability tools and to teach others how to start using them to improve government accountability in their own communities.
The lack of access to government services stems partially from the lack of information and poor understanding of available public services. By educating the youth in their communities, we can empower them to take ownership of the changes they want to see. After a workshop on the Grievance Redress System (GRS), one youth stated, “I didn’t know about GRS. This is a totally new thing for me. Now, I know how to raise any grievances through the online system.” During the day’s celebrations, youth were also encouraged to use emergency numbers like Stop Child Marriage, Stop Domestic Violence, and the Anti-Corruption hotline to keep community members safe and prevent crime. They also learned how they could become more involved in community work with our local partner CSOs through community events and Social Action Projects (SAPs).
One girl expressed that the discussion forums helped inform her about how she could start her own business. “We heard about some essential policy tools like the Citizen’s Charter. I want to be an entrepreneur, so this information will help me in the future to easily get a trade license,” she stated in an interview. Another young woman spoke about the justice system saying, “I received some information about the village court system. This will help me personally and my community get proper access to justice within a short time frame and at a low cost.”
Altogether, over 7,200 youth participants joined events in 21 districts. The large turnout is a promising sign that the youth will not just be more aware of social accountability tools, but that they will be more proactive when participating in local government. Thanks to our 63 partners CSOs and MAP groups who organised the event, education on social accountability tools in reaching the youth in P4D’s project districts.