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Youth United for a Change

For the first time in the journey of Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD), the youth wing of JAAGO Foundation arranged “National Youth Assembly 2017” which was a 4 day long residential program held at Cox’s Bazaar, connecting 112 delegates from different parts of Bangladesh. This was a capacity building leadership programme aimed at creating a platform for the young leaders to build their leadership skills, networking strength, make them empowered and ensure sustainable development.

The first day of the assembly started with an inspiring opening speech by the founder and chairman of JAAGO Foundation, Korvi Rakshand who motivated the attendees to utilize the teachings from this assembly to accomplish milestones for their respective districts. Later he introduced the group leaders who were in charge of the participating delegates.

The second day of the assembly was mainly focused on very interactive session on “Leadership in a changing world” where the delegates got the opportunity to know about the passion, purpose, and the possibilities of leadership. This session was taken by expert speakers from Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) and Ejaj Ahmad, the founder and president of BYLC himself.

The third day of the program covered sessions on the role of youth in the media, youth and entrepreneurship,SDG and a special session on water – crisis in Bangladesh and also globally. Different established speakers from the respective fields were present to share their insights on how youth can tackle the challenges they usually face in their road of starting up their own business and being entrepreneurs and how they can utilize media for their own advancement.

Macro Economist, Founder and Chairperson at CPD, Convener Citizen’s Platform of SDGs in Bangladesh, Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya himself discussed about how youth can work together to achieve the global goals. He said, “Bangladesh has developed in many aspects but 40% of our youth are not into job or education. If in such condition our asset remains unused, it will be impossible for us to achieve the 2030 global goals.” After that another session was taken particularly on SDG goal number six “Water and sanitation” which is a very common and significant problem in our country right now.

The day ended with a beautiful dinner hosted by Microsoft Bangladesh. Sonia Bashir Kabir, Managing Director of Microsoft Bangladesh had announced 18 female volunteers from 18 different districts as Microsoft Brand Ambassadors for the JAAGO community. The dinner ended with some inspiring personnel sharing their life stories.

The fourth and the final day of the assembly started by the visit from Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, the American Ambassador in Bangladesh and U.S. Embassy to Bangladesh Representatives, who have been supporting JAAGO Foundation from the very beginning of its journey.

In a discussion Marcia Bernicat said, “JAAGO and Volunteer for Bangladesh are great examples of how small acts of kindness and an entrepreneurial spirit can help change a country.” Later on, she could not help dancing to the tune, along with the young volunteers, at the inauguration ceremony of the elected winners, while giving out certificates and tokens of appreciation to them! After the inauguration, there was a session on the role of youth in nation building through ICT.

In this session, honorable State Minister Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak said “I thank JAAGO Foundation and the organizers of National Youth Assembly 2017 for organizing such an important and much needed step for this time. From time to time it has been the youth who has given the lead in making a difference in the world. Right now by using the dedication, intelligence and efficiency of the youth we want to build the Digital Bangladesh.”

Over the four days, the volunteers went through rigorous training programmes and also were given the opportunities to ask questions and learn from prominent personalities and researcher directly. Individuals from all corners and walks of life came together under one umbrella and operated on one platform to make positive changes for the future happen.