Young Bangla, the youth platform created by Centre for Research and Information (CRI), is scheduled to hold the Joy Bangla Youth Award for the second time on October 20-21 at Sheikh Hasina National Youth Complex in Savar, where the Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will hand over the awards to 30 winners. In its 2017 iteration, 50 youth-led organisations have been short listed for the award.
We caught up with the convener of the Young Bangla Platform Nahim Razzaq at his CRI office in Dhanmondi 32. An MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Youth and Sports, Nahim Razzaq sat down with Dhaka Tribune to talk about the award, Young Bangla and CRI.
A new dimension of possibilities this year
“The organisations and individuals that got the award in 2015 immensely appreciated the recognition it brought them,” said Nahim Razzaq. “If you talk to them, they will tell you that the award caused them to get respect from their societies, their neighbours, elders, and other people,” Razzaq added.
Starting in 2015, in the first run of the award, CRI, the secretariat of Young Bangla, primarily selected 200 applicants, from which 30 individuals and organizations won the award for their outstanding work at the community level. The areas of work included promoting youth employability, ending violence against women, child and adult education, cultural activities, and other similar categories.
This time around, the CRI announced the names of 50 organisations, short-listed from 1,300 applicants. The judging body has considered sports organisations for this year's awards.
“We have been able to involve a tech giant like Microsoft. Microsoft made 10 women social entrepreneurs from our winners their ambassadors. This new dimension of possibilities has helped the participants to go somewhere they probably didn't imagine they would go. Similarly, through them we hope to open new doors for Bangladesh,” said Razzaq.
Winners of the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2015 were given the opportunity to get internships at different government ministries including Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Foreign Affairs, the ICT Division, and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Private companies included Microsoft Corporation, Aamra Companies and TK Group, where the winners were offered brand ambassadorships, internships, and other opportunities.”
Award meant for organisations from remote areas
For this year's awards, only organisations will be eligible, and individuals will not be considered. Even though a sizable number of these organisations are from outside of the capital, a significant number of Dhaka based applications have been received by CRI.
“We were happy to see many Dhaka based organisations have applied, many of which have international activities and are well known,” Razzaq said. But ultimately, the award is meant more for organisations from remote and obscure areas, he added.
“Currently the Young Bangla family comprises of over 150,000 volunteers. This is just within a very short period of time. But I have to say that it is a prevailing misconception that the government will hold your hand and help you out all the time. That's just not practical. Local connectivity and networking, helping each other out is the way to prosperity. And that is what we want to facilitate,” said the Young Bangla convener.
“Prime Minister's ICT adviser Sajeeb Wazed, who is a young person himself and a role model, is guiding us. He wants this to become a nonpolitical and youth centred platform. That has been our vision for the last three and a half years,” Razzaq said.
On October 20, all youth organisations, comprising of 500 youth organisers, will attend the sessions. On the next day, high government officials, including ministers and renowned personalities from all sectors, will be present during the prize giving.
“During these two days, we are going to engage more than 1000 people who really are trendsetters and social drivers,” Razzaq said. Above all, however, Razzaq says, everything done, every project undertaken and every initiative taken at CRI and Young Bangla is for the progress of Bangladesh.