Youth for Policy’s Policy Camp Empowers Changemakers, Uniting Bangladesh’s Diverse Voices

Policy Champions from diverse backgrounds across Bangladesh converged at CCDB Hope Foundation in Savar for Youth for Policy’s (YfP) flagship program, Policy Camp, held from 21st to 26th July 2023. Over the course of six transformative days, 36 enthusiastic participants aged 18 to 30 engaged in an immersive learning experience focused on self-discovery, technical expertise, adaptive skills, and building connections that transcend societal barriers. 

The aim of Policy Camp is to provide a platform for young people from different walks of life to explore effective ways to engage in public policy advocacy. This year, Policy Champions, representing various educational, socio-economic, religious, and gender identities, were encouraged to delve deeper into their own selves, think critically, and establish connections that go beyond surface-level interactions.

On Day 1 of the Policy Camp, participants engaged in transformative activities that emphasized self-discovery and building interpersonal connections. The day began with exercises designed to push participants out of their comfort zones, drawing inspiration from Leo Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” These exercises encouraged critical thinking and highlighted the importance of contentment and balance. Interactive sessions played a pivotal role, focusing on active listening skills, fostering trust within teams, and creating a supportive community. Gender-based discussions prompted exploration of societal expectations and biases related to gender roles, deepening participants’ self-awareness. 

On Day 2 of the Policy Camp, the focus shifted towards specialized topics to equip participants with essential tools for effective public advocacy. The day’s sessions included an introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their global relevance, discussions on social accountability, the use of AI in public policy, and the complexities of leadership under tension, all aimed at preparing Policy Champions for their advocacy work. Notably, the session on “Polarity Management” addressed the theme of managing opposing forces and tensions in leadership, providing valuable insights into handling complex challenges while advocating for policy change.

Day 3 and 4 delved deeper into the technical aspects of policy advocacy, covering methods of evidence gathering, crafting impactful policy briefs, stages of the advocacy cycle and effective communication strategies for evidence-based policy advocacy, empowering participants with practical knowledge for meaningful engagement in public policy discourse.

As part of their learning journey, on Day 5 the Policy Champions engaged in intensive fieldwork, conducting a comprehensive survey at Kanchanpur village, Savar, focusing on citizens’ involvement in education financing, particularly parents of students attending government schools.

At the Hello MP event, they presented their innovative ideas to esteemed guests and received admiration and encouragement from honorable members of parliament.

The Policy Camp concluded with resolute young advocates, united in purpose and ready to become agents of change for a brighter future in Bangladesh. With newfound connections and dedication, these empowered changemakers are poised to leave a lasting impact on their nation and society.

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