15 youth participants from across Bangladesh competed in Policy Hackathon 2022, presenting their policy solutions for increasing youth inclusion in the democratic process. The teams brought forward young people’s right to be involved in decision-making, issues of barriers to entry, feelings of apathy, and limited representation of marginalized communities that make it difficult for youth to be more involved.
Over one-third of the population of Bangladesh is under the age of 35 years, however, the existing democratic process does not facilitate them, particularly members of marginalized communities, to engage and contribute meaningfully to the policy decisions that directly impact them. Lack of youth participation in political and decision-making processes is an impediment to building a sustainable and inclusive democracy. Inclusion of youth in the democratic process is necessary as they bear the consequences of the policies formulated today.
Thus, Policy Hackathon – a 3-day residential bootcamp – was organized by YfP and IID from 17th October 2022, where young leaders spent 48 hours at Global Platform Bangladesh and at the end teams presented their solutions to policy influencers at Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Dhaka on 19th October 2022. The Policy Hackathon aims at integrating Bangladeshi youth in the development of creative policy solutions for challenges of inclusive youth participation in the political decision-making process.
The jury panel included Mahjabeen Khaled, former Member of Parliament and Co-chair of Parliamentarian Caucus on Social Justice, Syeed Ahamed, CEO, IID, and Gopal Kumar Dey, Additional Director, IID. The event was also attended by the representatives from National Endowment for Democracy (NED and National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The first day included workshops on youth political participation, theory of change, political realities of Bangladesh followed by various group activities and teamwork. The second day included various panel sessions with guests namely Diana M. Suárez, Founder and CEO of GLOT, Colombia, Barrister Zonayed Saki, Chief Coordinator, Gono Songhoti Andolon, Badiul Alam Majumdar, Vice President and Country Director, the Hunger Project, and Honorable Member of Parliament Tanvir Shakil Joy, MP. The guests encouraged the youth to think about their role in the current context of Bangladesh and how their input is necessary.
All teams went through the intense process and presented their policy solutions and advocacy campaigns. After a tough deliberation the Champion, 1st and 2nd runners up were announced by our esteemed jury panel.