Youth Global Citizens Lead Policy Solutions for Sustainable Practices

Young global citizens are vital for achieving sustainability by creating innovative solutions and promoting sustainable practices. At Policy Hackathon 2024, youths from six districts showed how they can solve local challenges with climate knowledge and practical actions. Their efforts prove that empowering young people with the right skills and knowledge can lead to a more sustainable future. 

Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change, ranking 7th globally, according to UNICEF. Major threats include floods, cyclones, and rising temperatures. Bangladesh aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal 13. The High-Level Political Forum 2024 focuses on building climate-resilient communities. However, youth unemployment remains high due to a mismatch between education and industry needs, especially with the rise of AI automation. 

This policy hackathon aimed to address these issues by integrating lifelong learning and sustainable practices into education, equipping future generations with the skills to tackle climate challenges and adapt to evolving job markets. 

The four-day Policy Hackathon included capacity-building initiatives, training youths on problem inquiry, stakeholder engagement, and bridging connectivity for policy implementation. After training, youths, with mentorship, engaged in a policy ideas competition to address major challenges in their local contexts, aiming to implement solutions within three months. 

Team “Coastal Crew” from Khulna won the champion prize by addressing agricultural damage due to frequent seasonal floods. They proposed floating farming, initially developing youth capacity in the area and then implementing floating farms for hands-on experience. Team “Nirvana” from Rajshahi was the first runner-up, aiming to improve digital literacy among students to meet job market requirements. Team “Green Venture” from Dinajpur became the second runner-up with their project to combat air pollution from auto rice mills through health guidelines and tree plantation. 

Other notable teams included “Inclusivity” from Dhaka, focusing on developing employable skills among transgender and disabled youths through workshops and motivational sessions. Team “Believer” from Chittagong aimed to raise climate change awareness among school children through gaming and joyful activities. Team “Agamir Ami” from Barisal focused on rehabilitation through training, counseling, and connecting local administration with the community in the KDC colony. 

During the session, Mahjabeen Khaled, General Secretary of the Parliamentary Caucus on Equality and former MP, joined the third day of the hackathon. She stated, “Youths will be at the forefront of SMART Bangladesh; policymakers must listen to them to make it more demand-driven.” She also listened to the teams’ ideas and provided detailed feedback. 

Dipto Ghosal, CEO of Loginex Limited, stated, “Education is the perfection of manifestation among human beings,” emphasizing the need to nurture and provide access for youth to lead this manifestation towards a sustainable future. Tony Michael Gomes, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy at CARE Bangladesh, highlighted the importance of communication in turning voices into action, as youth participants learned to engage stakeholders and refine their advocacy skills effectively. 

During the final day of the competition, youths presented their ideas to a jury panel including Mahrukh Mohiuddin, Managing Director of University Press Limited and IID Governing Body Member, Dipto Ghosal, CEO of Loginex Limited, and Sunjida Rahman, Head of IID’s Inclusion Center and Joint Director, IID. As the chief guest, Tanvir Shakil Joy MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Caucus on Equality, stated, “Youths’ dedication and innovative ideas will pave the way for a brighter, sustainable future.” 

With thrilling moments and promises of collaborative stakeholder engagement, Policy Hackathon 2024 concluded with hope for a sustainable future.  

Policy Hackathon 2024

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