I have been tasked, in my exchange, to explore the models that engage youths in social movements with special reference to the youth engagement and support (YES), a model successfully operated by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
It is my pleasure to share my joy and experience with the FK world.
Youths are like wild stream if not appeased! They have been the driving force of the world throughout the history. Their potentials are misused at times in the past and present. Thus, around the world they are subject to be the victims of cultural, structural violence.
If streamed, their unique power will be a clear investment for the next generation. Therefore, it has been widely urged to encourage constructive youth participation across different segments of society and it has been placed as one of the top priorities in the agenda of development actors, including FK.
Achieving the seemingly impossible is their unique character.
The dignity and purity of Bangladesh are always triumphed by the vibrant youth force; martyrs of the language movement (1948-1952), of the education movement (1962) are the pillars of the glorious history of the country. They were fearlessly in the forefront of the 1969 mass upsurge which incessantly led them to liberate the country from the barbaric regime in 1971.
TIB, the social movement against corruption, perfectly stepped into mainstreaming the youth force in curbing corruption. It was deeply felt that the locals should be included into TIB works as to transform itself into a social movement. Subsequently, since 2001 TIB gradually started to incorporate volunteers into its activities, they were initially known as ‘volunteer groups' comprised of eminent citizens, theater activists and women of the respective localities; they, at first, functioned as volunteer group and theater group. Their activism resulted in anchoring them as two separate volunteer models in 2006 namely Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC) and Youth Engagement & Support (YES), the former is a platform for the eminent citizens, women, professionals and others while the later was entirely formed to create a space for youth activism, mainstream their potentials to the anti corruption movement.
Since its inception it has immensely contributed in the journey towards resisting corruption. As of now there are 45 YES groups throughout the country which are streamed by CCC apart from 16 YES groups based in Dhaka, the capital.
Each group is consisted with 51 members and in order to manage the increased demand, TIB introduced YES Friends in 2008 which is comprised by 15 members on average.
They are performers!
Have you ever witnessed the youths, who are graduate and undergraduate students, sacrificing their time and effort for a public welfare? If not, if you visit Bangladesh you can. The movement is highly enriched by the art and music which are intrinsic characteristics of Bangla culture.
You will amaze to see their performance!
They are change agents!
My conversations with academics, professionals and others revealed me that YES members are highly respected among the students for their conduct and responsiveness which automatically creates more demand for the movement.
It is very visible. Establishing a movement is simple but maintaining it as vibrant and creating demand is the success!
It is because they are bred as such in the camp; they have a code of conduct and they have taken oaths to abide.
The purity of the movement is still sustained as they do not tolerate any misconducts, such members are removed from the movement in some cases the entire group is dissolved!
It is necessary, for a movement stands against corruption which points out fingers to others and blows whistle to others, to be clean and they should practice what they are going to teach to others!
They are activists!
They actively involve in organizing mega events, gatherings and rallies putting their fullest efforts.
They are equipped!
TIB rewards them for their committed works with knowledge; their capacities are developed as per the demand. Now they are being trained on Right to Information, a weapon to make the government more accountable.
TIB also facilitates them to improve thier knowledge. They provide facilities to conduct study circles and other activities to improve them.
It is no doubt they will bring a remarkable change in resisting corruption in Bangladesh.
millions of thanks to FK for providing me such a rewarding opportunity through its exchange programme to work with the future leaders.