The 2022 ImaGen Ventures Youth Challenge on Climate Change in Bangladesh implemented boot camps in six divisions, namely Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal, Rajshahi, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions. The Youth Challenge was organised by Generation Unlimited (GenU) with support from UNICEF Bangladesh, JAAGO Foundation Trust, Bangladesh Brand Forum, SIYB Bangladesh, International Labour Organization (ILO) & Technovation Girls Bangladesh. The ImaGen Ventures Youth Challenge is a global GenU Flagship Initiative, and this year implemented in more than forty countries around the world.
In Bangladesh, the call for application campaign to participate in the Youth Challenge reached some eight million youth. Following an assessment of the received applications, 350 participants aged 15 – 24 in 62 teams were shortlisted to participate in three days of divisional boot camps to develop their climate concerns into solutions. One of the boot camp participants said, “The climate change boot camp was an eye-opening experience that showed me the power of youth to make a difference in the world. I learned so much about the impacts of climate change and am developing a project that could make a real impact in my community.”
The ImaGen Ventures Youth Challenge provided a platform for young women and men, to collaborate and design climate-conscious enterprise solutions with potential to address the most pressing environmental challenges Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh, visited the bootcamp in Dhaka and shared his impression: “It was inspiring to meet the young people who have designed solutions for waste management, urban pollution, lack of clean drinking water and the severe impacts of flooding and drought in Bangladesh. Their hard work, team spirit and innovative approaches to addressing climate and environmental challenges highlight the need for giving young people more such opportunities to express their creativity.”
Following the three-day boot camps in each of the six divisions, twenty prototype solutions were shortlisted for incubation with seed funds and mentorship support. The twenty teams currently incubating will showcase their final prototype solutions at the GenU Bangladesh high-level Steering Committee meeting in February 2023.
As agreed at the GenU Steering Committee meeting in March 2022, GenU Foundation Partner JAAGO Foundation Trust established, with support from UNICEF, a GenU Bangladesh Youth Action Team (BYAT), to ensure direct and meaningful youth partnership and leadership with and for GenU’s agenda in Bangladesh. The BYAT accomplishes GenU Bangladesh as a Public Private and Youth Partnership and will now work closely with the Steering Committee and partners to address, innovate for and implement GenU’s agenda on connecting young people to opportunities for skilling, working and social impact at divisional and national levels. The eighty BYAT members met in Dhaka as a team for the first time in November 2022 at orientation workshops. GenU’s Bangladesh President and Chair of its Steering Committee, Md. Abul Kalam Azad met and spoke with the eighty BYAT members: “Meeting the GenU BYAT members from eight divisions in Bangladesh revived hope and confidence in me that we, public and private partners, can address any development challenge, when we partner directly with young people. I am looking forward to engaging with these promising GenU youth leaders, so that we together
can ensure positive change on development issues that matter most for young people in Bangladesh and having a developed and smart Bangladesh by 2041”.
Korvi Rakshand, Founder and Chairman of JAAGO Foundation, said, “The youth of today are the most potent agents for tackling climate change. There are still so many of us who need to acknowledge this problem. The ImaGen Ventures Youth Challenge Boot Camp provided a fantastic opportunity for these youths to take matters into their own hands. Furthermore, I believe the Bangladesh Youth Action Team (BYAT) members are the future changemakers, and they’ll create a path that will be a milestone for thousands to follow.”