Brainstorming workshop on “Youth leadership and Volunteerism”

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Centre for Research and Information (CRI) has been intended to work in collaboration with the youth with the hopes to empower citizens and afford them a stake in their society. In order to bring the platform into the reality, It organized a Brainstorming workshop on “Youth leadership and volunteerism” on 20th October 2014 (Monday). About 30 students from various universities including Sylhet and Khulna has attended in this idea sharing session. Some of the expected participants were not able to attend this workshop due to the unforeseen reasons and tight schedule of classes and exams. The program is to interact with the volunteers who had enlisted with CRI over the months and expressed their interests to do community work for social development.

The session was executed Sadequa Hasan Sejuti from FSB. The introduction part was briefed by CRI team and discussed on how and why this workshop has been organized.

The first session was on “Expectation and Fear” that has been designed to express the participant’s expectation and fear in the regard of doing volunteer work.

• Volunteers need institutional and organizational training
• Proper guidelines for volunteerism
• Provide information to the people about e-governance and public scopes to get better services
• Promotion of science education
• Knowledge sharing between rural and urban youth

• Lack of platform for the youth to express and ask the need to the government and society. Besides that, whatever policies are taken by Government that will bring the good impact on the people for that opinion is not taken from the mass people.
• Volunteerism may hamper the career
• Lack of social acceptance
• Fear of getting out of comfort zone and try to do something innovative
• Non volunteer mentality
• Lack of continuation of current efforts
• Time constraints for the volunteers

The session was conducted using VIIP card where they wrote down their ideas and suggestions. The briefly discussed about the following plan:

Youth Information Club:
– It would be a platform for the rural people for access to information.
– Youth will help the villagers for providing the information on different issues on specific areas.
– Youth will also work with RTI law and will make the people consciousness
– Common people don’t know about the facilities and their rights. This club will make people aware and advertise available facilities in particular areas
– It can be through monthly workshop and bring out the information on which facilities are given by the government in that area. As a result the corruption will be less and good governance will be ensured
– The fear is lack of financial support and satisfactory support from government. Local political leaders and local administration may not support these activities

Later on, the presentation was provided by Sadequa Hassan Sejuti and it was an encouragement for the participants in order to doing volunteer work. She presented her journey in making the project “Amar Desh Amar Gram” and highlighted that the project has been possible because of great team work, inspiration, optimism, and hardwork. She mentioned that there is no short cut way of making this kind of work; it is needed of motivation and the sense of keep going. She added that the journey is easier when any significance platform is provided which is doing CRI for the volunteers.

The next was group work. There were 4 groups and topics were provided to them respectively. The group work has been validated through question and answers among the participants on the group presentation. After group discussion, they have presented their outcome as bellow:

1. Where and why youth should be engaged in volunteerism
– Create a combined platform for the youth in order to promote volunteerism
– Volunteerism is needed in blood donation,
– Volunteers can generate their ideas among them
– Through volunteerism youth from the rural level can be also get connected
– Youth volunteerism can contribute in online services
– Youth can voluntarily promote awareness program through theatre
– Volunteer mentality is a must for disaster management
– Work for the society should be self-responsibility for the volunteers
– Volunteers need self-development too
– Youths can contribute and play major role in nation building process though their volunteerism

2. Strategies to work voluntarily for social development
– Proper location and area should be selected on the basis of demand for social development
– It is not only important to start volunteer work with major issue, volunteer works can start from the minor task as well.
– It is not encouraged to do volunteer work by the family and society that’s why it is needed of recognition
– Skill sharing and development can promote volunteerism in sustainable way.
– Sense of community can help to contribute in voluntary work
– Retired people can do volunteer work as well
– Using facebook, sharing strategies and making a common platform for the volunteers

3. Challenges and limitations in voluntary work
– Lack of family support
– Financial support
– Time and schedule maintenance
– Lack of enthusiasm/ recognition
– Ideological difference
– Lack of proper instruction
– Problems with communication with other volunteers
– Impact on our social life
– Chain of command

4. Supports needed in volunteerism from:
• Government: Financial support is required from the government for training up the volunteers. Recognition and social security fund for the volunteers should provided by the government
• Community: There is a lack of cooperation from the society and own community to execute volunteer work. Therefore in doing volunteer work, cooperation is needed from the community where the activities will be undertaken
• Institution: Different development institutions can help the volunteers through coordination and guidance.
• Private sector: Private sector can help the volunteers though providing financial support and development support

In concluding the program, the participant has provided their suggestions and made the action plan for the next.
• Team formation: In order to run the volunteer team the attended participants will be added by Priyanka on Volunteering in CRI FB group. This group will be well connected by social media and share the information and ideas though the group.
• Next meeting: Since most of the volunteers are the students, the next meeting should arrange on weekend so that the meeting can have the good amount of participants.
• Mechanism to sustain the platform: it is recommended that the old volunteers should be continued instead of bringing new faces every time. It will help to coordinate and create collaboration among the volunteers

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