Today’s Bangladesh is a country of youth due to the significant percentage of young people. Total youth of Bangladesh is 50.67 million, which is 30 percent out of the total population. Those are between the ages of 18 and 35 years old.
Bangladesh is now going through a phase of demographic benefits because of youth rise. 30 percent of the youth population is the main driving force of the economy today that contributing to build a prosperous Bangladesh.
Young people of Bangladesh have a rich historical root. Youth has played a significant role in the anti-British movement before 1947, language movement in 1952, education movement in 1962, mass uprising in 1969, great liberation war in 1971 and anti-autocratic movement in 1990.
The present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina referred to the youth as “the most valuable asset”. Many well-known poets recall the glorious history of youth of Bengal in the form of heroism.
In the same way, on 20th May, 1985, being inspired by sprit of International Youth Year 14 socially conscious youths of Sitakund Upazilla under Chittagong District of Bangladesh formed a youth organization named “Young Power” in the intention of anti-tobacco and anti-drug activities, tree plantation and cultural activities. Subsequently, in 1992, the “Young Power” youth organization turned into YPSA (Young Power in Social Action) and started its journey as a non-profit social development organization. For more than three decades, YPSA has been working for youth participation, youth partnership and youth leadership in the development programs.
YPSA believes this youth community is the main partner of economic development and the main source of workforce. A large part of the youth community working in the garments sectors and working abroad. On the other hand, those who are working as volunteers at different levels of society, their contributions are not less. In order to achieve active contribution from the youth to take forward the country, there is no alternative to emphasizing the formation of youth-friendly society.
It is seen that there are number of misguided youth besides devoted youth or creative youth in the society. There is really concern when youth is involved in violence, fundamentalism, militancy, drug abusing, rape, suicide and murder. This is fading the history of the heroism of youth and destroying the peace of society.
12th August is celebrated as International Youth Day each year to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. In the year 1999, the United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate the day as ‘International Youth Day’. Since then, it has started in different parts of the world. The theme of International Youth Day 2017 is Youth Building Peace. Just like every other time, YPSA decided to celebrate ‘International Youth Day-17’ through various events in its working area with the active participation of youth.
Peace, coexistence, social harmony, development and progress all depend most on youth community. YPSA feels that the immense potential of young people should be nurtured for their own sake, for the society and for the nation. The overall progress of the nation depends on the welfare of the youth, enthusiasm of action and proper leadership of the youth population. But for this, we must ensure a vigorous environment for the youth in the society. We must ensure their freedom of expression, healthy entertainment, sports environment and involvement of youth in decision making process. There is no alternative to the coordinated efforts from family, community and government for the development of the youth.
YPSA has been organizing development programs in various ways to promote youth development, leadership development, skill development, building environmentally-friendly mentality, non-communal spirit and volunteer service. For example, YPSA-CEVEC Consortium is implementing a youth based program titled “Community Engagement in Countering Violent Extremism”. Under this project, various activities are done in building peace and co-existence like leadership development programs, youth entrepreneur development and self-employment creation, skills development of youth, youth’s sexual and reproductive health care, Life Skill Education(LSE), etc.
The present government is working to build progressive and productive youth population. Moreover, the indirect and direct target of the fourth, eighth, twelfth, and sixth of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) has been the participation and leadership of the youth for youth development and building peace. YPSA feels necessary for the purpose of achieving the SDG target by 2030 to creation of a sustainable peaceful world.
In addition to general education, technology based education system should be developed to create precious employment opportunities. Co-education activities such as debates, career clubs, recitals, cultural programs, and sports opportunities should be ensured under educational institutions.
The family, community leaders, religious leaders and the state should be aware of the fact that no one is in danger in the name of religion. Youth should be more focused on skill development. Accessibility to information and communication technology should be ensured for the youth with disability.
All have to be emphasized to make Bangladesh a truly middle-income country by 2021. Besides, youth development strategies, plans and policies have to be implemented in a timely manner according to their needs. Good governance should be established at all levels. Participation of the youth, women, underprivileged and the deprived should be ensured in formulating and implementing the national budget and projects.
Let discuss the needs of youth on International Youth Day, give a lot of respect to youth, and create opportunities for practice. It is a matter of great urgency to make Bangladesh a prosperous and peaceful country as well as a peaceful world.