Call to Youth, Bangladesh and the Future

Ayub BachchuBangladeshi rock singer and guitarist Ayub Bachchu, has called for young Bangladeshis living inside and outside of the country to join in a debate about the future of Bangladesh.

Speaking at the launch of Bangladesh: The Next Generation, a report commissioned by the British Council, Ayub Bachchu said “Young Bangladeshis have the power and the ability to build their nation’s future, but many feel disengaged from this process. [pullquote]We need to make sure that their voices and opinions are heard, otherwise we risk losing our most valuable asset; our youth.[/pullquote] – This is why I am calling on Bangladeshis from around the world to join the debate about the future direction of the country so we can learn from their thoughts and experiences.”

Bangladesh: The Next Generation reveals worries over the state of education, employment and corruption as the key concerns amongst young Bangladeshis aged 15 to 30 years old.

According to the research almost half (41%) of young people would like to live abroad because of a lack of employment opportunities in Bangladesh. Only 4% of young Bangladeshis have a degree or specialised training, and 28% of working 15-30 year olds have no formal education.

The report also reveals a generation of young Bangladeshis who are simultaneously disengaged from politics – only one-third feel they should be involved in politics – but who strongly believe that young people should be involved in social and development work. 79% of young Bangladeshis are interested in development issues and an overwhelming 98 percent want to take part in social work, yet in reality very few do.

Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, member of the report’s taskforce and Chairperson of the world’s largest NGO, BRAC said “[pullquote]This survey demonstrates that we are failing to mobilise one of our country’s greatest assets: the 55 million young people aged between 15 and 30.[/pullquote] Young Bangladeshis are committed to the country and they want to play a much bigger part in its future. Active citizenship is an asset to build our communities and improve the livelihoods of the poor. This will take Bangladesh forward.”

But British Council Bangladesh Director, Charles Nuttall says there are good grounds for optimism. Addressing the 1,000 young people at the launch in Dhaka, he said: Clearly, youth are the biggest asset that Bangladesh has, and leaders need to listen to the hopes, aspirations and voices of these younger generation, not just today, but tomorrow, and the next day.[pullquote]Each of these thirty million individuals is a potential asset for Bangladesh, but we need to harness the immense social and human capital that Bangladeshi youth have to offer.’[/pullquote]

The launch aims to open the debate amongst young Bangladeshis living in the country as well as the Bangladeshi community in the UK, and supports the call for a new Youth Charter.

In a direct appeal to those living outside of Bangladesh Ayub Bachchu said, “Bangladeshis living overseas are able to offer a new and fresh perspective on the findings of this report. I hope that they will engage with their counterparts in Bangladesh in calling for a common Youth Charter that will help the young people of Bangladesh to address their concerns and realise their dreams.”

For more information and to join the Bangladesh: Next Generation debate, please