Under this project funded by the US State Department, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), will organize two rounds of security dialogues on Bangladesh-India Relations in 2017. The first dialogue will take place in New Delhi, India, and the second round will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The platforms of the dialogues will bring leaders of both countries from different sectors and stakeholders to discuss on developing a regional strategy for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Emphasis will be on developing specific initiatives for countering extremist propaganda online and on the role of women.
The project will build up on three most powerful social institutions, namely journalists/media personnel, teachers and youth. Several intervention strategies will be followed. First, it will involve identifying and engaging with the local journalists/media personnel through offering suitable orientation training programmes. They will act as change agents to influence and guide the targeted youth of colleges and madrassas of the project areas. Second level of engagement will occur with the teachers of the same college and madrassas. They could be integrated into same training sessions. Third, training will be provided to the youth of targeted colleges and madrassas, aged between 15 and 35, on family values, value of information in mobilizing society with particular reference to variety of media channels, such as radio, newspapers, schools magazines and participatory reflective research to generate insights on radicalization leading to violent extremism. Trained youths will form peer groups to conduct activities on citizens’ journalism at their college and madrassa campuses and in open media spaces to generate and share positive messages, which will eventually contribute to building a resilient environment in their respective educational institutions and locality. Whereas the journalists will train the youths on collecting, analysing information and developing small news stories on issues of interest and arrange to disseminate them, the teachers will guide them to form groups and monitor their activities. Fourth, project will create a structure for institutional sustainability through establishing “Youth Forum for Building Social Resilience.” They will be connected eventually into an internet based web page.
The proposed project will be undertaken over a span of 30 months in 15 Upazillas located in the northern part of Bangladesh (Rangpur and Rajshahi Division). The beneficiaries of the proposed project will be the targeted youth and teachers will act as change agents for the youth. The project will form thirty peer groups ‘Youth Forums for Promoting Social Harmony” They will undertake various community level initiatives using various platforms of community journalism in order to spread positive social views with an aim to countering the radical perspectives, opinions and ideologies. They will organize wall poster competition, debate festival, dialogues and discussions on relevant critical issues to form opinion against the appeal of radicalization and violent extremism. The trained students will try to promote the value of pluralism, diversity, tolerance, democracy, human rights and positive religious views as part of their promotion of alternative narratives to Islamist terrorist ideologies.
The role of women, particularly those of female teachers is often underestimated in efforts to counter violent extremism, despite the fact that women and girls can either fall victim of violent extremism and can play an important role in preventing radicalization leading to violent extremism. According to the World Bank estimate, 49.40% of total population of Bangladesh is women and the inclusion of women in the CVE framework could give it a new and effective edge, particularly in the context of Bangladesh. Given their unique position in the family and society, female teachers can exercise significant influence on the families and communities to pre position them to fight the tendencies of violent extremism. If the government, civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can seek support of female teachers, it could be possible to develop a new family eco system, possibly a new narrative, where empowered women can focus on the concerns of their children, families, students and neighbors, thereby building a resilient society, which can stand up against any threat either of radicalization or of extremism. The Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) intends to undertake a project to build capacity of the female teachers to counter the process of radicalization and violent extremism by providing structured knowledge, capacity, platforms and network.
Project Coordinator : Mr. Md. Humayun Kabir
Project Duration : 1 January, 2014-31 December, 2016
Development Partner : European Union
Status : Current
Support various stakeholders involved with youth and children to prevent conflicts and consolidate peace in Bangladesh, while enhancing capacity building, networking, advocacy and dialogue.
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