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 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.