In this post, Masuma Moriom (GRRIPP South Asia Communications Officer and Founder & President of Shwapno Youth Development Organisation) and Md. Shaiful Hossain Maruf (graduate student and deputy coordinator of Disaster Management Studio, University of Dhaka) look back over key themes that emerged from the 'Intergenerational Solidarity' webinar hosted in August by GRRIPP South Asia, to mark International Youth Day.
International Youth Day (IYD), commemorated on 12th August every year, brings ‘youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrat[es] the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society’. This year's IYD theme was Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages. The aim was to highlight that action and solidarity are needed across all generations if the world is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
On International Youth Day 2022, the Gender and Disaster Network (GDN) and GRRIPP South Asia – in Collaboration with Shwapno Youth Development Organization – organised a webinar: Intergenerational Solidarity to Create a Resilient World. The online webinar hosted expert and specialist opinions, viewpoints, and knowledge regarding youth and solidarity in action. The aim was to help youths of South Asia to scale up action plans from the individual level as well as to encourage intergenerational solidarity and intersectionality approaches at policy levels.
In that webinar, the concept of the day was presented by Raisa Imran Chowdhury, Monitoring and Evaluation coordinator of GRRIPP South Asia. Discussants for the ‘Intergenerational Solidarity to Create a Resilient World’ session included: Paromita Sen from India (Research Manager at SEWA Bharat); Jannat Ul Ferdous from Bangladesh (Former GBV Counsellor, Gender Based Violence Department, UN Migration); and Nayeen Molla from Bangladesh (Former General Secretary, Physically Challenged Development Foundation).
For the session ‘Contribution of Youth in DRR through an Intersectional Lens’, discussants were: Zuhair Ahmed Kowshik from Bangladesh (Manager, Earth Day Network and Asia Pacific Regional Facilitator, Children & Youth Major Group of UNEP) and Shah Rahnuma Binte Jalal Sarna (Technical Officer, CEO-DCB Project Assistant Coordinator, Centre for Disability in Development), also from Bangladesh.
The webinar was chaired by Professor Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, Regional Lead of GRRIPP South Asia and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Bangladesh Open University. Masuma Moriom, Communication Officer of GRRIPP South Asia and Founder and President of Shwapno Youth Development Organization moderated the session.
Here were some of the key points of the discussions:
Paromita Sen began by highlighting that employment is the most concerning issue in every nation. She also explained how youths are participating in disaster-response exercises and that young people can contribute significantly to catastrophe recovery and preparedness. Participating in disaster planning and recovery planning can help youths to become more aware of hazardous circumstances that might arise in their community, and it can educate them about how to handle different kinds of emergencies. Youth who take part in various risk management and risk reduction initiatives have shown improved knowledge and comprehension of security concerns and procedures. Additionally, Paromita explained, youths have actively pushed for increased readiness in their neighborhoods, communities, and living spaces. She added that young people typically have the most creative ideas that can advance our sustainable development.
'Young people typically have the most creative ideas that can advance our sustainable development' ~Paromita Sen
In order to achieve inclusive and sustainable development as well as to build a world where people of all ages may succeed, Nayem Molla stressed that intergenerational solidarity entails elevating the voices of both young and old people. People of all ages should be connected if a sustainable planet is to be created. Everyone should be provided equal rights so that no one is left behind in order to achieve sustainable goals. Nayem added that people with disabilities, and their needs, are frequently ignored or overlooked by society, which may make them more vulnerable. To create a beautiful world with equal rights, he stated, people with disabilities require equitable access to resources and opportunities. He mentioned in his speech: "No one shall be left behind."
Zuhair Ahmed Kowshik emphasised the vital role that youth can play in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Youths are still not involved enough in decision-making processes, which may deter them from participating in the DRR activities. Youths are so active in fighting climate change, they require the ability to influence legislation, access to resources, funding for action, and education. Zuhair pointed about that youths have gotten louder about acting against climate change.
Shah Rima Binte Jalal Sarma stated that youths are expected to advance and develop the country's current technology, education, politics, and peace. Youths also have responsibilities to preserve our culture, societal values, and development programs, among other things. To ensure inclusivity, Shah explained, government and private agencies must focus on youths with disabilities because they can encounter many social obstacles. Inclusion of persons with disabilities in decision-making process is necessary to reduce disaster vulnerability.
The webinar chair, Professor Dr. Mahbuba Nasreen, delivered her final speech. She then went on to creatively summarise each of the speakers' points and expressed her thoughts on mainstreaming intergenerational solidarity. She referred to the Dhaka Declaration 2015+ on Disaster Risk Management for People with Disabilities. Prof. Nasreen also mentioned that government and other agencies, along with NGOs and INGOs, need to provide young people with more financial, educational, and technological aid. The proclamation calls for the meaningful involvement, inclusion, and leadership of women, men, girls, and persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction at local, national, regional, and international levels. It was with that final thought that the webinar concluded.
Masuma Moriom is the Communication Officer of GRRIPP South Asia. She is also the Founder and President of Shwapno Youth Development Organization. She has over seven years experiences and expertise in volunteering, social work and development sector. For her contributions, she has been awarded Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh Award 2022, Kalam Youth Leadership Award 2021, Inspiring Women Volunteer Award 2021, Outstanding Leadership Award as a Frontline Fighter during Covid-19, Global Change Makers Award 2020, National Youth Icon Award 2019 and many more.
Md. Shaiful Hossain Maruf is a graduate student at the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies, University of Dhaka. He volunteered for the GRRIPP South Asia’s Final Dissemination Event 2022. Currently, he is the deputy coordinator of Disaster Management Studio, IDMVS, University of Dhaka.