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Call for Applications: Dhaka OIC Youth Capital 2020


Deadline: 12 april 2020


Bangladesh was announced as the “OIC Youth Capital 2020” marking a significant recognition for the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her spirited Government in the youth sector. The Istanbul based Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF), an entity affiliated to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), made this declaration on 25 December 2019. The selection of Dhaka as the “OIC Youth Capital 2020” will play a significant role to reflect a positive brand image of Bangladesh globally specially among the youth. The convergence of the yearlong events with the grand celebration of Bangabandhu Birth Centenary has amplified its significance to a great extent.

Ten elaborate mega-events, and several ancillary events, have been designed for celebrating “OIC Youth Capital 2020” which will be implemented through eight lead Ministries and Twenty co-lead Ministries round the year. As per the “Protocol of Commitment” between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and ICYF, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the key “Partner” in the process and is expected to organize the inaugural and closing ceremony along with some other programs in between.


Today, close to half of the global population is under 30 years old. With an increase in the frequency and severity of natural hazards, disease outbreaks and man-made crises, young people ought to be at the centre of how the humanitarian system responds to crises. But the impact of crises on young people, and young women in particular, is often overlooked, as is their power as capable agents of change during emergencies and protracted crises. Young people are not just passively affected by crisis and disaster. They have the agency and capacity to lead in the response as well as in the recovery that follows. While development and humanitarian approaches still too often ignore the power of young people as capable agents of change, young people’s role in leading and shaping humanitarian response and recovery is increasingly recognised as necessary, not optional – not least to strengthen the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.

Young people can be doubly disadvantaged in protracted crises and emergencies and their needs must be considered through an intersectional lens. Young people are impacted by crises and disasters in many different ways depending on their relationship with power and privilege, and intersecting identities including race, gender, sexual identity, class, religion, physical ability and refugee status. There are some factors unique to young people – at the stage when they transition from dependence to independence – that combine to exclude them from existing power structures and prevent them from accessing support. To strengthen the response, needs assessments should therefore be intersectional and engage young people.

Young women must be be at one of the epicentres of humanitarian action and be supported in their participation and leadership in responses. The humanitarian system is dominated by patriarchy and often fails to listen to, be accountable to, and be accessible to women of all ages, including young women. Strength-ening young women’s participation and leadership at all levels before, during and after emergencies, is crucial to advance localisation in an inclusive and effective manner. Maximising the role that young women play in response means not just supporting them to design action plans, but also to lead on their implementation. Doing so ensures continuity in response and challenges existing perceptions on who is best positioned to lead action in communities, reinforcing the potential of young women and men.

Missed education, poor mental health and sexual violence are urgent challenges facing young people and must be prioritised and mitigated. Particularly relevant in this regard is the plight of the displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar. Young people in crises experience suffering, trauma and negative coping mechanisms that can have severe repercussions for their immediate and long-term wellbeing. It is very important that a global campaign is launched to raise awareness about the issue – particularly targeting the youth. Also, these and a prevalence of early marriage have been found to be of particular concern, but often not considered priorities (or funded enough) on the humanitarian agenda. Young women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and negative coping mechanisms including early marriage. To mitigate this particular strand of crisis within the ambit of a more chaotic spectrum of disadvantages, young women’s rights and leadership, including women-led protection mechanisms, must have top priority.

Young people are first responders and must be included in decision-making and leadership positions at every stage of humanitarian action. Power dynamics too often exclude young people from decision-making spaces and reduce young people to being seen as mere labour or victims. It is essential to ensure youth representation on existing decision-making structures (for example community disaster preparedness committees), but also to support youth-led initiatives to be better recognised and integrated with existing decision making processes and protocols.

Young people are uniquely placed to play a valuable and necessary role in citizen-led accountability initiatives, and must be put in the driving seat for accountability. Due to young people’s higher levels of education than the previous generation, as well as their networks within the community, eagerness to question the status quo and innovative approaches e.g. using social media and technology to campaign and raise awareness, there are significant advantages to young people taking forward accountability work to ensure open, transparent and effective governance in emergency and crisis settings.

When young people live through emergencies and protracted crises, their lives will be forever changed as opportunities are lost and life projections diverted. The transformative nature of emergencies and protracted crises must be chan-nelled in ways that ensure this negative impact is limited as much as possible and allows young people to be involved in leading and driving initiatives that directly affect their lives.

Engaging young people in humanitarian action is however not a matter of if but how.


Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh is expected to grace the inaugural ceremony which may take place on 12 April or nearby date. Ministers and Senior officials from the OIC member states may be invited for the inaugural ceremony. Besides, nearly 150 youth leaders from OIC member states and other states with Muslim minority may be invited for participation in the inauguration ceremony.

Volunteer Camp at Cox’s Bazar ( Rohingya Camp) & Experience Sharing Session:

After the inaugural ceremony, arrangements will be made for the youth leaders for a two-day-long volunteering programme at the Rohingya Camps in Cox’s Bazaar. This initiative is likely to impact the young minds for extending their solidarity towards the persecuted Rohingya Community and build a consensus among them for expediting the repatriation process and ensure justice. The volunteer camp will start with a briefing on the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, the state of play followed by a daylong session. In addition, the youth leaders will be taken to the magnificent tourist spots of Cox’s Bazaar which will surely imprint the natural beauty of Bangladesh into their young minds.

The “Volunteer for Humanitarianism Session” at Rohingya camp will be followed by an “Experience Sharing Event” with Certificate of Participation award giving ceremony on 13 April 2020 in Dhaka. The voluntary activities at Rohingya camp and the experience sharing mechanism will surely add value to organize global awareness in the context of Rohingya crisis.

Participation in the Bangla New Year Celebration\ Pahela Baisakh:

Besides, our enriched culture and heritage will be exhibited and presented to them, specially through their participation in the “ Pahela Baisakh Celebration” on 14 April 2020. This will be a wonderful opportunity for the young minds from all races and colours of the mosaic of the Muslim Ummah to engage in the celebration of the ethnic and civilisational constructs which underwrite the fast and sustained spread of the synchretic Islamic civilisation.

Supporting Organizations:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs will organize the Cox’s Bazaar Rohingya Camp “Volunteer for Humanitarianism” session with support from Ministry of Youth & Sports, and with assistance from the office of the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Cox’s Bazaar. RRRC, UNHCR, IOM  and ISCG can play the role of partners for organizing the event.

Apply now