The United National Development Programme (UNDP) and PLAN International joined hands to create a safe and tolerant digital space for the youths of Rangpur, through UNDP's Partnerships for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB) project.
Under this partnership, UNDP and PLAN International organised a three-day long hackathon titled "Digital Khichuri Challenge for Pathway to Peaceful Societies: Catalyzing Youth as Responsible Citizens" from 7 to 9 November, reads a press release.
The Digital Khichuri Challenge, started in 2016, is a platform that enables young people to leverage digital means and tools to promote peace, tolerance, and diversity in Bangladesh as responsible citizens and further contributes to SDG targets 4.7 and 16.
The 8 finalists of the hackathon presented their ideas on 9 November to the jury. "Tonger Gaan" & "Jagen Bahe" were the winners among the eight teams who will receive a mentorship programme from UNDP.
The event was attended by Project Manager of UNDP Robert Stoelman, Dean Faculty of Arts at Begum Rokeya University Prof Tuhin Wadud, Director of Programme Development and learning at PLAN International Jolly Nur Haque, Head of Communication of UNDP Md Abdul Quayyum, Programme Officer and Youth Coordinator of UNDP Mahmudul Hasan, along with representatives from various national and international NGOs, faculties from renowned universities in Rangpur, and subject matter specialists.
Robert Stoelman said, "We are very enthusiastic to see the youths of Rangpur come up with so many different ideas and different ways to build their campaigns. This year we wanted to take the Digital Khichuri Challenges as close to the grassroots youth as possible and I believe we have succeeded."
"To collaborate with UNDP in a programme like this is a great experience for us. The youth participants look confident, and a very conducive environment has been created for them, which makes us very proud" said Jolly Nur Haque.
Professor Tuhin Wadud said, "From my point of view, this kind of great initiative is very much needed now. I congratulate all the participants and hope to see them leading a great world one day."
Mahmudul Hasan said, "The youths are the solution from my point of view, and I feel proud when I see them working to create a better world. I hope to see them achieve what we couldn't."
This year, we had five Digital Khichuri Challenges across the country where ICT Division, RedOrange Media and Communications, and BetterStories Limited are supporting as strategic partners and Barishal Youth Society (BYS), Chalkboard, and Peace Maker Studio as implementing partners.
Additionally, these five DKCs will be organised in partnership with different host organisations, for example, educational institutions, and national, and international organisations to expand the programme and engage more diverse youth in peacebuilding.