PRODIGY (Promoting Democratic Inclusion and Governance through Youth)
The British Council believes that active civil society participation in public policy processes leads to a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The British Council’s current youth programs in Bangladesh (Active Citizens and the Child Youth Parliament) offer development opportunities for young people, building skills and confidence, to become connected to issues at local and community level and to mobilize resources to create positive social change.
Building on experience and success in working with like-minded partners young people in Bangladesh, the British Council has developed the project PRODIGY with partners Uttaran, Shushilian, the Hunger Project, Democracywatch and WAVE Foundation. Youth development is a core priority of the work of all partners. Working in partnership with the British Council, the Friends of British Council proposes this unique project to continue the positive development of youth leadership in Bangladesh.
The aim of PRODIGY (Promoting Democratic Inclusion and Governance through Youth), is, over 21 months, to increase peaceful civic participation in local governance in Bangladesh by empowering youth. The main point of contact in the U.S. is Erin Sullivan, Executive Director of the Friends of British Council.
PRODIGY develops the knowledge and skills of 540 young people to engage the wider community through volunteer activities, including youth club activities, theater performances, internships with local government, community radio programs and public dialogues, creating platforms and channels to ensure that the wider community has access to government information. These 540 young people (aged 18 to 30, 50% will be female) will be given the skills to assess whether local government bodies are fulfilling their commitments and responding to citizens’ needs. Stressing the need for social inclusivity and equal participation, the focus will be on women, the poor and marginalised groups.
Through PRODIGY, therefore, empowered youth will not only demand transparency, accountability and inclusivity from local government authorities but also, through innovative and creative ways, ensure that marginalized communities receive the information and guidance they need to enable participation in, and contribution to, social change.
A nationwide project, the 540 young people of PRODIGY will promote civic participation and advocate the principles of integrity, accountability, transparency, inclusivity at the heart of good governance in its focus areas of 15 Union Parishads (rural) and wards (urban) across all 7 Divisions in Bangladesh.
The three strands of PRODIGY are:
- Knowledge Development in Accountability, Transparency and Inclusivity(months 1 -10).This includes the identification of 540 youths across 7 Divisions who will be trained and then act as agents for positive social change. Building on current learning and experience in this field, consortium partners will review and refine existing training modules. Master trainers will be selected and trained by consortium partners’ experts in youth development, local governance and rights issues. By month 10 all 540 young social activists will be trained.
- Community Engagement(months 11-21). Partners’expert staff will assist the 540 youth leadersto design and plan theircommunity projects, advising on outreach to local communities, and engagement of local government authorities. Continuous mentoring and monitoring and evaluation will be conducted during this period.
- Recognition and Demonstration of Positive Youth Engagement (months 18-20). National Youth Summit (in Dhaka) and International Youth Days will be held in all 15 areas of PRODIGY implementation. This will generate wide publicity and reach.
By the end of the project, PRODIGY will achievethe following specific impact:
- 40% more citizens in the targeted areas are motivated and actively participate in local governance, leading to increased civic participation
- 40% more citizens, particularly women, and those from poor and marginalized groupsin the targeted areas are aware of their rights and benefit from government facilities and government services
- An additional 1,000 young people and their networks are inspired to take up similar initiatives
By the end of the project, the following outcomes will be achieved:
- 80% of young peopletrained through the project have developed their knowledge and skills in transparency, accountability, inclusivity, basic citizens’ rights, leadership, grants management, project design and community needs assessment
- 80% of young people trained through the project continue to act as agents of social change within their communities
Led by the British Council and designed and implemented by a credible consortium of experienced and engaged partners, PRODIGY gains its innovation and core strength from the experience, extensive youth networks, deep sector expertise in youth development, and the commitment and motivation of the consortium staff who will act as Master Trainers, training module developers and also as field coordinators, and monitors of the 540 empowered youth.
The sustainability of PRODIGY will be ensured through the individual motivation of the 540 selected and empowered youth, and their collective identity as a nationwide, influential, well publicized group who succeed in achieving measurable social change through increased civic participation in local governance.