As part of the UNDG national consultations for the post-2015 development agenda in Bangladesh, the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s office and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme have jointly led the first phase of the My World survey in Bangladesh through offline and online promotion of the survey.
“As I joined the UNV Field Unit in Bangladesh, UNRCO and UNV were already thinking about ways to increase participation to the My World survey. I joined the discussion addressing many questions: Can we translate the survey into Bangla? How do we reach out to the rural and urban poor? And most importantly: whom do we want to target?” said Merel Fuchs, international UN Youth Volunteer. The United Nations System in Bangladesh decided to involve specifically young people due to the high demographic percentage represented by youth that constitute the Bangladesh population. The UNV FU in Bangladesh took up the challenge to coordinate the process and acted as a focal point for all participating organisations as well as volunteers. The translated Bangla version of the survey was distributed and collected by different UN entities and international and local NGOs. The numerous partners disseminated the survey through their networks. In total more than 9.000 surveys were distributed throughout the country.
Volunteers have contributed in many ways to the success of My World in Bangladesh. Volunteers on the field administered the survey and informed young people about the post-2015 process of consultations and the opportunity to participate in the debate and have their voices heard also via completing the My World survey.
Online volunteers also played an essential role in making the survey work in Bangladesh: online volunteers who had been working with UNV translated the survey into Bangla and over 40 online volunteers supported the UNV FU in entering the results. People from across the globe came together to support the My World process in Bangladesh: from all continents, online volunteers applied to enter data. “To me it is really inspiring to see volunteers from Colombia, the USA, DRC, Czech Republic, India, Australia and of course Bangladesh commit their time and energy to turn My World into a “youth success” in Bangladesh” says Merel “Last but not least, of course, is the active interest of UN agencies, NGOs and local volunteers in administering the surveys who are the driving force of My World in Bangladesh”.
Due to the time and energy of all people involved over 4200 people participated in the offline survey by the end of June 2013. Most of the participants were young people under 35 years old. Our partners enabled youth from across the Bangladesh to participate in the survey and thus reached out to all different kind of social, ethnical and religious groups.
It is clear how the priorities of young people in Bangladesh speak to their personal well-being and development, while the other priorities are socially inclined, underlining the importance of good governance and active participation in their futures. When looking at the results according to educational attainment, it is interesting that the prioritisation of ‘equality between men and women’ has a correlation with the education level of participants: those with below secondary education attainment listed gender equality as more important than those who attended beyond secondary school, who prioritised ‘an honest and responsive government’.
While the results are not representative for all youth in Bangladesh, the outcome does point to the importance of giving quality education and fair employment opportunities to young people – no matter their educational or socio-economic background.
The work is not over for the UNV FU in Bangladesh: their aim is to increase the overall number of participants and encourage people throughout the country to mark the difference. A similar exercise can only be the beginning of further engagement and participation of young people to the development of their country!
If you want to know more about the results, check out the UN Bangladesh website!