Inspiring Youth to Protect the Rivers

  • Author(s): Khalid Bahauddin

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With all of the recent talk about protecting the rivers of Bangladesh, there is increasingly more and more momentum to learn what we can do to help from our river communities. People are rallying together to end practices that are devastating to the rivers; despite all of the conservation laws  that are on the books, there are still practices that are used which damage the rivers and destroy its communities.

Taking into account of this situation, the Institute of Sustainable Innovation for Communities – ISIC is research, advocacy and learning institute based in Dhaka, Bangladesh has initiated a project called ‘River Champions’ supported by EWC Innovation Fellows (#EWCinnovationfellows) of East-West Center, a US based organization.

The River Champions is a youth-led campaign for river conservancy that relies on youth to promote actions and the protection of the major rivers of the Dhaka city. In order to sensitize and make an effective engagement of youth in conserving the rivers, an interactive session on Youth Involvement in River Management: Building Resilience in Local Communities was organized by the ISIC on 14th August, 2021. Mr. Mohammad Mahmodul Hasan, Coordinator of Climate Change Program at Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) conducted this interactive session for young participants which moderated by Mr. Khalid Bahauddin and Nourin Iftakhar working at the ISIC.

Around 30 youngsters participated in a lively discussion with Mr. Hasan explored their plans and roles for advocating the conservation of the rivers. In the session, Mr. Hasan shared with participants what knowledge, skills and resources necessary for the youth to plan and successfully implement river conservation activities in the local communities. He said that we can all make a difference and every little bit does count even if it not evident at times. Do not forget that this planet is our home and it will only remain a healthy and beautiful place if we all take steps to conserve and foster conservation and environmental concern in those around us. Take the time to make a difference and be conscious of the choices you make today knowing they do have an impact on all of us.

All the participants of this event expressed that as youth living on a planet of which almost 70% is covered in water, they must come together to  appeal to all stakeholders involved to protect the rivers – to protect the use  of the life and resources it gives, to recognize its importance, and to enforce the decisions taken;  decisions  that  will  not  only  affect  us,  but  that  will  have  a  long  term  effect  on  the  future   generations.

At the end of the event, Mr. Hasan and Mr. Bahauddin gave a vote of thanks by offering gratitude to the East-West Center for supporting this kind of project which  stimulating the science-policy-practice interface towards healthy ecosystem of rivers.

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