GYBN Bangladesh Chapter Launched: Here’s what you need to know!
After two months of organizing efforts, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network’s Bangladesh Chapter was launched on August 12, 2017, also the International Youth Day.
The idea that we can bring together young people on national platforms for mainstreaming of biodiversity was recently discussed at the GYBN Asia Regional Workshop in Singapore held during the last week of May 2017. Md Kutub Uddin (Mohammad Arju) took part in the workshop from Bangladesh.
Training of the Trainers
After returning to Bangladesh Mohammad Arju reached out to a number of people like me and the youth-led organizations about the plan of establishing GYBN’s national chapter to help implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). He briefed and trained us about CBD, the process related to National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), what are the roles youth can play in the overall process on the global and national level. Some of us already had this knowledge in some extents because of professional involvement.
After the Training of the Trainers was done we formed a ‘Convener Committee’ to convene ‘Preparatory Meetings’ throughout the country. We drafted a plan and kept it open for improving. A four-member committee was formed to organize the Campaign and Outreach activities. In June we started disseminating contents via social media.
We also trained young conservationists and designated them as Organizers.
Reach them! Campaign and Outreach Made Easy Besides a simple one-pager WordPress blog, we created a Facebook page for the chapter, and a Twitter handles also. The Word press blog only stated that why a participant to GYBN Asia Regional Workshop
(Mohammad Arju) is inviting people to discuss the preparations of a youth Biodiversity network. We got interested and then engaged as Conveners.
For it is more popular in the nation, we gave importance on the Facebook page for campaign and outreach. Also, we used Bangla language for the contents whenever used one language only. The contents were about CBD, NBSAP and GYBN, their importance and what we can do on the National level, and of course some very primary information how we will do it.
And guess what? We received a tremendous response from all over Bangladesh. We used a Google Form to collect contact information and short-bio from interested people.
Meet Them All! Let Them Lead!
However, it became a challenge for us to arrange a central meet-up for this huge number of young people. So we came up with a plan to arrange a series of meet-ups across the country. I with three other Cconveners Enamul Mazid Khan Siddique, Mahatub Khan Badhon, and Mohammad Arju coordinated the communications based on the information available on the ‘Expression Your Interest’ titled Google Form.
What we did, we selected Local Contact Persons from the people who wrote on the Google Form that they consider ‘organization’ as their best skill. Of course before finally selecting them as local contact person we met with them or talked to them over the phone for better understanding. In many cases, primary selected people did not make it.
Then the Conveners, the Organizers, and the Local Contact Persons jointly stepped in to organize the preparatory meetings. We named the meetings as ‘Biodiversity Meetup’, and invited the participants via email. The method was, there was an option on the Google Form to tell us where an interested person wants to join a meet-up. Based on that information we invited interested people when there was a meetup near them, in any city or campus.
The Preparatory Meetings
Our first two meetings were held in the capital city Dhaka, the very first one was held on June 7 at the Sher-E-Bangla Agricultural University. The next two were in two other largest cities, Sylhet and Chittagong.
Then there were other meetings in other cities and campuses. Each meeting was facilitated by at least one of the trainers that are conveners or organizers.
The meetings agendas were divided into two categories;
- A brief training session about CBD-NBSAP-GYBN
- Listening to the participants to let them elaborate on the short-bios they submitted via the Google Form.
The reason behind such a design is that we wanted to start the national chapter with genuinely interested and committed young people.
Two, One, Zero and Launch!
When the meetup series was halfway through, we decided to formally launch the chapter on the great occasion of International Youth Day on August 12. And to do that, we transformed the ‘Convener Committee’ as the National Coordinating Team.
For the formal inaugural, we organized two-week long activities such as Nature Walk, Bioblitz, Straw Smart Campaign, active sessions on youth participation on CBD-NBSAP process.
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It started from Mymensing Agricultural University in the presence of all four National Coordinators. The event was held on the bank of river Brahmaputra one of the main tributary of the riverine Bangladesh.
Our next challenge was to arrange a Bioblitz in Lauwachora National Park in Sylhet and Session on youth participation on CBD-NBSAP process in Chittagong district on Global Youth Day which was 12th of August.
Unfortunately, the weather was very stormy that day. Heavy rainfall flooded most of the roads and highways. But the youths are rather unstoppable. In Jhenidah district youths arranged a learning session on wildlife for the school children. They also placed a number of nesting pots on the trees for the native bird species. In the coastal district of Noakhali youths organized a workshop and tree plantation.
OUR IN SUCCESS NUMBERS
GYBN Bangladesh: 2 Months of Preparations, 4,635 young people reached out
784 Engaged, 344 Expressed Interest, 126 Participated in the preparatory meetings, 63 Secured Membership, 18 Events.
Membership Management: Things Got Serious
Now the fanfare of formal inaugural is over, the national coordinating team is working to manage the membership process. For now, we are only giving membership to people who, after expressing interest via Google Form, have participated at least in one of the preparatory or inaugural meetings or other activities.
By the end of September 2017, the first batch of all these members will have access to a comprehensive online membership profile, networking, and learning platform. Then, from October to December 2017 we will run an online training course for the members about how they can effectively contribute in the CBD-NBSAP- GYBN process, and also take up local projects for Biodiversity mainstreaming.
Then in early January of 2018, we will integrate the trained members in the national and local teams. The integration will be based on individual commitment and skills.
Also, we have the plan to come up with a permanent guideline to allow new members and membership management soon. As per the GYBN’s global principle for national chapters, any interested individual under 35 or any youth-led or youth-based organization engaged in Biodiversity will have access to the Network’s membership.
Finance and the Future
Lastly, what I can say, this new chapter actually is the outcome of hard work by many young volunteers.
In addition to their time and efforts, they had set their financial resources in action to make it happen. Not only have the national coordinators, organizers or local contact persons, every member doing their part.
It feels really good when I see so many nature-loving souls together. There are a large number of interested people who are yet to get a chance to attend a meetup because there was no meetup near them, we will gradually organize meetups for all areas. If we continue with this pace we shall be able to spread the spirit among the rest who are yet to reach out.
You can find us at www.fb.com/gybnbangladesh/
– by FahmidaKhaliqueNitu
Member of National Coordinating Team at GYBN Bangladesh. She teaches
Zoology at Beanibazar College, National University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org