Green Mile Climate Awareness Program, initiated by Project WE and supported by the Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP) hosted an event called the National Youth Dialogue 2023 on March 11, 2023. The event involved the participation of organizers, volunteers, climate experts, educators, activists, and other stakeholders who have been directly involved with the Green Mile project. The event featured panel discussions on climate change and its impacts, sustainable development goals, and youth engagement in environmental activism. There were interactive sessions on eco-friendly practices, green entrepreneurship, and leadership development for the youth participants. The event showcased the impacts of the entire six-month-long project and the enormous reach of multifaceted activities.
The event took place at the Center for Advanced Research in Arts & Social Sciences (CARASS) of the University of Dhaka. The opening keynote was given by Zawad Alam, the founder of Project WE who talked about the Green Mile Youth Dialogue and its six-month long activities, while Hasibul Islam Rafi gave a brief introduction of YECAP. The event also featured a panel discussion on climate-resilience and adaptation, and keynote sessions on climate literacy and green curriculum, and green entrepreneurship and innovation. Tahmina Hoq, Assistant Professor of the University of Dhaka and Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed, Associate Professor of the University of Dhaka were the speakers for these sessions, respectively. “We should give our hearts to raise awareness. Climate literacy for me is, “what is in my hand and how can I make best use of it”, Tahmina Hoq noted in her keynote speech on Green Curriculum while Rafiuddin Ahmed brought light onto the green and sustainable models of businesses.
At the beginning of the event, participants signed a pledge and started the program with the national anthem. Savinda Ranathunga, the Regional Youth Project Manager of UNDP, and Dinh-Long PHAM, the Youth Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Coordinator of the Governance and Peacebuilding Team at UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub gave the opening remarks. The panelists for the discussion were Shomy Hasan Chowdhury, the Co-Founder of Awareness 360, Ahmed Shihab Zaman, the National Platform Consultant of Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Platform, and Aung Sing Marma, the Scientific Officer at the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture and a YECAP Fellow. Answering to a question regarding the ways of popularizing the concepts of climate movements in Bangladesh, 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗺𝘆 𝗛𝗮𝘀𝗮𝗻 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗱𝗵𝘂𝗿𝘆 mentioned that “Big corporations and big countries are much more responsible because of carbon emissions. We should call out to them. And it is really important that we speak out in the programs. It’s important to take more initiatives like the Green Mile.”
“Pricing is one of the biggest issues why we are not using the environmentally friendlier options. We need a collective approach in order to make a change. As I believe that youth should be more involved in the climate movements, I highly appreciate Project WE’s activities from the beginning”, Siddhartho Goshwami, Head of Operations, iDEA Project under the ICT division mentioned in his closing remarks. Lameya Alam, Youth and Climate Action Fellowship Coordinator of United Nations Development Programme, Malaysia also praised the initiatives of Green Mile Youth Dialogue.
Along with the efficaciously insightful speech and discussions throughout the whole 4-hour long event, Project WE honored all its 17 partners for their valuable contributions with souvenirs. Also, winners of several segments of competitions during the campaigns were awarded. Talking about the overall journey, Zawad Alam, Founder of Project WE, YECAP fellow, Movers Envoy said, “Project WE started its journey in a vow to work in combination with SDG 4, 5 & 13. Our initial journey was not easy, but we did not stop in front of any barrier. Day by day people started to join and now we are a family of 300 youth wholeheartedly working for a better Bangladesh.”
Project WE and its members aspired to keep on spreading this flow of awareness among the youth so that the future of Bangladesh remains safe from the harsh impacts of climate change.