“This training has ignited our spark in bringing positive changes to our communities,” says Saraban Tahura Zaman.
Zaman is one of the twenty-eight young leaders who attended the third Faith in the Commonwealth Youth Training of Trainers workshop which took place in Dhaka. The training led participants through a practical programme on peace facilitation and project management, anchored on the values of global citizenship, mutual respect and youth empowerment.
The Government of Bangladesh is fully behind the project’s objectives. In May, its State Minister for Youth and Sports, Shri Biren Sikder, opened the training workshop in Dhaka and said, “As we live in an increasingly interconnected and complex world, it is more important than ever that young people learn the values, attitudes and communication skills that equip them to navigate their way in the world, and to work with others in ways that promote mutual respect and understanding.”
In her recent official visit to Bangladesh, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland praised the success of the ‘Faith in the Commonwealth’ project. She made the comments during her meeting the Prime Minister, Ministers and civil society campaigners.
“What this incredibly innovative training of trainers’ module did in Bangladesh,” she said, “was to take 26 young leaders from all backgrounds and galvanise them into a movement to encourage peace, development and deep understanding of different cultures. These were people from all faiths and those of none, all social strata and gender with a variety of skills. We had entrepreneurs, lawyers and community workers undertaking this course. Their connections are now life-long, and they have become true friends with a respect for diversity and the determination to increase social cohesion among our youth.
The project, a partnership with the Khalili Foundation, promotes global citizenship education and religious literacy among youth in the Commonwealth.
The Bangladesh Open University has offered its experience in online learning to help the Secretariat develop an e-learning version of the curriculum. The university has also agreed to deliver a global citizenship education toolkit by the end of this year and promote it to other universities across Bangladesh.
Faith in the Commonwealth is one of the Commonwealth’s projects to promote peace and development across its member states. Others include the Sport for Development and Peace programme which is helping Bangladesh revise its national sport policy and “Peace at the Crease” which uses the popularity of cricket to build consensus on development issues.