Youth Engagement Designs That Work



“Sustainable development…”

These are the terms Sanjida and her friends could recall from the workshop they attended in Dhaka few days back.

They are very excited about all the new friends they made from all over the country at the end of the 2-day long event.


Evidences conclude that  “Youth” is the most untapped resource of the world. For those still in doubts, I strongly recommend this amazing infograph.

BRAC focuses on consistent practices while engaging with young participants and tries to spread the learning across different programmes throughout the organisation.

Organising pre-engagement events to understand what works for the target group:

Something arguably new in BRAC. While designing a workshop for adolescents, focusing on the age group is not enough. In order to understand the demand and capacity of the adolescent, BRAC DMCC did something smart in the ‘Kishori Kishore Convention’.

To test the water, they organised a ‘Prep Camp’ prior to the Main event, that served as a very important learning platform for the organisers.

At the end of each day participants provided their feedback regarding their activities and sessions reflecting on their liking and disliking.

They were even more excited when they found out that they have their own share of input in designing the main event. “I feel I am making an important contribution, everything I’m learning here has a greater purpose” was one response.

Another participant who was very excited expressed, “Although I was giving my feedback this seemed like a very interesting and enjoyable game to me.”            

Strive towards engaging on a personal level:

At BRAC we emphasise on engaging with the participants very closely, so that they find a comfort zone to talk about their issues.

The concept of role models is highly emphasised.

The resource persons focus on establishing a friendly relationship; with each attendee giving them a group of people they can look up to.

Addas or informal talks carried out after the workshops encouraged them to discuss freely about their insights. A few participants pointed out “My favourite part in this training was the informal discussions, especially the ones after the workshop ended.”

To ensure that the participants can contribute to community level impact, each discussion is directed to share their personal experience on the issue and how they can contribute in real life situations.

 Creative learning space to boost intake mechanism:

A unique offering that BRAC provides its participants is its own range of congenial-to-learning infrastructure; Learning Centers. The open space and close-to-nature ambience of the Learning Centers help to design activities in the most fun-filled way. Instead of enclosed, boring sessions groups are moved around to inspire creative thinking. Facilitators even get the chance to explore their creative boundaries and design their wildest imaginations.

A focus on skills to create value for learning:

The STAR project of the Skills Development Programme focuses its engagement patterns on taking the traditional apprenticeship model to a more effective level. To create a better pool of skilled resources in the informal market, each learner goes through extensive hands-on training under Master Crafts Person.

This not only reduces the cost of training centers but also allows participants to receive customised feedback through the process. The classroom-based soft-skills trainings on financial literacy, basic communicative English are an addition to make the learning process more suitable to market demand and efficient. The youngsters not only get to learn skills through the system but they are connected to the market where the y can avail job opportunities as per their proficiency.

BRAC believes in experimenting, failing and learning to build something better every time. This entire cycle can be slow and at times very very crazy.

But that’s how we like it.


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Riffat is a chocoholic and daydreamer who fancies herself as a philosopher, musician and painter. Her passion for social development has landed her in BRAC's Social Innovation Lab; where she is building herself as a development enthusiast. An ambivert by nature, an admirer of paradoxes and an optimistic over-thinker; she believes time travel is possible.

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