Unicef and the European Union launched a peacebuilding programme for 20,500 adolescents and youth from the Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities to strengthen social cohesion in Cox’s Bazar.
The first centres or “social hubs” for the peacebuilding programme were inaugurated in Jamtoli and Shamlapur this week, with three more opening soon.
Unicef Representative to Bangladesh Tomoo Hozumi said investing in adolescents and young people is one of the smartest things they can do.
“They’re the future leaders of their communities. This project helps to empower young people with knowledge and skills in innovative ways – through building skills for adaptability, peacebuilding skills, sports, recreation and adolescent focused programmes. Empowered young people support the development of an increasingly tolerant and inclusive society,” Hozumi said.
The social hubs are part of a €3.3 million EU-funded programme to engage the next generation of adolescents as agents of change in their communities.
The social hubs are spaces where young people can socialise, share skills and learn about peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
“We’re bridging gaps between communities and laying strong foundations for harmonious relations and social cohesion,” said EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink.
Over 12,000 parents, community and religious leaders from the Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities will be reached through dialogue and awareness raising activities to discuss social issues affecting their children and communities and find solutions.
Since the latest chapter in the Rohingya crisis unfolded in August 2017, the EU has provided over €25.6 million to Unicef to support Rohingya refugees and host communities.
“The European Union is a key partner for Unicef and we look forward to continuing this collaboration to support adolescents and young people from the Rohingya and host communities,” said Hozumi.