South Asian youth for inclusive development: Empowering individuals; strengthening communities
Throughout the developing world, young men and women are facing high unemployment and strong feelings of dissatisfaction with quality of life in contexts of weak governance and institutions, increased political instability, and growing state authoritarianism. These are factors that render societies vulnerable and play a role in radicalization. Current strategies to counter these phenomena remain state-centered, with limited participation of non-governmental or community organizations. Populations who suffer most from this violence, insecurity, and lack of civic engagement, such as young men and women, continue to be largely excluded from participating in policy and governance-related decisions. But youth are active in an array of movements associated with emerging social, economic, cultural and political issues.
This project will build capacity and empower youth from caste, religion, and sexual minorities in Bangladesh and India to help contribute to better development and security outcomes for their communities, while also reaching out to youth from majority backgrounds through forging a common cause for rights and dignity for all.
Law and Society Trust, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with a consortium of minority-focused groups in Bangladesh and India, will work with caste and religious minority youth in India and sexual minority youth, including transgender, in Bangladesh to uncover the specific links between discrimination and youth radicalization and the ways they can be broken by mobilizing youth agency and civic engagement. The project will build youth capacity to document and analyze discrimination and civil and political rights denial on the ground; mobilize local communities through awareness raising on rights and entitlements; and enhance platforms and networks and collective advocacy to try to improve development and security outcomes.