Updated: Oct 23
Young changemakers from Bangladesh are making a difference in their communities, one climate solution at a time
When climate change strikes, innovative solutions are often born from the heart of the affected communities.
Bangladesh, a land of rich cultural diversity, is home to over 54 Indigenous ethnic groups speaking at least 35 different languages. However, these communities are facing profound challenges. As noted by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), climate change has exacerbated issues such as food insecurity, water scarcity, and displacement, driving up poverty and vulnerability.
Indigenous communities are particularly vulnerable because Indigenous peoples rely heavily on natural resources and traditional livelihoods. Not to mention a stark absence of climate change education tailored to the cultural context of Indigenous communities, hindering their ability to advocate for their rights and needs.
Additionally, Indigenous youth often find themselves excluded from climate change decision-making processes and leadership opportunities, perpetuating inequalities. The socio-political and economic marginalization of tribal peoples, along with their geographical location, also adds to their vulnerability.
The Community-based Climate Change Mitigation Education Program for the Indigenous Youth, Students, and Community Members introduced during #Youth4Climate 2023 is a transformative initiative led by Probin Tripura – Project Coordinator and Indigenous YECAP Fellow from Tripura Indigenous Community – and his dedicated team: Rinku Mankhin, Sulogna Rema, and Rangsa Dhrubo at the Indigenous Youth Voice for Climate Action Organization in Bangladesh.
The programme seeks to strengthen climate knowledge and skills among Indigenous youth, students, and community members by training and raising awareness in the proposed areas of Bangladesh. Their strategy includes a range of activities such as advocacy-building programmes, networking with government and non-governmental representatives, and fostering dialogues with stakeholders. Trained youth will lead the charge, motivating local communities to engage in climate action, and addressing issues like climate change resilience, pollution, and environmental challenges.
Probin and his team aim to empower Indigenous youth and community members to understand the causes and effects of climate change and its implications by encouraging them to take concrete actions to mitigate climate change. Similar to the YECAP Indigenous Fellowship Programme, they are forming a cohort of 20-25 trained Indigenous young leaders in the project's first year, with the aim of expanding to 50 youth leaders by project completion. Furthermore, an ongoing forum will be established where young people and community members can openly express their concerns, share experiences, and explore opportunities for climate action.
By reducing climate-related health risks, the Community-based Climate Change Mitigation Education Program will enhance the health and well-being of Indigenous youth and community members. It supports the leadership and representation of Indigenous youth in climate change decision-making processes. As a result, Indigenous communities will become more proactive in addressing climate change impacts within their localities.
With the rise of global climate action, initiatives like the Community-based Climate Change Mitigation Education Program for the Indigenous Youth, Students, and Community Members are vital movements. It empowers Indigenous youth to take the lead in climate action, fortifying communities against climate-induced vulnerabilities. As we look ahead, this initiative is not only expected to foster resilience among Bangladeshi youth and communities but also to contribute positively to our environment.
The support and networks of the Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP) have helped Probin advance his personal growth and climate action journey. Activities like the YECAP Indigenous Fellowship have enabled him to seize opportunities, culminating in his leadership position and the formulation of this groundbreaking project. Probin's progress is a testament to the impact and potential of youth-led climate action initiatives, and his story is an inspiration to other young climate advocates and Indigenous peoples everywhere.
The remarkable project was shortlisted among 100 youth-led climate projects and presented at the Youth4Climate: Sparking Solutions Event in Rome, Italy from 17-19 October 2023. The YECAP Community is excited to see Probin on the global stage! Stay tuned for more inspiring stories of youth-led climate solutions.