The Financial Express

Youths brainstorm on development interventions

Faria Ahmed | Published: February 20, 2020 01:06:22 | Updated: February 24, 2020 11:48:27

The development case competition winners of Devthon 1.0 pose for a photo with guests and organisers at the event The development case competition winners of Devthon 1.0 pose for a photo with guests and organisers at the event

With a view to addressing various problems of the development sector of the country, Devthon 1.0 commenced. It was a case-solving and essay writing competition organised by the Development Leaders' Club, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP DLC). It intended to bring out the development interventions by young enthusiasts, for the very first time in BUP campus.

The on-campus event took place on February 11 and 12, 2020 involving young and aspiring thinkers to come up with innovative ideas that need greater attention.

Devthon 1.0 was powered in association with Premier Bank Limited that steered the competition to launch on a national scale, with a total of 123 teams from all over Bangladesh. The teams were provided with a case which they had to solve and find a concise solution for. Out of the 123, only 18 successful teams made it through the online screening round which was based on the "Urban poverty" and "Youth unemployment".

The other segment was essay competition for college-going students on "How to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) in Bangladesh by 2030". The screening round was followed by the second round where the 18 teams prepared a project proposal on "Char island livelihood reconstruction", closely trailed by the presentation of their project proposals on February 08.

Presentation of ideas of 10 shortlisted essays by college-going students took place on February 11. Furthermore, there was also a heated session of panel discussion called "DevTalk 1.0". It was held under two segments -- the first one was on "What does it take to make it to the development sector". It was conducted on February 11 by young development practitioners.

The second segment of panel discussion was held on the day of the grand finale, February 12  on "Bangabandhu's vision for development" with keynote speaker Dr Syed Anwar Husain, Bangabandhu Chair, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) and Dr Atiur Rahman, Bangabandhu Chair, University of Dhaka. The grand finale was held at Bijoy Auditorium in Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) in the presence of chief guest, Vice-chancellor of BUP Major General Emdad-Ul-Bari and special guest Pro Vice-chancellor of BUP Dr M Abul Kashem Mozumder. The event starred presentations from the six finalist teams and was followed by the prize-giving ceremony and a grand banquet.

Experienced and renowned names from the development sector were assigned to make the final judgment. The panel included award winning journalists and graduates of Yale University, Sohara Mehroze Shachi, who is currently the team lead of the Research Facility at UNDP. Others included Anirban Bhowmik, country director, Swisscontact Bangladesh; Dr Kazi Maruful Islam, professor of Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka and also the team leader of 'Climate change, food security and governance unit' of Eminence, Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, Asia Foundation's country representative in Bangladesh.

The final round of the Development Case Competition was held on February 12. Team Capitalist from BUET and DU, combined, became the champion while 'Team Navigators' from BUP became the first runner-up. The second runner-up was 'Team Garrison' from IBA, Dhaka University. The winning teams walked home with prize money of Tk 70,000, Tk 50,000 and Tk 30,000 respectively.

The champion of the essay competition was Muaz Fahim Faruki from Sylhet Cadet College. The first runner-up was Ahnaf Tahmid from Jhenaidah Cadet College and second runner-up was Taposhi Rabeya from Mymensingh Girls' Cadet College. The winning writers rejoiced with pride and prize money worth of taka ten thousand, five thousand and three thousand respectively.

Another segment, "Devtalk- What does it take to make it to the development sector" was held on February 11. Faiza Adiba, partnership analyst, Advocacy for Social Change at BRAC; Md Tawhidul Islam, Monitoring and Results Measurement Co-ordinator, M4C, Swisscontact; Muhammad Nahian Bin Khaled is a research analyst for IFPRI's Integrated Food Policy Research Program (IFPRP) in the Development Strategy and Governance Division (DSGD); Abu Naser Rayhan, and UNV communications assistant of UNFPA Bangladesh were the panel discussants of this segment.

Development sector problems are very critical. Especially in a developing country with diverse problems that need dire attention, it is an even more crucial factor. Though these competitions are rather new, they can be constructive as a source of learning and as a practice of gearing up the young participants for future challenges.

The writer is Faria Ahmed, a student of Master's programme at Department of Development Studies, Bangladesh University of Professionals. She can be reached at fariaahmed1111@gmail.com

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