Welcome to the Global South of today. Entrepreneurship is on the rise. Innovation is blossoming. Opportunities are endless if we can harness the power of youth. This November, we are bringing young activists together with policymakers, social entrepreneurs, and development practitioners for the 6th Annual Frugal Innovation Forum(FIF) - rethinking and co-creating solutions that scale opportunities for youth.
The radio is on full blast as we drive down the winding roads of north-eastern Bangladesh. News, music, discussions. As we come closer to Moulvibazar city, the young people we are travelling with turn up the volume even more. The dialect changes. Everything is suddenly in their local tongue - Sylheti.
"The global financial crisis has turned us into a world of savers," The Washington Post reported recently. "Including the poorest among us." Of course people all throughout history, in every culture, have found ways to store away money for a rainy day. The difference today is the growing access to more organized, safer ways to save money. Access is not the same as adoption, however. For the poor to adopt new savings tools, requires, as the story notes, "building the trust of the poor, penny by penny," which can be very slow. It shouldn't surprise you to learn that
“This meeting is a great opportunity to see what’s really going on. In Sri Lanka, right now we only have microfinance. I had no idea what the health, education, and WASH [Water, sanitation, and hygiene] programs would be like. Reading on the website is nothing like coming here and really being able to see it.”
While the world has been closely watching the Ugandan Elections, there has been another democratic process unfolding in Uganda that BRAC has been monitoring. Youth, who make up around 22 percent of Uganda’s population, have also been electing their representatives in all levels of Government. This process started off in December 2010 with the election of village youth committees and will conclude with the youth parliamentary elections in March 2011.BRAC has been closely following the engagement of adolescent club members in these elections. These adolescent clubs are the very core of the Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescent (ELA) programme implemented by BRAC. There are currently 690 clubs set up by the programme across Uganda.
Below is a post from Crystal Chen of The MasterCard Foundation, one of BRAC's partners. She's currently visiting BRAC's programs in Uganda along with other members of the MasterCard team. She wrote this after visiting one of the girls clubs in our Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents (ELA) Program.