Medical &Health

Helping Bangladeshi youths stage a comeback from Covid setbacks

Young people left unemployed by the Covid-19 pandemic can now dream of staging a comeback, thanks to a new initiative by the Uddokta project that aims to encourage entrepreneurship.

Uddokta — empowering entrepreneurs — a three-year (2020-2022) project was initially a partnership between Chevron and global nonprofit organisation iDE, signed in 2019 under Chevron’s Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI).

Now, Uddokta has partnered with the Embassy of Switzerland to take this noble initiative forward. The formal integration was done at a recent event ‘Empowering people through our partnership’ in Dhaka.

Chevron’s director of corporate affairs, the deputy head of cooperation from Swiss Embassy and the Asia-Pacific vice president of iDE attended the event.

This partnership seeks to improve incomes and livelihoods of rural communities via enterprise development, creation of local entrepreneurs and strengthening market systems in Chevron BPI catchment areas of Sylhet division — Sylhet, Moulavibazar, and Habiganj.

In July 2021, Switzerland supported Uddokta through their Bangladesh Covid-19 response to increase the employment of youths and women affected by the pandemic in and around the project area.

In this joint collaboration, the Uddokta project will help improve the lives and livelihoods of over 2,600 youths by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and more than 100 local cooperatives with a strong emphasis on gender inclusivity and integration.

Apart from supporting the out-of-job youths, the project will focus on long-term sustainability through greater emphasis on climate-smart sectors in the four districts of Sylhet division — Sylhet, Moulavibazar, Habiganj and Sunamganj.

As the pandemic continues to impede the country’s economic activities, especially for Bangladeshi rural women and youths, the partnership also aims to promote an inclusive and non-discriminative society, and youth employment opportunities.

“The new partnership is appreciated for their innovative approach towards supporting youths affected by Covid-19,” said the director of corporate affairs, Chevron Bangladesh, Muhammad Imrul Kabir.

“With global attention on the annual UN Climate Change Conference of COP26, the Uddokta project will be prioritising green growth and initiatives for the betterment of rural communities in the future.”

iDE vice president for Asia-Pacific, Deepak Khadka said: “Sustainability will be key to the programme as well as developing solutions to challenges and accelerating the results of the programme.”

The deputy head of cooperation from the Embassy of Switzerland, Corinne Henchoz, Pignani said: “Responsible decisions need to be taken to leave the world better for the future generations. I am hopeful that this project will demonstrate how to do this sustainably in Bangladesh.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh