A YMCA Youth Seminar was held from October 02-05, 2008 at YMCA Training Center, Savar organized by the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh. The theme chosen for the seminar was “Youth Participation for Addressing Issues”. 32 youth members actively participated at the Seminar, they were mostly from the 9 local YMCAs and from the Norwegian YWCA-YMCA. Mr. Dan Cato from YMCA-YWCA Norway lead the Norwegian Youth Team.

The President of the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh Mr. Symon P. Adhikary inaugurated the Seminar on October 03, 2008. Mr. Adhikary called upon all the youth to be involved more actively in the YMCA in order to be on the right track for accomplishing the mission of the YMCA. The power of creativity of the youth can make this possible and to address the contemporary issues of the society.

At the beginning of the seminar, the National General Secretary of the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh Mr. Duncan Chowdhury spoke on the purpose of the seminar to the participants  and called upon the members to be proactive in their participation. 

For understanding the current social realities, three major issues were discussed at the Seminar through the presentations: (a) Gender Situation of Bangladesh: Youth Participation for Gender Equity. presented by Ms. Christine Richardson. (b) Leadership: Youth Participation in Decision Making Process presented by Mr. Bipul Alite Gonsalves who delivered the topic through kits & games and (c) Drugs & HIV/AIDS: Youth Participation for Conscentizing People presented by Dr. Edward Pallab Rozario presented the topic through the vivid power point presentations.

After the presentations by the resource persons, the participants took the opportunity to clarify their understanding at the Questions & Answers Sessions and then the participants divided for small group discussions.

The participants recommended the followings at the Seminar:

·        Ensuring youth participation in the all sphere of activities of the YMCAs

·        Increase women’s participation in the Board of Directors of the YMCAs

·        Increase women staff in the YMCAs

·        Organize program for conscientizing people on women’s rights.

·        Encourage & educate youth for taking the leadership in the YMCAs

·        Organize Seminars, Workshops and Rallies for conscientizing people on Drugs & HIV/AIDS

 The Seminar also included site seeing and frequent cultural activities.


A Testimony

During the days of 2-5 October, youth from 9 different local YMCAs and a delegation from Norway attended a youth seminar at the YMCA training centre of Savar, Dhaka.

The seminar was inaugurated by Mr. Duncan Chowdhury and Mr. Symon P. Adhikary. The youth participants took part in courses on gender equity, youth participation in decision making process and HIV/AIDS held by very skilled resource persons. After and during the lectures the youth was involved in several discussion groups. The participants also attended two cultural nights from Bangladesh and Norway.

We received superb accommodation, food and hospitality from the employees of the training centre.

Many of the participants made friends from other YMCAs and we, the Norwegians, would like to use this opportunity to thank you for taking us into your hearts and inviting us into the Bangladeshi culture.

The seminar was ended with speeches of gratitude from all the local YMCAs as well as an inspiring speech by Mr. Duncan. Now we hope that all the participants will use the knowledge and experience gained in the seminar in their local YMCAs as youth leaders.

Thank you for a great seminar!

Joakim Krabbe