Peace Talk Café brings woman leaders who rose to the occasion

The recent unprecedented circumstances have brought forth multidimensional issues. In addressing the varies facets of these issues, UNDP is stepping up to address different sections of society. Our Partnerships for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB) has been organising Peace Talk Café since last year to give the youth a voice, and responding to the new normal, Peace Talk Café once again took to the digital space.

Peace Talk Café – Presented by Digital Khichuri Challenge, organised an online discourse with the youth on the topic ‘Women in Pandemic: Survive – React – Evolve’, on 14 May from 11:00AM-12:00PM.

In this edition, Peace Talk Café focus on how women are contributing to create positive impact, what sort of evolution we are witnessing among women altogether, how this pandemic has affected women in general. In these dire times, we cannot afford to exclude women from any sort of conversation related to growth and rebuilding, while bringing to the forefront the more important conversation around the rise of domestic abuse and cyber harassment during this pandemic.

Addressing the stereotype surrounding madrasah students, Shagufe Hossain, Founder, Leaping Boundaries, mentioned “They are not as backward as we think they are. Here is not a world of difference between us and them. In fact, this ‘us and them’ dichotomy that we observe is problematic.” Apart from increasing mainstream representation of female madrasah students, her organization Leaping Boundaries has been over 100 children and staff members at partner madrasahs and 25 surrounding households in this crisis.

Tina F Jabeen, Investment Advisor, Startup Bangladesh, ICT Division, emphasized the importance of the dealing with empathy as we go through this collective traumatic experience. “Those of us who are privileged need to be empathetic and approachable. We need to expand our area of support and create access to provisions, wherever possible. This is the time for us to rise to the occasion”, she said.

Hasin Jahan, Country Director, WaterAid, has been addressing COVID-19 by supporting 5 lac slum population directly with handwashing facilities and awareness programs. “We are trying to promote and internalize regular handwashing in the rural and urban level, which is the most effective preventive measure against COVID-19”, she mentioned.

Tawhida Shiropa, Founder, Moner Bondhu, has been providing 24/7 free tele and video counselling to those whose mental health has taken a toll during this crisis. In explaining the inexplicable surge in domestic violence during the lockdown, she said “In any crisis, women and children are the most vulnerable”.

Peace Talk Café was attended by Bangladeshi youth from all over the world who shared their remarks and shed light on initiatives they are driving to tackle the crisis. Sharnila Kabir, Head of Partnerships, Footsteps and Mithela Haque, Co-founder, Stories For Peace, shared how they have been actively mobilizing efforts in response to COVID.

This discourse is arranged every quarter to expand the space for dialogue between youth and speakers coming from diverse backgrounds, underlining the fact that building peace is not only the responsibility of technical specialists, rather each and every individual has a role to play. This is a part of UNDP’s ongoing Digital Khichuri Challenge, a youth engagement platform that aims to create a peaceful and inclusive society.