December 15, 2012

Youth Tech Drive, a TechCamp Follow-up Project

Youth Tech Drive was a follow-up project of Youth TechCamp 2012, Bangladesh. It was successfully organized by YES Alumni Bangladesh. The project held from 13th to 15th December 2012.
First day of Youth Tech Drive began with the session where the previous YES graduates and currently YES alumni, Imran Jahan Digonto, Scionara Shehry, Shomy Chowdhury, Sakib Noor Billah, and Rubaiath Hossain, introduced YES program to the participants. The trainers also told how to apply for this scholarship and the criteria that they have to consider. The students were very eager to know about the program. The second session of the day “Class 1: Computer and Internet Basics” was run by Scionara Shehry, Mohima Srishty, and Imran Jahan Digonto. The students were very responsive when asked questions, and a lot of them could answer correctly. The trainers made the session fun and interesting for the students. After that, the participants got the chance to socialize and know each other in this ice-breaking session as they all a little snack. Rubaiath Hossain, Mohima Srishty, Munif Khan helped the students to have a fun time with games as they are starting to enjoy this wonderful opportunity to learn about technology and internet. Participants made colorful wishes and greetings for the K-L YES program for 10th year anniversary. Bright and dazzling cards that were drawn by the participants were mind-blowing. Some of the trainers made a poster wishing YES Program a happy 10th anniversary. They took photos along with the YES alumni at the end of the day. The motto of the coordinators was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of YES Program by organizing this project with YES Alumni. Participants were divided into four groups to have ideas about making website, getting to know basic rules. Gulshan Jubaed Prince went ahead to let the students know about two ways of making websites by using soft-codes and ready to make websites. The team leaders, Munif, Scionara, Rubaiath, and Digonto, held an interactive website making session and helped the participants go through the steps to create, register with a sub-domain. The teams came up with their newly created websites with the knowledge gathered all by themselves. After the students came up with their own websites, they were given instructions for the next day. By the end of Day 1, students were free and interactive with each other, and learned and enjoyed team work and leadership, even if it was within a range from grade 7 to 12.
On the second day participants took a quiz about the knowledge that they learnt on the previous day and also gave their responded on their experience that they gathered by the presentations and works. Experienced trainers Rafita Binta Alam and Chowdhury Amir Abdullah led this session to let the participants have knowledge about Model United Nations. They presented and told how Model United Nations works, and some terms to know about it, how the flow of debate, discussion goes on in a Model United Nations conference. The session ended as the participants got a new-fangled experience in this presentation. Rafita Binta Alam, and Sakib Noor Billah trained in the next session, “Class 4: How to campaign an idea using social media”, which would introduce social networking sites to the participants, began as the trainers gave some knowledge about websites which we can use for social networking such as ‘Ibibo’, ‘Google +’, ‘Linked In’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’. Rafita Binta Alam radiantly presented in this session.

Sakib Noor Billah, skilled YES alumni, then went on to describe how to run a campaign using social networking sites; expertise and skills to run campaign successfully through Facebook page. Participants got the chance to socialize and know each other in this ice-breaking session. This session provided the students to enjoy this wonderful opportunity to learn about model United Nations while socializing as they were having snacks.Next, the participants were shown a video that was highly enthusiastic and informative about using social networking sites to do business campaign. Although it talks slightly off-topic, it was good enough to let the participants have some extra knowledge about what they are about to do next.It was fun and interesting as the participants showed great enthusiasm in their work. Day three was the final day of the whole workshop which took place at the Edward M Kennedy Centre, Dhanmondi-27, Dhaka. 
Both the coordinators and most of the trainers got to the venue around 9 am and started preparing for the day. All of the participants for the workshop were present at the venue by 10 am. 16 participants, who were already divided into two different groups on the second day of the workshop, received an hour to prepare themselves to work on their presentations about “Computer Basics”, “Creating a Webpage”, “Model United Nations”, and “Campaigning through social network media” that they had made in the first two days of the workshop. All the students were done in time, and the “Presentation Session” took place. All the participant presenters did an excellent job with their presentations, discussing about most of the topics that were covered in the past two days in their own words. The “Certificate Giving Ceremony” took place right after then. One of the two country co-coordinators of iEARN-BD, Wasi Mahmud Moni, handed out the certificates to all the participants. We had another special guest with us, Ms. Nadi, our TechCamp trainer for the group “Campaigning through social media”. And thus, Youth Tech Drive officially came to an end; but we weren’t completely done yet, we had a little ending ceremony. We had baked a cake to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the YES Program, and dedicated “Youth Tech Drive” as a sign of appreciation to the YES Family. The whole workshop has been a huge success, with great feedback.

November 17, 2012

Halloween Party

The Halloween party for the State Alumni took place successfully on the 17th of November at the Edward M Kennedy Center at Dhanmondi 27. The party started at 3:30pm afternoon and continued till 7:00pm evening. The American Center Cultural Affairs officer, Ms. Tahnia Shahid and iEARN-BD coordinators, Mr. Wasi Mahmud Moni and Mr. Rajib Locan Das attended the event as guests. The whole event was hosted by Shaikh Ahmad. About 45 State alumni attended the event.
The party started with Shaikh Ahmad giving a brief introduction of the first ever Halloween party to be observed and organized in Bangladesh by the YES Alumni Bangladesh. Followed by was a short speech by Ms. Tahnia Shahid. Then there was a fashion show by some participating YES Alumni from different batches exhibiting their attire and costumes. After the fashion show, all the attendants of the party were requested to vote for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best costumes. A entertaining dance was then performed by a few alumni. Then the results of the voting were announced and crests were given to the winners by Mr. Wasi Mahmud Moni, Mr. Rajib Lochan Das and Ms. Tahnia Shahid. This was followed by one of the key events of the Halloween party, "The Haunted House"!! All the people who attended the party went through a dark, decorated room called the Haunted House where they were haunted by zombies, vampires, and monsters.

Then a video was shown to the people attending the party where Shaikh Ahmad's area representative, exchange friend and host mother talks talks about what they think of the YES Alumni celebrating Halloween for the first time in Bangladesh. Later it was time for refreshments and socializing. There were soft drinks, water, cupcakes and pastries for the Halloween party.
The party then ended with Photo sessions and Trick or Treating where everyone was given a bag of Halloween candies.
Overall it was a successful project coordinated by Shaikh Ahmad (YES7), A H M Zuberi Ashraf (YES9), Shomy Hasan Chowdhury (YES9) and Scionara Shehry (YES9)

November 5, 2012

YES Alumni and Radio Kolergan

Radio Kolergan, one of the most famous online radio stations in Bangladesh, featured YES alumni Bangladesh in its very popular talk show on the 5th November at 8:30 pm. Five YES alumni, Preva Shomy, Scionara Shehry, Imran Digonto, Shyer Amin and Zuberi Ashraf represented YES alumni Bangladesh and talked about their experiences during the exchange year. And how YES alumni is helping them to shape their future and on-going projects of YES alumni Bangladesh. People from all walks of life curiously listened to them as they shared their surreal experiences and talked about how it changed their lives. A lot of people got inspired and enlightened about YES program. At the end the five YES alumni talked about the current students and how to apply on the YES program. With warm messages from the audience and greetings from the host, the show ended. 

October 16, 2012

Global Handwashing Day Project

On the 15th and 16th of October 2012 around 35 YES alumni have participated in the Global Hand Washing Day. Yes alumni had joined hands with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to undertake a project that would create awareness about washing hands in the proper way among the school children and vendors of Dhaka city.

Around 7 schools and many vendors on the streets around the schools have been reached. Yes Alumnus has created a presentation and a video on hand washing, both of which were shown in the schools. The presentations were shown to around 1800 hundred students and around 20-30 vendors have received knowledge about the effects of not washing hands. There was a grand rally for the awareness of washing hands where around 800 students participated. Sufficient awareness has been created around Dhaka city about personal hygiene.
All in all, the entire project was a grand success!

October 15, 2012

YES Alumni with BYES

YES Alumni Bangladesh had been invited on the 15th of October to EMK Center to a program organized by the Bangladesh Youth Empowerment Society to present and promote Youth Exchange and Study program. It was program where all the exchange student programs funded by the U.S Department of State are presented and promoted. 
Three YES Alumni ( Sadman Mondalib, Farazi Ghani and Suravi Jahanara) had gone to EMK center on behalf on YES and iEARN-BD to promote the program. Even though the target audience for YES program was not present, as all of the audiences were from undergraduate background, it was a good opportunity for YES promotion and hopefully the word will spread around through the audience present at the program. 
As a whole it was a good day to spread around the word for YES since the promotion for the upcoming YES year has already started!

October 14, 2012

AEBA Convention

There was a press conference at the National Press Club on 14th October,organised by All European Bangladesh Association (AEBA), a newly floated forum of Bangladeshi expatriates in Europe. Expatriates representing eight European countries attended the press conference. One of our YES alumni,Sadman Mondalib got an opportunity to attend this press conference.All European Bangladesh Association (AEBA) will arrange a two-day grand convention in December 1-2 in Athens, the capital of Greece where Bangladesh origin community leaders from 30 countries in the Europe will take part.Mainly,the convention will focus on continuing the united efforts of Bangladeshi expatriates for development of their respective communities and extending their contribution for development of Bangladesh. AEBA members informed that during the grand convention on December 1-2 in Athens, they would award 16 Bangladeshi origin celebrities in seven categories in recognition of their excellence.

October 12, 2012

YES Alumni in Human Development Workshop

On the 12th of October two YES Alumnus (Farazi Ghani and Sadman Mondalib) went to Sylhet to help work on a project called "Increasing Democratic Attitude in Underdeveloped High School Students." It was a two day workshop where all the invited Master trainers including some senior Master trainers who have worked with the project coordinator Ms. Badrunnesha before had worked together to create the materials needed to get the project going. This was a very new thing and a very new idea that has been brought by Ms. Badrunnesha and it was a brilliant project to work at. The whole concept of creating materials and sessions for teachers to train the students with was a very challenging and equally enjoyable experience.
The two days were very intense as almost everybody that worked together on the project were not familiar with each other. They had to debate on several topics to come to a conclusion and had to create full sessions with all the details and material necessary for each session. It was even more challenging since the sessions were being created for students of Madraasas and issues relating religion and social norms had to be dealt with carefully. On the second day the sessions and materials had to be finalized and each group had to do a presentation on the things they worked at.
All in all it was a great success and the two YES Alumnus had been highly appreciated for their help in the project!

October 4, 2012

A conversation with Bangladesh

Building on the platform of the “Town interview with Bangladeshi Youth” of Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, in partnership with Desh TV, US Embassy Dhaka is producing a monthly program entitled “A conversation with Bangladesh”.
YES Alumni joined this talk show, where two of the American guest from Embassy, Joanna Schenke and Raj Sriram were invited. This month’s topic was “US Election and Democracy”. Four of the alumni joined as the panelists, representing the Bangladeshi youth. Sabir Amanullah, American Center staff member and TV personality, hosted the program. Mike Harker, cultural affairs officer at American center worked as the site officer in that show.
Sabir and the guests raised, talked and shared their opinion on the topic; also sharing their views and thoughts with the panelists. The show went ahead discussing about the election process in the US; election and democracy in root levels and in youth; purpose of the presidential debate; transparent fair and free election; young Americans attitude towards election. YES alumni shared their thoughts about young Bangladeshi’s attitude, views about election.
The show came to an end with the significance to build mutual relationships, both the US and Bangladesh can share their views towards democracy.

October 3, 2012

YES Alumni and FAO

On the 3rd of October a team of 9 Yes Alumnus went to the National Institute of Public Health to attend a meeting with the Food and Agriculture (FAO) Department to discuss a project for the "Global Hand Washing Day". In the meeting the YES Alumnus had to do a presentation on the YES alumni activities to give FAO a clear idea of how YES Alumnus operates and how we can work with them to make the project a successful and an effective one.
After the presentation by YES alumnus the project coordinator Mr. Dharmapuri had given a presentation on how FAO works. After a common ground was set, it was decided that YES Alumni and FAO would join hands and YES alumnus would go around schools in Dhaka creating awareness and doing presentations about Hand washing to celebrate Global Handwashing day.
All in all the meeting was a successful one and it’s a huge opportunity for YES alumnus to work with big organizations such as FAO.

September 18, 2012

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh 2012: A skill development initiative for Social Activism through Media

Group work on Citizen Journalism products with trainers.

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh 2012 was held at Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and the Arts, Dhaka on 16-18 September, 2012. This was a skill development initiative for the Bangladeshi  youth funded by the U.S. Department of State and organized by International Education And Resource Network – Bangladesh. Participating youth were the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program alumni in Bangladesh. Information Management Officer, Mr. Charles Eckert from the U.S. Embassy Dhaka inaugurated the event. His interesting and humorous speech welcomed all in the camp.
Theme of the TechCamp was Social Activism through Media with three sub-themes:  Citizen Journalism,  Digital Storytelling, and Social Media. On each sub-theme there was a pool of skilled trainers who are technologically recognized in Bangladesh. Trainers lead the learning journey of 22 participants with the aid of modern equipment and software tools. Trainers include President of Change Makers Advocate Tanbir-ul Islam Siddiqui, Director and Producer Golam Mustafa Shimul, Owner of OIDP IT Kaberi Mustafa, Software Engineer Samsil Arifeen,  Technology Author M.A. Hossain Tonu, Assistant Programmer at Water Development Board Shahid Shikdar, Owner of Sightline Syful Islam, Programmer at OIDIP IT Mashroora Nadi, Station Engineer at Massranga TV Nomaan Rahman. Participants learnt how to make plan of a social campaign, design with technology and finally reach the target group through communication media. News Editor of Diganta TV Khan Mohammad Salek and Regional Head of Citicell Mamun Atik shared their professional experiences. As guest speaker, Professor at the Dhaka University Imtiaz Ahmed inspired the participants to choose a right path of building their lives for serving the nation.
Each day was full of exciting experiences that finally came to an end with three end products. Three separated groups developed three products under each theme: a Blog with Wordpress, a documentary video with Dreamweaver, and a social campaign page with Facebook.  After showing their products participants were given certificates in the presentation ceremony in front of the audience with teachers, NGO leaders, State Alumni, IT experts and other important persons of the society. Quazi Sabir Amanullah, Alumni Coordinator at the American Center was present in the occasion. First time ever in Bangladesh, the Youth TechCamp ended with enthusiasm to serve Bangladesh.
For photos: click here
Related article: DipNote

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh (Day 3)

The first Youth TechCamp came to end today. A very effective learning experience which will be remembered for a long time by the K-L Youth Exchange and Study Program alumni participants went very smoothly from the beginning. The final day started with a quiz game where learners were divided into two groups. They were asked questions about the topics that were went over in Day-1 and Day-2. The point difference was very close and the winning team got chocolates as prize.
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed. Professor, Dept. of International Relations, Dhaka University led an wonderful session about How to Build Critical Mass/How to Go Viral.
The learners were very much interested in the class and learnt about viewing the world in different eye using imagination. After the only session of first day, the three previously made groups got separated with their mentors. They worked on their final products which were a Social Campaign through Facebook, a video and a blog.
Quazi Sabir Amanullah, Alumni Coordinator, The American Center was present in the presentation ceremony where the products were showcased. Three groups individually showed their nicely created products. The social campaign group ran a campaign in facebook to promote Youth TechCamp Bangladesh. The video group made a short video about renewable energy. They showed the solar bottle project which was recently done by YES Alumni Bangladesh in the video. The guests of the ceremony were from different background of job. A diverse audience in therms of profession was present. They enjoyed the video and the blog that was made for YES Alumni community of Bangladesh.
The Youth TechCamp ended with certificate and crest giving ceremony. Every participants agree to one point that they had a great learning experience. They would like to see more of this kinds of events happening in Bangladesh.
Youth TechCamp Bangladesh (Day-3)

September 17, 2012

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh (Day-2)

Learners are blogging
Day started with recap of First Day by the organizers. Software Architect and Technology Author, M A Hossain Tonu led an interactive training on Blogging and Wordpress. It was very interesting topic and learners were very enthusiastic. Md Syful Islam. Proprietor, SightLine and Nomaan Rahman, Station Engineer, Maasranga TV took another session on Digital Storytelling. Training on Adobe photoshop and photo/video Manipulation was the main focus. After lunch break, a special guest speaker, Khan Mohammad Salek. News Editor, Diganta Television gave his presentation about Social Activism and Journalism. Another session was on basic CSS and HTML Coding for bloggers by Muhammad Shahid Shikdar. Asstt. Programmer, Bangladesh Water Development Board, Ministry of Water Resources. The last session of the day was on Importance of Social Media in building campaign, overview of different types of social media sources and methods of building a campaign by Mohammed Samsil Arifeen, Freelance expert
In between the sessions, there was entertainment arrangement by the trainers and organizers. Stand up comedy, dancing and singing was there to energize the learners. After the sessions, the three groups sat individually to work on their final products which will be showcased in the final day. All the participants, organizers and trainers had dinner together after a great learning experience from Day-2 of Youth TechCamp Bangladesh, 2012.
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September 16, 2012

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh (Day-1)

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh started today at 9:00 am at Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and the Arts, Dhaka. Theme of the TechCamp is Social Activism through Media. Information Management Officer, Mr. Charles Eckert from the U.S. Embassy Dhaka inaugurated the event. His interesting and humorous speech welcomed the YES Alumni TechCamp participants. After the Ice Breaking session by alumni organizers, fast paced introduction of the trainers went on. Speech on Social Activism and Technology was given by Mamun Atik, Regional Head, Citycell. Advocate Tanbir Ul Islam Siddiqui, President, Change Makers gave a brilliant presentation on Introduction to Citizen Journalism. After lunch, Golam Mustafa Shimul, director and producer took an interactive training on Introduction to Digital Storytelling. Kaberi Mustafa, Owner, OIDIP IT and Mashroora Nadi, Tech Expert, OIDIP IT continued another interactive session on Social Media. After the training sessions, three participants were divided into three groups who will be working together to prepare the final product which will be showcased on 18th September.

More photos:
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September 15, 2012

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh 2012

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), in collaboration with U.S. Embassy Dhaka and iEARN, will host a Youth TechCamp in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from September 16-18, 2012. A signature series hosted by the State Department to raise digital literacy, Youth TechCamp Bangladesh will engage Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program alumni.
Youth TechCamp Bangladesh supports Secretary Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft policy by encouraging young people to learn about and contribute to the digital networks and technologies of today’s interconnected world.
Youth TechCamp Bangladesh will provide three full days of training for YES alumni from Bangladesh. Participants will interact with top local technology experts specializing in civic journalism and social activism. Youth TechCamp Bangladesh will enable these future leaders to learn how they can leverage connection technologies to make a positive impact in their communities and around the world.
The event will take place at the Edward M. Kennedy Center for Public Service and the Arts, an interactive, youth-focused space designed for Bangladesh’s next generation of social entrepreneurs, artists, and change makers.
Join the conversation on Youth Tech Camp Bangladesh on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #TechCamp.
For more information and media inquiries about the Youth TechCamp, contact Suzanne Philion,

September 12, 2012

Alumni attended GIST Seminar

On June 29, two Dhaka University students won the U.S. State Department’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) "I Dare" business plan competition with their mass marketing of Jutin, a jute fiber and resin-based building material for affordable and sustainable housing. Their plan was one of 384 entries from 48 countries. GIST sought technology entrepreneurs and innovators to participate in its annual Technology Idea (Tech-I) Competition to encourage individuals to launch and/or grow a company in their countries.

The American Center hosted a discussion with the two Bangladeshi GIST “I Dare” business plan competition winners: Saimum Hossain and Badhan Mazumder on Wednesday, September 12 from 2:00 - 3:30 PM at the American Center in Baridhara. Saimum and Badhan discussed entrepreneurship and shared tips about the GIST contest.

18 K-L YES Alumni were present on the occasion at the American. It was a productive session for them as they talked with the two entrepreneurs and they asked questions and took notes as the two shared tips about how to set up business ventures in Bangladesh, how to face difficulties along the path as well as tips and pointers for the competition.

Photo Credit: American Center, Dhaka

September 11, 2012

Removing Day-Darkness by Solar Bottle Bulb (Phase-2)

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Alumni- Bangladesh observed Global Youth Service Day from April 20-22, 2012. The motivated youth group took up an innovative idea to illuminate the lives of those who had little to almost no light even during the day; by installing solar bottle bulbs.

Developed in Brazil, practiced in the Philippines’ to address under-illuminated slums, the solar bottle light is a simple idea that has expanded to other developing areas where many low-income homes lack access to either daylight or electricity. The solar bottle bulbs reuses clear plastic bottles filled with water and a few drops of chlorine to keep the water clean, clear and bacteria free. The bottle is inserted half way through the roof to allow sunlight from outside to illuminate the inside of homes through refraction of light.
For the first phase, a group of 25 YES alumni and peers installed 35 solar bottles in three slum areas in Dhaka including South Bishil, Shamoly, and Pike Para.

The second phase, under the name ‘Removing Darkness of the Day – Solar Bottle Bulb’ lasted from 5 to 11 September 2012 illuminating over a hundred households in the slum of Kalshi, Mirpur-12, impacting about 600 people. K-L YES Alumnus Gulshan Jubaed Prince and fellow BYEI member Shitab Daiyan Akash initiated the project. International Education and Resource Network-Bangladesh (iEARN-BD) and Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI) sponsored the project. Several youth leaders from K-L YES Alumni Bangladesh volunteered for the project with utmost dedication.
There is a plan of arranging a fundraiser, and installing solar panels in the community of the slum in Kalshi, so that the residents can utilize the electricity, which seems to be a scarce resource. Such an initiative would ensure at least partial exemption from the over 7 hours of daily power cuts, and sustain electrical machineries such as television and ceiling fans. The people are eager for such a day when the government would come and aid their distressful lives.

Full Album:
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Project Coordinator: Gulshan Jubaed Prince,  K-L YES Alumni Bangladesh
Written by: Mohammad Mustahsin Islam, K-L YES Alumni Bangladesh

September 10, 2012

New Executive Committee

On September 10, 2012, the first meeting of the newly elected Executive Committee (EC) was held at the American Centre in Dhaka. Mohammad Mustahsin Islam, the only representative of the previous EC at this meeting and also an elected member of this EC, began with the handing over ceremony.
The nine elected EC members present were Mohammad Mustahsin Islam, Sakib Noor Billah, Shafayat Alam, Farazi Ghani, Gulshan Jubaed Prince, Sadman Mondalib, Kazi Tamjeed Newaz, Arunima Bhattacharjee, Shomy Hasan Chowdhury.
Mr. Wasi Mahmud Moni, Mr. Rajib Lochan Das, Ms. Tahnia Shahid, Mr. Quazi Sabbir Amanullah were also present at the meeting.
Consensus was reached among the 9 EC members regarding the posts of General Secretary and Treasurer. It was decided that Mohammad Mustahsin Islam would be General Secretary and Sadman Mondalib would be Treasurer.
All the EC members want to take the association in a higher level in terms of recognition and activities. Signing of Charter, Assembly of General Members are some of the next projects in hand of the EC members. 

August 13, 2012

K-L YES Alumni Executive Committee Election

As per the decision of the iEARN-BD executive committee, the first K-L YES Alumni Executive Committee Elections were fairly and successfully held from 10th August, 2012, to 12th August, 2012, under the supervision of Mr. Muhammad Maruf Ibne Wali, the Election Commissioner nominated by the American Center. The 9 K-L YES Alumni who are elected Executive Committee members through online voting are as follows:
S.M. Sakib Noor Billah, K-L YES-05
Mohammad Mustahsin Islam, K-L YES-05
A.S.M. Shafayatul Alam, K-L YES-06
Gulshan Jubaed Prince, K-L YES-08
Farazi Ghani, K-L YES-08
Sadman Mondalib, K-L YES-08
Kazi Tamjeed Newaz, K-L YES-08
Arunima Bhattacharjee, K-L YES-08
Shomy Hasan Chowdhury, K-L YES-09
The portfolios of General Secretary, Treasurer and Members will be distributed among the 9 member committee upon their first meeting.
Anyone who successfully completed the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program was eligible to be nominated as a candidate for Executive Committee Elections. The deadline for submission of nomination papers to the iEARN-BD office was 2nd August, 2012, while the deadline for withdrawing nomination was 4th August, 2012.
To make the Executive Committee an active and effective body, hardworking candidates who would be dedicated to the cause were sought. The list of candidates was finalized on the 5th of August, 2012 and the total number of candidates contesting the elections was 13.
All K-L YES Alumni had 9 votes, and one candidate could not be given more than one vote. There were 175 voters in total, from K-L YES-02 through K-L YES-09. The final voter list was finalized on 27th July, 2012.
The candidates campaigned hard for the elections, with each having their profile uploaded to the iEARN-BD website by the 7th August, 2012. Their profiles contained information on their achievements, what they did in USA on their exchange year, what they did after their return, their plans for the future. They wrote about community service projects they had participated in or they had coordinated, and what kinds of future project they want to coordinate. They wrote about their ambitions, and all talked of how they could help make the EC an effective and engaging body. The candidates also campaigned via a popular social networking site, urging fellow alumni to vote for them through Facebook. They put up beautiful flyers and posters on their and their friends' walls, underlining their achievements and goals and pleading for votes.
The voting started at 2:00 pm, on the 10th of August, 2012. Valid voting time was 48 hours, with no votes being accepted after 2:00 pm, 12th August, 2012. Finally, 9 of the candidates could see their labor bear fruit, with the election results being published on the 13th of August, 2012. All the candidates were notified online, while many came to the iEARN-BD office that day to get the results in person.
Special thanks is deserved for Mr. Muhammad Maruf Ibne Wali, the Election Commissioner, Mr. Rajib Lochan Das, Co-coordinator, iEARN-BD, and Mr. Wasi Mahmud Moni, Co-coordinator, iEARN-BD for the successful completion of the K-L YES Alumni EC elections.

Click on the image above to see election photos

April 22, 2012

Celebration of Global Youth Service Day 2012 at the Slums

GYSD 2012 was celebrated from the 20th of April to 22nd April this year. In Bangladesh, International Education And Resource Network-Bangladesh (iEARN-BD) celebrated the Global Youth Service day by helping those who dwell in slums, with projects such as Solar Bottle-Bulbs, Earthquake Awareness Outreach and Water Purification Tablet Donation. Volunteering for these projects were the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Alumni, who helped make all the projects successfully come to life.
It all started with a workshop held by iEARN-BD for the volunteers on the 16th and 18th of April, 2012, to prepare for the projects for GYSD. The Solar Bottle-Bulbs, a project planned and coordinated by Gulshan Jubaed Prince, were made and assembled in the workshops. All that was needed was corrugated sheets of tin, a clear, transparent bottle of any volume between 1 and 2 liters, some silicone or rubber sealants, Korean putty, chlorine-water mixture and some cylindrical plastic pipe pieces and you'd have a working Solar Bottle-Bulb that says goodbye to all the daytime darkness woes of slum dwellers and to ease the pressure off the national power grid during daytime. A significant number of YES Alumni members help bring the these bulbs into existence, we made a huge number of bulbs, some of which are kept as surplus, to be used the next time we run this project.
On Friday, 20th April, we went to a slum near Shah Ali Majar, Mirpur. YES Alumni came from distant corners of the capital and again showed their dedication to community service. Volunteers toiled under the hot sun on a holiday to install the bulbs on the tin roofs of the houses. Two mechanics were hired to help with the installation and they took all day to install a number of the bulbs in a slum. It was ensured that the bulb installation did not cause the roofs to leak water. The silicone sealants used were waterproof, as well as the Korean putty. An incision needed to be made to cut the tin roof in a circular shape, and 2/3 of the bottle was placed inside the room and 1/3 outside, where sunlight would light up the chlorine water mixture inside. Rivets and Putty was used to ensure firmness and no chance of leakage. Later that day, we went to install more bottles in Tolarbagh, Mirpur. All the residents seemed to be enthusiastic and received the project really well. Neighboring slums also showed interest after seeing this, but due to time and resource constraints, it could not be done that day. The light was equivalent to 55-60 Watt light bulbs. The people seemed really grateful that they could read and do other stuff at home during the day and not worry about the electricity bill.
Afterwards, the people were given a briefing on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The Earthquake Awareness Outreach Program, coordinated by Kazi Tamjeed Newaz, has successfully made more than 100 people aware of the dangers of an earthquake situation in Dhaka and how to deal with it directly over the period of GYSD. They were told how they could prepare for a quake beforehand, how to deal with the aftermath of a quake and how to react during a quake. Popular misinformation and myths were quelled regarding quakes, and this may be invaluable when a major quake does hit Bangladesh, upping the survival chances of the people. A lot of prior ignorance was observed, which was due to a lack of awareness programs on the topic due to which the general masses have little idea or knowledge about earthquakes. This project was very well received by the slum dwellers and we hope that this small step can reduce the casualty toll in crowded slums when there is a major earthquake.
Water purification tablets were also donated to those who did not have access and the means to afford pure water. This project, also coordinated by Gulshan Jubaed Prince, was well received. More than 15 families were given tablets as donations over the period of GYSD. Number of strips donated varied from family to family based upon the number of family members in a family. We told them about the virtues of pure drinking water and how impure water hurts our bodies and spreads diseases. We also gave them directions on how to use the tablets and how to purify water. A strip, containing 10 tablets, can purify up to 30 liters of water. On the 21st of April, Saturday, we went to a slum at the end of Golden Street, Shyamoli. There, even more solar bottle bulbs were installed in small workshops and houses. We also donated water purification pills and spread awareness on earthquakes and how to react during a quake and how to prepare beforehand for a major earthquake. At the end of the day, we went to Tolarbagh, Mirpur again to install solar bottle-bulbs there as well. The next destination was supposed to be Abdullahpur on the 22nd of April, to carry out the same projects in slums there so as to reach a greater number of people with our light, but this could not be done due to unavoidable circumstances (hartal). Even though we missed one day, GYSD 2012 was a huge success for us in Bangladesh, and iEARN-BD deserves applause. YES alumni members deserve special praise for helping these projects come to fruition. Special thanks is also given to Gulshan Jubaed Prince for coordinating GYSD 2012. May there be no darkness in our future. Long live Global Youth Service Day!

More Reports:
Solar Bottle Project in K-L Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program Website
GYSD Bangladesh report at Daily Sun
GYSD Bangladesh report and GYSD Website

Reporter: Kazi Tamjeed Newaj, YES-8
Project Coordinator: Gulshan Jubaed Prince, YES-8