DI is working to increase the political engagement of women and youth in political parties and more broadly in national political activity. To work directly with women and young people, DI has eight regional Women and Youth Centers planned throughout the country in addition to DI’s headquarters in Dhaka.
These permanent offices engage regularly with women, youth, NGOs, and the local branches of the political parties to build capacity for political activism—based on policy and issue debates rather than just partisanship—at the grassroots level. In each center, DI has followed an approach that ensures its activities are situated and responsive to the needs and context of local stakeholders, including holding a kick-off town hall event with women, youth, and political parties in that region.
DI also hosts regular grassroots roundtable meetings, which create an opportunity for the content of future work to be guided by women and youth who live and work in those districts. DI is also conducting a series of surveys and other research activities that are designed to build the capacity of political parties to communicate more effectively with their constituents and better determine their policy priorities by providing accurate and targeted information about public opinion. Working directly with the political parties, DI is also providing technical assistance for a series of national opinion surveys designed to provide parties with relevant information on the policy preferences of Bangladeshi voters as well as information about their own likely constituents.
Building on these surveys, DI will work to develop the political parties’ in-house research and analysis capabilities by conducting electoral results training, demand driven party focus group discussions, research conferences, and census results analysis. DI is also supporting a fellowship program for young political party activists, which will provide training and capacity building for selected youth and give them the opportunity to engage with party leaders in Dhaka and at the regional level on important political and policy issues. The fellowship focuses on several different areas of political party operations, including connecting with young people, outreach to women, media relations, and using technology to improve party operations.