In 2018, Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) of Brac University, with the support from UN Women programme “Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities” embarked on an ambitious plan to train 300 female students from 2 regional universities in Bangladesh on Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Social Cohesion. To see if female students could develop social business models towards promoting a peaceful and prosperous Bangladesh. One of the first universities who welcomed the concept was Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensing (JKKNIU), under their dynamic and progressive leadership of Prof. Dr. A H M Mustafizur Rahman, Vice-Chancellor of JKKNIU, who immediately realized the potential and merit of this project in enhancing the capacity of the female students at the university. Based on an initial meeting, an MoU was signed between CPJ and Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University on 05 July 2018. Soon after the signing CPJ went into action to organize the training for the female students of JKKNIU.
CPJ studying in developed a module for a 3-day training on Entrepreneurship Skills for the female students of JKKNIU. Through an open call for application, female students of JKKNIU applied for this training and out of 400 applications, 200 students were selected for this training. However, a total of 158 students completed this 3-day training organized in 5 batches during November and December 2018 at Brac Learning Centre in Mymensingh. There were two integral parts of the training where the students participated in an Innovation Workshop at the beginning and subsequently joined a 2-day Business Planning Boot Camp. Participating students in a small group of 5-6 members developed different business ideas that were relevant not only for themselves but also for the society at large. The most innovative and socially relevant business ideas were awarded seed fund to implement their ideas on a pilot basis for 3 months. In addition to the startup capital, the awarded projects got mentoring support both onsite and remotely from the project.
As per the requirement of the programme, the training built the capacity of the female students to think of a sustainable business solution to a social problem faced by women in the society, which is hampering the peace and holding back the prosperity of Bangladesh. The design of the training and the determination of the female students of JKKNIU proved to be a fantastic combination. The total of 158 students formed 24 multi-disciplinary teams and submitted 24 business plans within the deadline.
An evaluation team formed at CPJ, Brac University assessed these business plans using five distinct criteria with different weight (Innovativeness 25%; Rationale 25%; Financial feasibility 20%; Social relevance 20%; Capacity of team 10%) to select the best business ideas. The evaluation team finally nominated 2 business ideas for awarding seed fund to implement these projects on a pilot basis for 3 months (January-March 2019). The platform has been also used to nurture innovative social business ideas under the mentorship of trained faculty members. The platform also has been used to raise the voice of female students on the campus for a women-friendly campus. The successful implementation of the whole training programme is the result of strong coordination and mutual support of the two institutions, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University and CPJ, Brac University.
“Empowering young women for promoting a just, peaceful and inclusive society where every human being will be treated with equal dignity and rights.”
- To enhance the leadership capacity of women through nurturing innovative social business ideas
- To prevent gender-based violence, abuse and bullying
- To promote peace, cohesion and a sense of equity in the society
- To serve as co-working and safe space for the female students
Key Working Areas:
- Awareness Raising: Creating awareness to prevent gender-based violence, abuse & bullying through a social media campaign, celebrating national & international days and spreading peace message
- Skills Development: Enhancing the capacity of female students to promote a just, peaceful and inclusive society through organizing seminar, workshop and training
- Networking: Connecting the WPC members with like-minded local, national and international organization for amplifying the WPC activities
- Leadership Development: Developing women leadership through nurturing a social business idea and implementing female student-led initiative.