Empowering Youth for a Smarter and Inclusive Bangladesh

Empowering Youth Innovation: The Digital Khichuri Challenge 2023 Fosters Inclusivity and Tolerance in Bangladesh's Digital Realm

September 28, 2023

Unity in Diversity: Participants, officials, and organizers of the Digital Khichuri Challenge 2023 stand united in their commitment to foster a smarter, more inclusive digital landscape in Bangladesh.

©UNDP Bangladesh

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka and the ICT Division, organised the Digital Khichuri Challenge (DKC) 2023 in Rajshahi under the “Partnerships for a More Tolerant, Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB)” project, from September 26 to 27, centred around the theme "Empowering Youth for a Smart and Inclusive Bangladesh."

The DKC 2023 Rajshahi Cohort was conceived with a vision to cultivate an inclusive cyberspace, foster religious harmony, and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Bangladesh. This transformative endeavour provided a platform for young minds to conceive innovative solutions to address the pressing challenges faced in the digital realm. By countering hate speech and cyberbullying, preserving the cultural tapestry of Bangladesh, and promoting religious tolerance, the DKC 2023 aimed to empower youth as catalysts for positive change, contributing to a smarter and more inclusive Bangladesh.

Eight teams were selected among over  100 applicants to participate in the idea lab session. Among these, Tech for Change and Cyber Bandhu (Cyber বন্ধু) were recognised as the winners for their innovative contributions and their commitment to translating their ideas into reality. Each winning team has been awarded 50,000 BDT.

Prof. Dr. Md. Shah Azam, Vice-Chancellor of Rabindra University, graced the hackathon as the Chief Guest, commending the youth for their determination to combat issues like cyber harassment and create a safer and more inclusive digital space. He remarked, "The fact that youth are willing to fight against prevalent issues such as cyber harassment and make digital space safer and inclusive is a step in the right direction.”

The Project Director of the PTIB project and Director of Bangladesh Computer Council, ICT Division underlined the government's proactive stance in supporting outstanding ideas aimed at fostering inclusivity and tolerance in the digital realm. He encouraged participants to continue submitting their unique ideas, thus enabling the transformation of their visions into reality and the successful initiation of their projects.

Robert Stoelman, Project Manager of the PTIB Project of UNDP Bangladesh, echoed the importance of the youth's contributions in achieving the vision for 2041, which is not only to create a smart Bangladesh but also an inclusive digital space. He noted, "It's refreshing to see so many young minds join forces and present unique ideas in the Digital Khichuri Challenge that will take us a step closer to reaching our goal."

The Digital Khichuri Challenge stands as a testament to the power of youth innovation, collaboration, and commitment to building a smarter, more inclusive Bangladesh.