Virus affects Bangladeshi youths in 6 ways: SANEM

The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling’s (SANEM) research finds ‘six transmission mechanisms’ through which the youth of the Bangladesh are being affected due to coronavirus pandemic.

Those are health, education, employment, income, poverty, and domestic violence. 

SANEM Executive Director Dr. Selim Raihan presented the research at a webinar jointly hosted with ActionAid Bangladesh on Saturday.

He also presented six recommendations for the way out.

Those include 1. Provide health coverage and engage the most vulnerable youth group in the health care packages to meet up their basic needs.

2. Inclusive education – Public-Private Partnerships to widen access to distance learning tools free of cost, expand the capacity of networks without demand surges. Education requiring robust social protection expansions.

3. Extend social safety net to include unemployed youths (social assistance, public employment programmes), create employment retention schemes, tax reliefs or interest-free loans to SMEs operated by youths.

4. Motivate and engage youth in skill development programmes (development of ICT sector, vocational training) to grab income sources.

5. Introduce the strategy to tracking the real poor and help them through proper channels like cash transfers, interest-free loans, debt relief.

6. Allocations to launch emergency helplines, finance relevant organiza tions to develop shelters and support services, train police on how to respond and protect victims considering social stigma around this issue.

ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir chaired the webinar titled Youth Perspective on Covid-19 Crisis in Bangladesh Response through National Budget and Planning.

She said one of the most important aspects of any crisis is the effect of the crisis on the youth.

 “In tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is important to take into consideration the issues of the youth. These issues have social and economic aspects as well as the mental health aspects,” she said.

She also stressed the requirement of national planning and targeted policy interventions to address the issues of the youth in the current context.

Around 65 participants including private sector representatives, development practitioners, teachers, and students took part at the webinar.

SANEM Research Director Dr. Sayema Haque Bidisha, Research Fellow Mahtab Uddin, Research Economist Zubayer Hossen, and ActionAid Bangladesh Manager-Young People Nazmul Ahsan took part in a panel discussion.