RiseUp! is a leadership program that combines participatory training, mentoring and practical leadership experiences for young women. It aims to build confidence and transformative leadership skills among women and young women. The goal also includes establishing a safe space and creating an intergenerational network of young women. The project is led by nine countries’ YWCA leaders.
Bangladesh YWCA has decided to implement the project goal by selecting four different locals associations with 200 young women in year one. In this community, young women are mostly marginalized and underprivileged. Among them creating a safe space is the main goal of Bangladesh YWCA. They strongly promote safe space for those four local YWCA’s and their 13 local YWCA.
As one of the nine implementing countries of the Rise Up! Phase IV Program, we see the creation and promotion of Safe Space as a priority of our movement, as well as for us, and our leadership program delivery. So with our program currently in implementation we have been using and promoting the safe space approach. With our program currently in implementation, we have been using and promoting the safe space approach that the World Office team taught us in our program, to hold and share space for women and young women in our YWCA.
With this method working well at the YWCA of Bangladesh, we recently modeled the approach through the Rise Up! Leads in our National Assembly to all 13 of our local YWCA’s.
In March 2022, Bangladesh YWCA started their first implementation year gradually. The leads already have done many activities in four different local branch along with their National YWCA. They went to the community and discovered that the majority of marginalized and disadvantaged young women in this community, including those living in rural areas, are fully excluded: they lack access to school, decent health care, and financial support.The family society, religion, and cultural system pressurize them into believing that they can’t be independent.
Through the YWCA of Bangladesh, the Rise Up! young women leads have conducted several safe space sessions in the four different local YWCA’s. Safe spaces is a fundamental approach of the Rise Up! Program as it is a necessary element that helps in fostering a space for young women leaders in the program to learn, co-create, co-lead and grow in their leadership. This is true when all the principles of the safe space approach are understood and practiced well.
” It is appreciable that we can promote safe space in our local youth group besides RiseUp!“YWCA Bangladesh Leader
“We are looking forward to create safe space in our local YWCA“YWCA Bangladesh Leader
“Safe space is a new concept to me. I am happy that we have the opportunity to create a safe space in our society. Because this is an innovative idea.“YWCA Bangladesh Leader
It was quite challenging to gather 50 young women in each local at a time. But as an achievement the Bangladesh YWCA RiseUP! team has promoted safe space in their National Assembly where 13 local YWCA were present. It was a successful activity where the leads conducted a session about RiseUp! and Safe Space. They also performed a choreography based on safe space. The choreography presentation inspired everyone and helped them to understand the message of safe space. After that some of the local YWCA invited the RiseUp! team to have a session on safe space, because they want to form a safe space group. The Bangladesh RiseUp! team is going to take a session on safe space to the proposed locals. The journey of implementation period is exciting and there is much to learn and experience.
“the act was nice and a clear message about actual Safe Space“YWCA Bangladesh Leader
“In our country we need this kind of activity where young women can express themself “YWCA Bangladesh Leader
Rise Up! Phase IV has only just begun. It is exciting continue to adopt tools and resources from the World YWCA and add creativity to disseminate information and inspire and encourage others in the movement to do the same. RiseUp! is a key part of World YWCA’s efforts to engage and mobilise girls, young women, and women towards Goal 2035. The Safe Space approach as a core practice of the Rise Up! Program, supports and provides the grounding for which young women who are engaged are able to self-discover, know their rights, be empowered, empower others and their communities.
Clara Sumi D’Costa, Youth Lead of RiseUP! She has been involved with YWCA of Bangladesh since 2010 as a youth member, worked as a volunteer and became convenor in the local YWCA. She was also a participant of ‘Communication for change’ by Kfuk-Kfum in 17/18.
Alice Sajjan, Youth Facilitator of RiseUP! She has been involved with YWCA of Bangladesh since 2012 as a youth member, worked as a volunteer and became convenor of the local YWCA. She was also a participant in ‘Communication for change’ by Kfuk-Kfum in 19/20.