Women Peace Café (WPC) is a university based innovative and pioneering initiative to engage young female students in promotion of peace and social cohesion at Begum Rokeya University Rangpur facilitated by Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University supported by UN Women. The Women Peace Café is female student led organization which was formally launched on 10th March 2019 under Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities Project with 162 female students who received a 3-day training on Peace, Social Cohesion and Women Entrepreneurship. Later, the WPC has been opened for all female students of the university including male students as volunteers or associated members. The WPC has already proved its leadership engaging youth in various innovative activities and events like peace adda, debate, drawing and photography competition, rally, seminar, training, workshop, discussion meeting, social media campaign among others.
CPJ studying in developed a module for a 3 day training on Entrepreneurship Skills for the female students of BRUR. Through an open call for application, female students of BRUR applied for this training and out of 400 applications, 200 students were selected for this training. However, a total of 155 students completed this 3day training organized in 5 batches during November and December 2018 at Brac Learning Centre in Rangpur. 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 with 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 BRUR proved to be a fantastic combination. The total 155 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 mentorship of trained faculty members. The platform also has been used to raise the voice of female students in the campus for a women friendly campus. The successful implementation of the whole training programme is the result of a strong coordination and mutual support of the two institutions, Dr. Wazed Research and Training Institute of BRUR 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.