Since July 2018, the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University (CPJ, BRACU) has been implementing a flagship programme titled ‘Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities’ with the support of UN Women at four universities in Dhaka, Mymensingh, and Rangpur. CPJ has successfully implemented four phases of this regional programme. Under the project, CPJ facilitated the establishment of four Peace Cafés as an innovative and pioneering initiative to promote peace and social cohesion. Peace Café nurtures and mentors female-student-led civic engagement and social entrepreneurship activities for peacebuilding and social cohesion.
CPJ has successfully implemented four phases of this regional programme through enhancing capacity of over 680 female students from more than 80 academic institutes in Bangladesh on social entrepreneurship and digital content creation for promoting peace and social cohesion. Under this project, CPJ has facilitated the establishment of four Women Peace Cafés (WPCs) as an innovative and pioneering initiative to promote peace and social cohesion through nurturing and mentoring female-student-led civic engagement and social entrepreneurship activities. The Women Peace Café members have been engaged in community services as well as positive content creation for promoting peace, social cohesion, diversity, plurality, inclusivity, tolerance and non-discrimination. They also envision preventing violent extremism, gender-based violence, harmful masculinity, abuse and bullying, hate speech, misinformation among others.
The Women Peace Café members were given 18 seed funds under ‘Women Peace Ambassadors Initiatives’ along with the mentorship and technical support to implement their innovative ideas. To date, approximately 15,000 stakeholders (university students, faculty members and adjacent communities members) have beenengaged in the promotion of peace and social cohesion through facilitating series of events like peace and tolerance ‘Adda’ (informal dialogue), debate, drawing and photography competition, rally, seminar, workshop, discussion meeting, social media campaign, cultural events among others. Nearly two million people have been reached organically through social media campaigns related to peace and social cohesion. The WPC activities were highlighted through 350 media coverages in various local and national dailies. CPJ has prepared a “Handbook on Women Peace Café Initiatives as Replicable Model” and produced knowledge products on the role of youth in promoting peace and social cohesion. There has been a growing interest among other university youth to replicate the Women Peace Café model into their university.
Till the end of March 2022, CPJ achieved the following key milestones under this project:
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