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Unleashing the Power of Advocacy: My Journey with CYGEN

By Tushar Kanti Baidya (he/him)

Hey there, fellow advocates! I'm Tushar Kanti Baidya, an LGBTIQ+ human rights activist hailing from the vibrant city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Today, I want to share with you a piece of my heart – my incredible journey with CYGEN (Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network), a family that goes beyond borders and breathes life into the fight for gender equality.

In 2019, I embarked on this transformative journey with CYGEN, and let me tell you, it has been nothing short of a rollercoaster of passion, growth, and advocacy. CYGEN, hosted by the prestigious Royal Commonwealth Society, stands out among youth networks. It's not just an organization; it's a family, a dynamic force that propels us towards a better Commonwealth.

Among the many highlights of my time with CYGEN, what struck me the most was the chance to closely follow patrons of the Royal Commonwealth Society who seamlessly connected with our advocacy work. One of these inspiring figures was none other than the Duchess of Edinburgh, she did not only ignite our fervor for gender equality but also demonstrated how compassion can be embedded into the fight for those most victimized by gender inequality.

As a youth worker representing Bangladesh, my key role at CYGEN was as the #Reform Campaign lead. Bangladesh became a focal point for this campaign as the government modified the child marriage restraint act, leading to dire consequences for thousands of girls. Forced into early marriages, these girls faced educational setbacks, malnutrition, domestic violence, and maternal death.

Through CYGEN, I was able to localize the pan-Commonwealth campaign, creating a massive impact among local youths, stakeholders, and government bodies. From digital campaigns to grassroots yard meetings, from ambassador interviews to op-eds in national dailies, the #Reform Campaign was a testament to the power of unified advocacy. It was my first experience implementing such a massive campaign in my town, providing me with the courage, skills, and confidence to continue championing gender equality on a global scale.

Now, if you're reading this and feeling that spark to make a difference, the good news is that CYGEN is actively recruiting new members! Don't miss out on this chance to explore the world of gender equality with a family that stands strong together. Simply fill out the form, and let's embark on this journey together!

You can become a member here --) Join CYGEN today – because the world needs more advocates, and that advocate could be you! #CYGENGeneration #Reform



The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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