THP-Bangladesh Secures Local Government Commitment to MDG Achievement
Update to the Global Board
The Hunger Project-Bangladesh launched an ambitious endeavor in 2012 with the development of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) unions. Building upon the established 80 priority unions from 2012, during this reporting period THP-Bangladesh successfully expanded to an additional 24 unions. Through formal memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the 24 new unions, THP-Bangladesh has launched a relationship with the communities to share the commitment to making local level impact toward the achievement of the MDGs. Local level government officials are now aware of the challenges as they set out to accomplish the MDGs and are receiving training from THP-Bangladesh to enable them to make plans to achieve their goals.
Presently, active in 134 unions across ten regions, THP-Bangladesh has been extremely active, both at the union level and nationally, in advocacy endeavors to end violence against women, child marriages and advocacy for women’s active political engagement.
- Community Mobilization. THP-Bangladesh successfully signed MOUs with all 24 identified expansion MDG unions; prioritized development of ward action teams; extensive citizen Vision, Commitment Action (VCA) workshops, animator trainings, and citizen workshops. In doing so, there have been 216 ward action teams established, extensive citizen Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs) and animator trainings. Newly created citizen workshops, in which citizens are made aware of their rights and duties as citizens, the result of which is often newfound pride in their country, have been implemented throughout Bangladesh.
- Strengthening Local Government. Learning from 2012, a priority over the past reporting period has been to provide technical and strategic guidance to the Union Parishads (UPs) in developing five-year plan books that will reflect the practical management processes of the UP interventions for better transparency, accountability and convenience of community service.
Other accomplishments have been observed in the significant increase in citizen participation throughout the reporting period due to increased THP-Bangladesh volunteer pressure on UPs to form and hold regular meetings of the Ward Shava (community councils).
- Women’s Empowerment. During this reporting period, over 1,800 courtyard meetings were held, engaging over 34,000 community members in the conversation of halting early marriages. Over 1,100 meetings, with nearly 25,000 community members, were held to discuss eliminating dowry.
- Youth Engagement. THP-Bangladesh has launched a pilot program called Change Makers, in partnership with the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council to give young participants the practical tools and opportunities for building professional skills. These skills and themes are then explored at a South Asian regional platform.
Furthermore, this year is the pilot phase of the Bangladesh Youth Parliament, a platform for policy dialogue, sharing knowledge on the democratic process, parliamentary debating and active citizenship to promote leadership and social responsibility among young people. Youth Ending Hunger (YEH) is responsible for the coordination, so far being launched in seven Upazilas (subdistricts) across seven districts of Bangladesh.
- Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Livelihoods. Coordination with the government Department of Cooperatives to extend support to grassroots savings groups has advanced, with the department offering government registration and an exact match of their savings amount. THP-Bangladesh has provided a list of 622 savings groups which are presently being screened with the registration of two savings groups having reached the final phase.
- Community Development for MDG-Focused Unions. This reporting period encompassed a major enrollment period in Bangladesh. Noticeable achievements were made in arranging community meetings and campaigns around enrollment, and preventing dropping out and regularizing students. Through local initiative, new activities are developing, such as English language clubs, installation of tube wells and planting over 70,000 trees.
- Advocacy and Alliances. Events during this reporting period concentrated on gender, with a national celebration of International Women’s Day, participation in the One Billion Rising event, and coordination among the National Girl Child Forum. In May, THP-Bangladesh actively participated alongside 25,000 others in a protest against Hefajat-e-Islam, the fundamentalist group that calls for curbing constitutional rights of women.
- Monitoring and Evaluation. THP-Bangladesh’s M&E team conducted a pilot baseline survey using GIS and mobile technology using the software iFormBuilder for the first time. This accomplishment will lay the groundwork for future goals to conduct baselines with the support of UNDEF.