The CSO Alliance made its debut through a virtual event on Tuesday
A new alliance has been formed to unite non-governmental organizations (NGO) and civil society groups in Bangladesh.
The alliance, named CSO Alliance, made its debut through a virtual event on Tuesday.
Leaders of over 500 NGOs and civil society organizations were present at the event chaired by Rasheda K Chowdhury, chairperson of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and former adviser to the caretaker government. The event was moderated by Brac’s Senior Director KAM Morshed.
Rashedul Islam, director general of the NGO Affairs Bureau, and eminent economist Prof Wahid Uddin Mahmud attended the event as special guests, said a press release.
Speakers during the event discussed the mission, objectives, and future steps of the newly formed platform. They also announced that Brac would serve as its secretariat for the first two years.
Chief guest Dr Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister, said: “NGOs have immense contributions to the development of Bangladesh. The citizen’s groups have been actively engaged in their role since the birth of Bangladesh.
“Formation of a greater platform by bringing the development organizations and civil society groups together is a positive initiative, indeed. An important task of this platform will be in-depth research to find solutions for hunger, poverty, and education. It will then help build successful advocacy,” he added.
He further said the new platform can play a very important role for Bangladesh to achieve the SDG 2030 targets.
“Bangladesh must be able to deal with these challenges more efficiently, while it advances towards graduating to a middle-income country. We should now reach the disadvantaged and deprived communities with services on a priority basis,” said Dr Rizvi.
Calling for everyone to be engaged in in tackling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, NGO Affairs Bureau Director General Md Rashadul Islam said collaboration is integral to meet development targets.
“The NGO Affairs Bureau will give all possible assistance in this regard,” he pledged.
“Creating a collaborative relationship with the government as well as forming a common platform for all the NGOs are exceedingly important tasks for ensuring inclusive development and establishing a progressive society. The services given by development organizations are a big strength for Bangladesh,” said eminent economist Prof Wahid Uddin Mahmud.
He further said the government has to act proactively to enable development organizations to operate with freedom, while maintaining accountability and commitment.
The organizers at the event said the NGOs have become a centre of learning for the development practitioners across the world due to their important role in the development of the socio-economic sectors of Bangladesh.
Despite the impressive achievements of the sector particularly in health, education, and women empowerment, effective coordination and representation remains a big challenge for the NGO sector especially in the last two decades, they added.
They observed that this problem was most seriously felt when the government, having formulated the “Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Law,” published it on the website of the NGO Affairs Bureau in January of 2012, and called for opinions.
The late Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, former Brac chairperson, took a special initiative in this regard and started consultations with many NGO leaders during his final days.
Inspired by his wishes and effort, Brac began the discussion anew in February this year and organized a series of meetings.
Among others, Aroma Dutta, MP, Dr Fahmida Khatun, executive director, CPD, Asif Saleh, executive director, Brac, Khusi Kabir, coordinator, Nijera Kori, Dr Maleka Banu, general secretary, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Shahin Anam, executive director, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Sharif Jamil, general secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Karavi Rakhsan, founder, Jaago Foundation, Farah Kabir, Bangladesh country director, Action Aid, Sanjib Drong, general secretary, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Shafiqul Islam, representative, INGO Forum, and Mansur Ahmed Chowdhury, managing director, Bangladesh Jatiya Protibondhi Kalyan Foundation, spoke at the event.