Two of the three inexperienced organizations are nearly defunct
Three of five non-government organizations assigned to observe the national election in Khulna have been found to be lacking proper experience.
The five organizations are Anik Manobik Unnayan Sangstha (AMUS) of Digholia upazila, Development Education and Peace (DEP) of the Khulna metropolitan area, Khulna Mukti Seba Sangstha (KMSS), Rupantor, and Nabolok.
Of these, Rupantor, Nabolok, and KMSS are well-known, established NGOs, but AMUS and DEP are nearly defunct.
Rupantor’s main focal points are elections and women’s empowerment, while Nabolok deals with climate change and election observation.
KMSS’ primary concerns include microcredit, delivery, drug abuse, and AIDS-related issues. Its Executive Director Afroza Akhtar Monju was an election observer in 2014, but as an organization, this is the first time KMSS has been drafted.
DEP, lacking a current project, is inactive at the moment. Neither the organization, nor its executive director Unnoti Rani has ever been involved with election observation. However, Rani claimed to have observed the 2014 election at the verbal order of the district administration.
AMUS is barely functional at the moment, after having lost its microcredit department in 2010. Its executive director Nasrin Akhtar is currently working as a legal advisor for another organization, with only a sign board at her in laws’, the only remaining link to her former office.
AMUS’ former manager Mahmudul Hasan Liton is currently a volunteer.
When asked about AMUS, Nasrin Akhtar said “Our activities are currently lax as we lack a project. I traveled with the Department of Social Services during the 2014 election, and have appealed to be an observer this year. How will I gain experience without doing the work?”
DEP’s Unnoti Rani said: “Work is stagnant as we do not currently have a project, but our office is still functional and its important activities still running. Election observation will lift us to a new capacity.”
KMSS executive director Afroza Akhtar Monju said: “Our NGO is well-established as one of Khulna’s elite, and working as an election observer will help us move forward as an organization.”