NGOs need to unite to keep up sustainable development
Non-governmental organisations must be united to continue sustainable development for Bangladesh's future, and ensure timely, quality services for the grassroots, speakers said at an online discussion yesterday.
Effective collaboration between the government and NGOs is also a prerequisite to sustain the fruits of development, they told the discussion, marking the 49th anniversary of Brac, said a press release.
Moderated by Brac Executive Director Asif Saleh, the topic of the discussion was "Bangladesh and Brac: Collaboration for Development".
Brac, one of the country's largest development organisations, celebrated its anniversary when Bangladesh is also marking the golden jubilee of its independence.
Founded in 1972, Brac innovated frugal and effective solutions in many fields, including socio-economic sectors, including education, health and nutrition, and microfinance and social enterprises, the release said.
Its graduation model to tackle extreme poverty through combined services of handing over assets for income generation, livelihood and life-skills training, and health and education is now implemented by many agencies and governments in 46 countries, it said.
In the last nearly five decades, Brac maintained the journey of liaison with the Bangladesh government and other partners to bring essential services and opportunities for self-development at the door of the marginalised and poorest people, it added.
Praising Brac for its role in empowering women and reducing gender discrimination, lawmaker in the reserved seat and Prip Trust Executive Director Aroma Dutta said, "Bangladesh today is the best example of women empowerment in the world. Certainly, there were government initiatives, but it is Brac that has brought the most remarkable changes at the field-level."
Speaking on Brac's role in achieving universal education in Bangladesh and its future strategy, Campaign for Popular Education (Campe) Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury said, "It's as though Brac, Bangladesh and Abed Bhai [Brac founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed] have become synonymous."
She said Brac was at the heart of non-formal education. Yet, Sir Fazle came up with the idea of forming Campe in the 1990s with the objective to "put pressure" on the government to focus on the development of the education sector.
"And it was a success. With the Campe's initiative, students going to NGO-run schools began to get government textbooks for free from 2009," she added.
Eminent researcher and senior journalist Afsan Chowdhury commended Brac for its collaboration with the government in implementing the national social development policies.
Brac is formulating its action strategies keeping in view the demands of the people of the country, he said.
In his remarks, Brac Chairperson Hossain Zillur Rahman focused on the organisation's strategy for poverty alleviation and better living standards.
"The greatest achievement of Brac and Abed Bhai is that they have consolidated the role and work of NGOs in Bangladesh, and by doing that, they inspired the grassroots people to become self-confident," he said.
"Focusing on the opinions of the marginalised people in formulating their action strategies and taking up own income generation initiatives instead of depending on donor assistance are the two other major achievements," he further said, adding that the latter idea is the genesis of social enterprises in the development sector.