Working in Cox’s Bazar: Local NGOs question UN’s fund allocation
Cox's Bazar Civil Society Organisations and NGO Forum (CCNF), a network of more than 50 local and national NGOs, yesterday termed the distribution of CERF (Central Emergency Response Funding) allocation as a pre-decided, top-down matter.
The leaders of CCNF criticised the role of Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) -- a coordinating body of UN and other aid agencies -- for "hardly giving access to local NGOs and local governments in Rohingya response management."
They made the remarks at a virtual press conference on recent distribution of Covid-19 CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund) in Rohingya response.
None of the Cox's Bazar-based NGOs received any fund and UN hardly followed the grand bargain commitment and the recently announced IASC (Inter Agency Standing Committee) guideline on localisation during Covid-19.
IASC is the highest UN body formed for a coordinated and principled humanitarian response.
Addressing the press conference, Abu Morshed Chowdhury, co-chair of CCNF alleged that UN and IASC has given the local NGOs little time and imposed a lot of conditions to submit project proposals, which barred the local NGOs from applying.
"But, upon discussing with the high officials of UN, it was already understood that it was already decided somewhere in top [management] who will get the fund," said Morshed.
He also said international NGOs should collect fund from their own origin country, instead of raising fund or compete with local NGOs in Bangladesh and Cox's Bazar.
Bimol Chandra Dey Sarker said local NGOs have very little participation in ISCG programmes due to linguistic and systematic barriers.
He said that CCNF was proposing proportionate funding from CERF for local, national and international NGOs since the beginning.
"UN have formed LTF (Localisation Task Force) and assigned CPJ (Centre for Peace and Justice) of BRAC University to formulate a road map on localisation. It has been almost two years but there is little result. International NGOs and UN agencies often questioned the capability of local NGOs, but now is the time to exchange or coordinate our capabilities. They should know that the local NGOs would not disband even if they don't get any funds and they will remain here as part of the local community," said Sheuly Sharma, executive director of Jago Nari Unnayan Shongstha.
Speaking there, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, one of the co-chairs of CCNF said Rohingyas and the host communities have the right to raise questions on how much aid is received for refugees. "The government should protect the interest of local NGOs, host community and the rohingya refugees by and ensuring transparency of fund and management," he said.