In 2014, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh remained committed to strengthening local government, promoting voter rights, empowering women’s leadership, halting child marriages and engaging youth to end hunger and bring about change.
The Hunger Project-Bangladesh expanded to include 61 additional unions through a new one-year partnership with BRAC. The partnerships seeks to strengthen Union Parishads—local governments—with transparent, accountable and inclusive governance at the local level in order to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Hunger Project-Bangladesh remained committed to this objective throughout the rest of their 110 unions, and has built an informed electorate through many Citizenship Workshops, “Citizens for Good Governance” (Shujan) campaigns and women and youth engagement. Such campaigns and awareness building led by animators at the union level have resulted in 276 child marriages halted, 106 safe deliveries, and 179 child dropouts re-enrolled in the first half of 2014 alone.
Here are some of The Hunger Project-Bangladesh’s other 2014 accomplishments:
The community mobilization program was at the core of The Hunger Project-Bangladesh’s work in 2014, through which community partners participate in Vision, Commitment, Action workshops, which empower communities through access to information on issues such as citizens’ rights, accountability, social movements and self-development.
Strengthening Local Government
As a result of effective campaign activities with minority groups, no pre- or post-election violence was reported against minorities in The Hunger Project-Bangladesh working areas for the first time ever. The Shujan program (“Citizens for Good Governance”) engaged citizens to promote voter rights, and educated participants on the electoral process with the objective of holding fair elections and restoring political stability. In the first half of 2014, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh arranged candidate meet-and-greets in which over 30,000 people participated. “Citizens for Good Governance” has also continued work on providing candidate backgrounds for every upazila in Bangladesh. They have published 6,460 candidate profiles on their website www.votebd.org.
Through involvement with the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF), The Hunger Project-Bangladesh is working with like-minded organizations to reform relevant laws and policies for women and girls. On June 22, NGCAF organized a round-table discussion on the Child Marriage Restraint Act draft, highlighting child marriages as one of the major obstructions to Bangladesh’s development. The State Minister of Women and Child Affairs was honored as the chief guest, and NGCAF proposed 11 recommendations for the new act. NGCAF has also initiated planning for 2014’s National Girl Child Day. Additionally, community-based activities in 1000 Days and Essential Nutrition Actions such as trainings and courtyard meetings have been very successful in educating partners on maternal care and nutrition and raising awareness. Involvement in Maternal and Child Health Councils has increased.
The Hunger Project-Bangladesh held a one-day event, “Active Citizens Regional Achievers Summit 2014” in Barisal with the theme of “Globally Connected, Locally Engaged” to showcase and share social action projects initiated by young activists in their communities. Around 1,000 young people attended, and a social action fair showcased the 48 best social action projects, such as a drug prevention initiative, a library, English language clubs and an Education Centre for Underprivileged Children. Through the showcasing of these successful initiatives, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh inspired other young people to take initiative in their areas.
Advocacy and Alliances
Under the theme “Equality for Women, Progress for All,” The Hunger Project-Bangladesh celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014. The event was celebrated jointly with National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF) and was observed in 354 locations across Bangladesh. Approximately 1,500 men, women and young girls and boys participated. Afterwards, The Hunger Project-Bangladesh hosted a panel discussion, featuring Country Director Badiul Alam Majumdar and Program Director Nasima (Joly) Akhter.