Building National Alliance for International Poverty Alleviation Day
On the occasion of marking the International Poverty Alleviation Day on October 17, this year in 2009, ‘Daridro Birodhi Moncha’* (Anti Poverty platform of 16 Non Government Organizations and Civil Society Networks of Bangladesh) undertook a week long plan of different campaign activities from 12-18 October’09 to create louder voice and put pressure on the policy makers to take action on poverty and to meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The week long plan included events of campaign launching press conference, discussion meetings,human chain, mass gathering followed by discussion meeting and cultural performace on issue of poverty and state responsibility thereon.
In addition to the events organized by the platform, the individual organizations of the platform had also their separate activities based on various thematic issues as focused by the relevant organization. Accordingly, apart from representing in the platform, SUPRO had its own week long campaign activities across the country.
This year SUPRO’s campaign focused on Global warming, foreign debt and Poverty and Slogan for the campaign was- “No Excuse is acceptable, Government must keep its Promises”. However, SUPRO’s events included Seminar on Debt cancellation, Climate change and Poverty situation’ in 35 districts and in Dhaka, human chain, rally, rickshaw plate campaign, discussion meeting and cultural performance in observing international food day on 16 October in 12 districts and International day for alleviation of poverty on 17 October in 43 districts.
To ensure wide dissemination of SUPRO’s demands on poverty eradication, it produced several campaign materials, such as, poster, sticker and leaflet. It also sent a Position paper to some relevant Ministers including the Prime Minister.
Events of Daridro Birodhi Moncha (Anti Poverty Platform)
Press Conference: On 12 October 2009, the platform organized a press conference at the conference hall of Press Club in Dhaka to announce week long campaign activities. Along with the announcement of the various campaign events to be held throughout the week, the platform urged the government to take effective measures to reduce poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).They also sought that the government include the extremely poor population in the social safety net and ensure food and work for them.
The Press Conference drew a large attention of the media and the mass people as well. Some of the links of media coverage of the press conference are given below:
The Daily Star: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=109441
Prothom Alo: http://www.prothom-alo.com/detail/date/2009-10-13/news/11835,
Dainik Ittefaq: http://www.ittefaq.com/content/2009/10/13/news0082.htm,
The Financial Express: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2009/10/13/81459.html
Human Chain and Cultural performance: On 17 October, a human chain followed by discussion and cultural performance was held in central Shaheed Minar, Dhaka. Among others, Parliament Members, Fazle Hasan Badsha, Moin Uddin Khan Badal, Hasanul Haq Inu, Sanjida Khanom took part in the event.
Justice Golam Rabbani was present as one of the special guests and expressed his solidarity with the ongoing movement against poverty.
Mr. Salil Shetty, Director, UN Millennium Campaign attended the event and gave encouraging deliberation to the people gathered on the occasion.
Near about a thousand people gathered there and took part in the pledge of continuing struggle against poverty.
Media Coverage of the event:
The Independent- http://www.theindependent-bd.com/details.php?nid=146306
Mass Gathering followed by Discussion Meeting and Cultural Performance: Week long Anti Poverty Campaign of Daridro Birodhi Moncha (a platform of 16 Non Government Organizations and Civil Society Networks of Bangladesh) was concluded with a mass gathering event held on 18 October 2009 at Robindra Sorobor. The programme included discussion and cultural performance.
Also at the concluding event the organizers repeated their demands for adopting appropriate policy measures and proper implementation of the policies. They asked the government to bring their promises of ending poverty and establishing human rights and good governance.
They called upon the leaders of the developed countries to keep their promises of cancellation of debt, ensuring more aid to the poor counties, ensure trade justice, and ensure climate justice and gender equality.
The discussion meeting was moderated by Mr. Abdul Awal, Chairperson, SUPRO and the pledge for continuing movement against poverty was conducted by Uma Chowdhury-Director, SUPRO. Fazle Hasan Badsha, Honorable Member of Parliament and Selina Hossen, Prominent literateur were present as honorable guests and expressed their solidarity with the demands of the Daridro Birodhi Moncha.
Mohsin Ali, Executive Director-WAVE Foundation, Ratan Sarkar, Executive Director-INCIDIN Bangladesh, Mohammad Hilal Uddin, Executive Director- Angikar Bangladesh and Minar Pimple, Head of Asia Pacific Region of UN Millennium Campaign were present and delivered their speeches. In his speech, Minar Pimple emphasized on constant watch on the state measures and continuing pressure on the government to keep its promises.
Pledge for continuing efforts against poverty and inequality.
However, thousands of people gathered there and took part in the pledge for continuing efforts against poverty and inequality.
Apart from thematic songs, the programme was ended with Gombhira (Folk Music of Chapai Nawabgonj) performance where the artists focused on poverty situation and about the civil societies’ movements against poverty.
National and district level Seminar on Foreign Debt, Global Warming and Poverty Situation of Bangladesh
Seminar on Debt Cancellation, Climate Change and Poverty Situation: Seminar titled as Debt Cancellation, Climate Change and Poverty Situation was held in 35 districts and in Dhaka. Seminar at district levels was held during 13-15 October where Seminar at Dhaka was held on 14 October 2009.
By way of holding the seminars across the country, SUPRO tried to draw attention of the policy makers of both districts and Dhaka on specific demands that include cancellation of all foreign debts unconditionally, ensure adequate compensation from the countries which are liable for the global warming, ensure adequate employment facilities for the poor and vulnerable groups, increase subsidy in the agricultural sector and enhance agricultural production to ensure food security, ensure equitable use of available resources of the country.
Countrywide Food day Observation: Different campaign events like, Human Chain, Rally, Discussion Meeting and Cultural events
Food day Observation: Different campaign events like, Human Chain, Rally, Discussion Meeting and Cultural events was simultaneously held in 12 different districts where concerned district committee organized the events. In each of the events, among others, local political activists, government officials participated in the events. Pledge of struggle against poverty and ensuring food security was read out where hundreds of people took part.
However, the demands of the day included increase agricultural production by way of increasing subsidy in agriculture ensure rights of sharecroppers and bring them directly within the scope of subsidy, ensure suitable price for agricultural production, introduce effective rationing system for poor, landless and slum dwellers, ensure equal participation of all citizens in the process of production, implement Land Reform Ordinance 1984 to ensure equal and equitable distribution of the landed property of the country, ensure effective measures to protect agricultural land and stop commercial use if agricultural land.
Countrywide Poverty Eradication Day observation (discussion meeting, Stand up Take Action)
Poverty Alleviation Day Observation: As like as food day observation, Different campaign events like, Human Chain, Rally, Discussion Meeting and Cultural events was simultaneously held in 43 different districts where concerned district committee organized the events. In each of the events, among others, local political activists, government officials participated in the events. Pledge of struggle against poverty and ensuring food security was read out where thousands of people altogether took part.
The demands of the day included among others ensure adequate employment measures for poor and vulnerable groups of people enhance the social safety net programmes and ensure their effectiveness from rights point of view, create new employment opportunity by way of well planned industrialization, stop privatization of education, introduce one unified and employment based education system, run effective international advocacy to ensure cancellation of all foreign debts, and ensure adequate compensation from the developed countries which are liable for continuing global warming and climate change.
Media Collaboration: Print & Electronic Media
These campaign activities made it possible to get the people’s demands on ending poverty reached to the policy makers both in Dhaka and district levels;
Media as a whole have been made more sensitized on the poverty related issues because of above mentioned mass mobilization against poverty;
People of different class such as, student, farmer, youth, and citizens’ groups made aware on their basic human rights and state’s responsibilities thereon.
Daridro Birodhi Moncha: Ongikar Bangladesh, IDL Trust,INCIDIN Bangladesh,Youth Ending Hunger,Action Aid Bangladesh,Water Aid, WAVE Foundation, Governance Coalition,Jatio Nari Nirjaton Prothirodh forum, PFM,Prantik Manusher Songhoti, Bangladesh Unnayn Parished,VSO Bangladesh,Shakkhor,Sushashoner Jonny Procharavijan-SUPRO,Steps Towards Development.