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Determined Nazma Establishes Her Rights


Nazma Khatun is a member of Adhikar group of 8 no ward of Khas Kaulia union of Chowhali upazila. She is also a Change Agent of the same ward. She took part in the training programmes organized for them and attended the Public Hearing Meetings, Community Score Card programmes. She learned from there about the services provided by the different service providing agencies. She also learned about the Right To Information Act (RTI). She is now aware about claiming her rights. She does this not only for herself but also helps her neighbors about getting services.

On last March 2013, a scheme for pregnant mother's health care came in the union. According to the project, the pregnant mother will get 400 taka for check up and taka 2450 during the delivery. Nazma helped 13 such mothers to get the money. On last February 2014, such a scheme came again. Nazma made a list of pregnant women, who are very poor and cannot bear the cost of checkups and delivery and gave the list to the family planning officer. But they did not do anything. Then Nazma, collected the RTI format and wanted to know about the amount of money that came for the pregnant mothers. The officer asked her to come after 2/3 days later. After 2/3 days when she visited the office again, they told her to bring the list and gave money to the poor mothers accordingly.

Once, the veterinary hospital of the area ran a vaccination programme for the birds. Nazma and nine other girls from the area worked hard for one month. They were supposed to get 200 taka per day for this job. But when the job was completed, they did not get the money. They go to the livestock office and come back after being refused every time. The responsible officer told them that they did not yet get money from the donor and they will let them know after receiving money. After being refused several times, Nazma went to the Union Parishad Chairman and told the whole story. Chairman told them that the livestock office has already received money from ADB. Nazma then contacted the livestock officer and demanded her money. The officer offered her to take 4000 taka and asked her not to tell anyone else. But Nazma refused. She told him to give money to all the girls who worked in the programme. Nazma then complained to the TNO. TNO immediately called the responsible officer and told him to give money. All the girls then received money according to the register. Nazma says "I'm happy that all the girls have received the money they deserved."

Alauddin struggles to bring justice, yet determined

Alauddin, a 59 years old farmer, lives in 2 no ward of Khas Pukuria union of Chowhali upazila. He is a member of Adhikar group of BDPC's SICoR project. After joining the group, he took part in the training and orientation programmes organized for them. He learned about the Right To information Act (RTI), Good Governance and volunteerism. He also learned about services provided by the different public service providing agencies.

Aware Alauddin tries to build awareness among his neighbors. He told them that receiving the services is their right, not the kindness of the service providers. His neighbors- Rafiq, Shorifon, Rowshon Ara, Johora also became aware of their rights.  One day, they came to know about the misconduct of the Chairman in distribution of VGD cards. Alauddin knew about the RTI act. He went to the Officer for Women Affairs and wanted to know the number of cards that were allocated for 2 no ward of Khas Pukuria union. After 19 days the officer informed him that 50 cards were allocated for that ward and gave him a list of the VGD card holders. From the list he found that 20 cards were allocated for the persons who were not from 2 no ward. He again went to the officer and wanted to know about the persons who got those cards. After 15 days the officer told him that only a few days are left in this year and chairman and members usually do this kind of jobs. The Officer also told that Aluddin will not be able to do anything to solve the problem. But Alauddin is not a person who will lose his courage. He complained about the matter to the UNO of Chowhali. The UNO called the Women Affairs officer immediately and wanted to know why they have distributed those cards that were not from the ward. But after that he did not take any actions to solve the problem. Even after the complaint, chairman once again gave materials to those card holders.

Alauddin said, "I did not get justice from the Chairman, Women Affairs officer and even from the UNO about the misconduct in the VGD card distribution. If 20 out of 50 cards are fake, I wonder how many cards are fake in the whole country!!!"

But Aluddin is confident. He will not rest until he gets justice. He has made a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner of the district. Alauddin seeks justice.

Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre started running the project ‘Service Improvement through Collective Response’, funded by Manusher Jonno Foundation, only a short time ago, yet the impact is already being seen. The project is based in Chowhali and focuses on improving the services provided by Government Institutions through empowering the people. BDPC has provided several orientations at ward level to the Adhikar Groups (2 groups in each ward consisting of 20 members in each group) regarding their rights on the services provided by the Government. Not only have the orientations built awareness but they have also helped the people to understand how to access government services and the initiatives that should be taken if they are deprived of their rights. One of the added advantages of the orientation programmes is the presence of officials from different sectors (health, education and agriculture) who help the beneficiaries understand their rights and motivate them to achieve them.

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“I couldn’t have achieved the gold medal without the support of the staff of the ‘Service Improvement through Collective Response project’ of Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre , funded by Manusher Jonno Foundation”, stated the Chairman of Koiarbil Union of  Kutubdia. He added that he made a promise during the election that he will work for the welfare of the citizen but didn’t know how until the members of BDPC-MJF team extended their hands to show him the way.” I am also enjoying my contribution for the society and the delight cannot be explained in words”, he said. He stressed on how the people of Koiarbil are happy with the development.

Kutubdia lies at the southern most end of the district of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. A beautiful island surrounded by the Bay of Bengal. Koiarbil is the smallest island of Kutubdia and Mr. Mohammad Azamgir is the elected chairman of this union, a man who works honestly with the intention of helping people.

When the Government of Bangladesh gave a circular for the 2012-2013 VGD card holders BDPC-MJF motivated him to conduct an election through participatory selection process. The proposal included the reformation of Union Parishad VGD Election Committee, conduction of meetings with the members of the committee, conduction of orientation, writing and distribution of letters among the respected members of the union, announcement in the area, making appeal form, decoration, ensuring sitting arrangement, selecting beneficiaries in the primary and final stage, making sure there is so corruption or recommendation in the process.

The chairman was impressed with the plan of participatory selection process and willingly started working on it. Within 7 days he completed his work with the help of the people and the committees and was highly praised.  People were impressed by his work. He not only conducted the election as it should be but also ensured the card holders get the services on time. As a result he was awarded with the “Shere-Bangla A.K Fazlul Huq Gold Medal” by the Asia Human Rights Foundation.

The chairman expressed his gratitude by saying that this has been inspiring and looks further to help the people of his union.

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