Message from the Coordinator :
As will be seen under the relevant head, Upokulio Unnayan Shahajogy, known in English as Coastal Development Partnership or CDP, has been the culmination of a gradual evolution from a simple meeting place and secretariat to a number of NGOs working towards a common goal to a strong force in the NGO sector, conducting Advocacy on various Environmental and Social issues as well as organising Networks and Citizens' Forums on such issues.
Concentrating its whole effort to maintain its balance, CDP had no time to think about producing an Annual Report for the whole of its activities, though project-based reports were furnished regularly to its development partners as a matter of course. Hence this first attempt for producing a comprehensive report of CDP's activities for the year 2000 must,of necessity, also accommodate other aspects of the organization, such as its history and evolution, the socio-economic and environmental background on which it has to operate, as well as the work of its partner NGOs in the spheres of its activity.
As a first attempt, it is also likely to contain many lapses of omission and commission, for which forbearance is sought from the readers.
I have also to acknowledge the valuable services rendered by Salim Akhtar Swapan, Sarwar Ahmed Kajal, and David Mistry, all valued members of CDP, for the sincere and untiring hard work they have spent in creating this First Annual Report. Safaet Manik and Md. Saidur Rahman Ripon have contributed valuable time and effort in computer composing. Special mention needs to be made of the services rendered by Anwar Firoze for contributing much of the material and appropriate language, as well as final editing of this humble offering.
Originally conceived as an Information Exchange and meeting place for NGOs working on the Advocacy programme of the water-logging problem in the South West Coastal Region of Bangladesh, CDP gradually took over the function of coordinating the Advocacy activities in the region on specific issues whenever they formed an informal Network. From there, it was only one step forward to forming its own Networks of NGOs on issues considered vital for the development of the region, and organising Citizens' Advocacy Forums on similar issues. Though primarily concerned with the South West Coastal Region, because of the impact of the waters of the Ganges and its lack in the region, CDP finds its field of activity extended over the entire Ganges Delta in Bangladesh.
1. Profile of the Organisation
1.1 Name : Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy
(Coastal Development Partnership -CDP)
1.2 Address : 64, Islampur Road, Khulna –9100 Bangladesh .
1.3 Telephone : 88 - 041 – 725772
Mobile : 017296455, 071840854
1.4 Legal Status : Registered vide No. KHULNA/54 under The Societies
1.5 Contact Person : Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu
Designation : Coordinator .
1.6 Field of Activity : Advocacy, Grassroots Mobilization, Organizing Citizens'
Forum, Capacity Building of NGO's in the Southwest
Coastal Region and Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh.
Local Resource Management.
1.7 Funding Sources : Uttaran, ALRD, Sushilan, Bhumija, PROSHIKA,
(Till date) The PRIP TRUST, Grameen Trust and other local
2. The Evolution of CDP :
The history of CDP is the history of Advocacy by NGOs in the South West Coastal Region of Bangladesh. In analyzing the evolution of Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy, known in English as Coastal Development Partnership or CDP, one has to go back to the environmental disasters that have ravaged the Southwestern Coastal Region of Bangladesh and the causes behind them.
The Southwestern Coastal Region of Bangladesh, comprising the districts of Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat and the Southern portion of Jessore district, is mainly low-lying land, being only about mean sea level and lower than high tide level, with human habitations built on land raised by means of digging ponds and ditches. Homesteads and orchards have been established on such raised land.
Before human intervention took place in the natural water regime of
this region, tide water used to submerge the low lying land twice a day,
surging up through the numerous estuaries, rivers, canals and creeks. To
the south of the region, between human habitation and the Bay of Bengal,
lay the Sunderban Reserve Forest (SRF), the largest block of mangrove eco-system
that exists in the world today. The forest detritus that amounts to a staggering
3.5 million tons a year, falls into the water and is carried to the flood
plains to the north of the forest. The detritus decomposes in the water
and becomes nutritious organic food for all forms of aquatic life, as well
as excellent organic fertilizer for the land on which it was usually deposited
when the tides recede.
During the monsoon, when the rain water washes out the salinity brought by the ocean tides, the farmers used to build low earthen dikes and temporary wooden sluices around this low land to keep out the tides and to drain out the surplus rain water, and then cultivate local varieties of flood tolerant and salinity tolerant rice. After the harvest, the dikes and sluices were dismantled and the tides had free play in the flood plains. The abundance of organic flood in the water attracted innumerable varieties of fishes and other aquatic animals, which provided the poor farmers with a supplementary source of income and nutrition during the dry months of the year. The Sunderban mangrove eco-system also flourished in a delicate balance of saline and fresh water.
But in the decade of the 1960's, propelled by the need to produce more food-grains for the fast growing population and encouraged by the advent of the world-wide Green Revolution heralded by the development of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of rice, the then government of East Pakistan designed the Coastal Embankment Project (CEP), enclosing all the tidal flood plains into 37 polders by means of 1566 kilometres of high embankments with 282 sluices to drain out the surplus rain water in the Khulna region alone. The project also included closure of several rivers and canals.
But the designers of the project did not take into consideration the high sensitivity of the water regime of this flat delta land built of loose sedimentary soil. The tides, carrying heavy amounts of silt, were denied entry into the flood plains; as a result the silt began to be deposited on the river beds when the flow came to a stand-still at high tide. Gradually, the river beds rose above the level of the land inside the polders and the mouths of the sluice gates were blocked off. Water-logging that first appeared in the early 1980's finally became a chronic problem for the inhabitants of the entire Southwestern region. It rotted off vegetation, flooded homesteads, schools and village roads, and polluted all sources of water for domestic use. All agricultural activities came to a stand-still, with hundreds of thousands of people thrown into poverty and misery. Pollution of all water increased the spread of water-borne diseases and the women and children suffered from diarrhea, skin diseases and malnutrition. The shrinking of the tidal prism also caused the tides to go further inland, thus spreading salinity to new areas.
The leading role of the regional NGO, UTTARAN in this respect has been
noteworthy. It was Uttaran, under the dedicated leadership of its Executive
Director, Shahidul Islam, that inspired and motivated the other NGOs working
at grassroots level in the region, to work with the people and learn from
Peoples' Experience. Uttaran also motivated and inspired the affected people
to come forward and express their experiences and opinions. Uttaran, in
fact, has been the pioneer in Advocacy work in this region. Uttaran and
the other NGOs then drew the support of ADAB, the apex organization of
NGOs into the Advocacy movement, and ADAB naturally supported the NGOs
and the people. It was then that need was felt for the establishment of
an organization to act as a Secretariat and Resource Centre for all NGOs
working in the region on Environmental and related problems of the region.
Thus was born the Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy, known in English as Coastal
Development Partnership or CDP, to build up the capacity of NGOs by providing
them with training and information, organizing a Citizens' Forum, provide
the media with information and to conduct Advocacy at local, national and
All kinds of financial and other support for the functioning of CDP was extended by Uttaran, Bhumija, Sushilan and PROSHIKA during the initial years of its existence. Later, other organizations such as ALRD and Nijera Kori also commenced mutual relationship with CDP and gave support for many of CDP's activities. The Grameen Trust commissioned CDP for a research project on a local resource management. The PRIP TRUST has started giving financial assistance to CDP for Capacity Building of NGOs on Options for the Ganges Flood Plain Area and Coordinated Citizens' Forum to fight against Fundamentalism..
VISION : To develop an Environment-friendlyu Society innocent
of any discrimination
on the basis of race, class or gender whatsoever.
MISSION : The Mission of CDP shall be to assist other NGOs and
Citizens' Forums to
build up their capacities, which will in turn help them to enhance the
capability of the under-developed classes of Society, by means of which th they will be enabled to achieve Social Justice through Environmental and
? To organise Alliances and Networks with partner NGOs to develop an
development perspective to advance development activities.
? To organise issue-based Citizens' Forums.
? To provide necessary information in respect of Environment, Local Resources and Social, Land-related and Gender issues to NGOs, Networks, Alliances, Citizens' Forums and other decision-making and influential sections of Society.
? To assist and coordinate Social Movements.
? To assista and coordinate Landf Reform Programmes.
? To help establish Human Rights and Social Justice by means of Social Movements.
? To play an active role in ensuring the partici[pation of local people in making decisions in respect of forming local governments.
? To conduct Advocacy in respect of ensuring the rights of under-privileged sections of the Society.
Activities Conducted by the CDP :
The activities conducted by the Upokulio Unnayan Shahojogy (Coastal
Development Partnership - CDP) include :-
? Identification of Environmental, social, economic, governance and/or Human Rights related social and other issues;
? Development of a Resource Centre consisting of Books and other resource materials in respect of the region, environment, and socio-economic development that can benefit development workers, students, and researchers, as well as arrangements to collect newspaper clippings from daily newspapers and compile them into issue-based files.
? Develop Coalition(s) or Network(s) of NGOs working in the region to work towards a common goal;
? Capacity building of NGOs by providing necessary training for their personnel;
? Supply of information to the mass media as an Advocacy Tool;
? Assist the NGOs in mobilizing people at Grassroots level;
? Play the role of a Secretariat for any coalition or Network to be formed;
? Publish books, booklets, bulletins, newsletters, leaflets and posters as well as issue-based articles in newspapers and periodicals as Advocacy Tools;
? Conduct Advocacy in respect of identified issues at local, national and if necessary international levels;
? Forming a Forum for promoting Sustainable Agriculture.
? Identification of Local Resources.
? Form Coordinated Citizens' Forum on various issues.
4. Issues :
The issues on which CDP has played/is playing an active role include :-
? Water-logging in the Coastal Embankment Project areas;
? Movement of the land-less for Khas land in Satkhira district;
? The Sunderbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP);
? Environmental Degradation and Socio-economic upheaval caused by Shrimp Cultivation;
? Development of Sustainable Agriculture.
? Local Resource Management.
? Appropriate Participatory Development of the Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh.
5. Experience in Issue-Based Advocacy
The CDP's experience in conducting Advocacy include :-
? Advocacy for revision of the Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project(KJDRP) for eradication of Water-logging in the Coastal Embankment Project Areas.
? Advocacy in respect of Land Reform and Settlement of the land-less in State-owned Khas lands, especially in respect of the land-less in Debhata-Kaliganj of Satkhira district.
? Anti-shrimp Advocacy with the Coalition of NGOs and Citizens, in cooperation with
? Advocacy for preservation of Environment in the Southwest Coastal Region.
? Advocacy in respect of the Sunderbans Bio-diversity Conservation Project (SBCP);
5.1 Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) :
The Coastal Embankment Project (CEP) implemented in the 1960's had initially proved beneficial, by enabling the farmers to produce multiple crops instead of a single crop. But within a decade and a half, the problem of water-logging began. Gradually extending in ever widening circles, the water-logging encompassed over 106,000 hectares by 1990, and continued to expand..
The Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) devised one project after
another in succession to deal with the problem, such as CERP - I, CERP
- II and finally came up with the Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation
Project, known by its acronym KJDRP, whish contained components like strengthening
the embankments, closure of some rivers and construction of huge regulators.
The people and NGOs who had realized that restoration of tidal action alone could repair the damage by depositing silt on the water-logged areas and raising them, rejected all the proposals of the BWDB one after another. The water-logging, in the meantime, had caused quite a lot of suffering for the people. Hundreds of thousands were rendered unemployed, which compelled male heads of families to migrate to urban centres in search of employment, leaving thousands of destitute female-headed families. Diarrhea, skin diseases, malnutrition, and overall poverty gave rise to social crimes such as molestation of women, trafficking of women and children and many other evils.
Uttaran and other NGOs under its leadership were working with the people to alleviate their sufferings and to find out ways and means to combat the water-logging under the umbrella of ADAB, and CDP was gradually drawn into the work of coordinating the activities of the NGOs in this respect. The people and the NGOs under the leadership of Uttaran had become convinced that only the Tidal River Management (TRM) concept could be a viable alternative to the proposals of the BWDB, and continued conducting advocacy for the same. Influenced by the Advocacy campaign, the funding agency for the KJDRP, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) invited ADAB to send a couple of representatives to the meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bank to be held at Geneva, Switzerland, from April 28 to May 3, 1998, as observers.
Accordingly, two representatives of ADAB, including Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu,
Coordinator of CDP, visited Geneva and attended the meeting of the Board
of Governors of the Asian Development Bank. They met with the Board members
and discussed the matters with them as well as with the representatives
of attending countries. They also distributed literature prepared by the
NGOs in respect of the TRM concept.
This kind of Advocacy and lobbying, combined with the media campaign and peoples' protests finally convinced the ADB which suspended funding for the project pending revision of the project by including the TRM concept. Later the TRM concept was included as a component of the project, though on a pilot scale on trial basis.
5.2 Movement of the Landless in Satkhira :
Thousand of land-less families had been living in nine villages straddling the two upazilas of Debhata and Kaliganj in Satkhira district for years. The land belonged to the government, and the land-less households were taking lease of more or less one acre of land per family from the district administration in Satkhira. Though the land-less were entitled to settlement on government-owned agricultural "khas" land, the local officials, instead of giving permanent settlement, gave only one-year leases to the land-less, which had to be renewed every year, which was in the interest of the officials.
A group of rich profit-seekers, who used to enjoy the same lands illegally prior to the occupation by the land-less, managed to corrupt the local officials and the lands declared as "Jalmahal"(water-bodies, which can be leased out en-bloc, instead of one-acre plots), and obtained lease of the same for cultivation of shrimps.
On May 10, 1998, the armed mercenaries hired by the new lease-holders attacked the villages of the land-less in order to evict them, demolished hundreds of dwellings, damaged and plundered their valuables and assaulted men, women and children indiscriminately.
When news of this outrage was published in the local and national dailies, concerned citizens were enraged and the NGOs took up the interest of the land-less. Uttaran took a leading role in motivating the NGOs to provide relief for the sufferers, arrange treatment for them, and help them rebuild their damaged homes Uttaran also continued to carry on advocacy campaigns in their interest. Along with ADAB, CDP helped coordinate the activities of the NGOs, and also managed to organize a Support Group of prominent citizens in Khulna for the land-less of Satkhira. But again on July 27, 1998, another outrage was committed on the land-less. The police fired on a peaceful protest march of the land-less in village Baburabad. Land-less housewife and mother of five Jaheda was killed on the spot, and two infants were drowned in the ensuing stampede. Over a hundred were injured, more than half of them women. As the new lessees of the "Jalmahals" had filed false criminal cases against most of the males, the latter were in hiding, and that was why the procession contained more women and children than men.
Uttaran again led the NGOs and assisted CDP to coordinate the activities
of NGOs to provide treatment and to continue the advocacy campaign, which
finally resulted in the visit to the area by the prime minister. Prime
minister Sheikh Hasina, at a mass rally organized at Debhata assured the
land-less that they would be settled on government khas land in accordance
with the government principles and that compensation would be paid to the
victims of police firing.
5.3 Advocacy in respect of Environmentally Destructive Shrimp Culture :
Encouraged by ever increasing demand for frozen shrimps in the international market, shrimp cultivation expanded fast in the South West Coastal Region of Bangladesh during the decade of the 1980's, which was assisted by the stoppage of agriculture as a result of water-logging. But in spite of the growing importance of the sector, both in its positive and negative aspects, the government has not as yet decided upon any viable policy for the industry. As a result of the government's indecision and the wealth and influence of the shrimp farmers, all environmental and social norms are being freely violated for the sake of quick profit.
It was in this situation that ther affected farmers and farm labourers started various local movements against indiscriminate shrimp cultivation which caused massive damage to the environment and large scale unemployment, resulting in extensive impoverishment of the people. Some of these movements caused loss of life.
Realising the justice of the movements, CDP engagded itself in the task of developing NGO alliances to address the problem, by coordinating local movements, by strengthening tghe alliances by means of gathering the support of international organizations conducting movenments against similar activities, by helping to keep alive the memory of Karunamoyee Sardar who sacrificed her life in the course of the anti-shrimp movement by means of active support to the Karunamoyee Sardar Memorial Committee and to conduct Advocacy for a viable and effective environment-friendly shrimp policy and its strict implementation.
5.4 Citizens' Initiative for Conservation of Bio-diversity in the Sundarban Reserve Forest :
The Sundarban forest straddling the border between Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal, has an area of 10,000 square kilometers, which makes it the largest block of mangrove eco-system in the world. Of this, 6017 square kilometers or about 60% lies within Bangladesh. It is home to 330 species of plants, 270 species of birds and 42 species of mammals and diverse species of reptiles. Its network of rivers and estuaries have been identified as one of the richest fish nurseries of South-east Asia. With over 3.5 million people from the surrounding areas depending, directly or indirectly, on the forest for their livelihoods, the Sundarbans has been reduced to half of what it was even 150 years ago. The water-logging, salinity and shrimp cultivation in the immediate vicinity of the Sundarbans have made the inhabitants of those areas increasingly dependent on the resources of the forest, resulting in over-exploitation and threatening the sustainability of the forest.
On the other hand, in addition to the resource potential that it possesses, the Sunderban is a buffer against the ravages of cyclones and tidal surge and also produces over 3.5 million tons of detritus which, falling into the water, decomposes into nutritious organic food for all aquatic life, and when deposited on land, becomes fertilizer.
Concerned citizens have, therefore, been very much concerned for the preservation of the bio-diversity of the Sunderbans. Accordingly, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest of the government of Bangladesh proposed to implement the Sunderban Bio-diversity Conservation Project(SBCP) with project assistance from the Asian Development Bank and other donors, concerned citizens were able to feel some relief. But the concern still remains, because of the fact that the management of the forest will still remain in the hands of the Forest Department which had so long allowed it to deteriorate.
Accordingly, at a meeting attended by environmental and development activists, journalists, peoples' representatives, local professional people and businessmen, on June 2, 1998, a Citizens' Forum for monitoring Sunderban Bio-diversity Conservation Project was formed for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the project as well as enhance the awareness of the people regarding the subject with Ms. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator of Nijera Kori as Chief Adviser.
Environmental and Development activist and Executive Director of Uttaran Md. Shahidul Islam was elected as Chairperson, while the then secretary of Khulna District Bar Association, Advocate Firoz Ahmed, then secretary of Khulna Press Club Manik Saha, central vice-president of Bangladesh Medical Association Dr. Baharul Alam and development activist Mustafa Nuruzzaman were chosen as members of the 51-member Citizens' Committee with environmental activist and coordinator of CDP Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu as its member-secretary. Later, several discussion meetings were held in the Impact zone in the districts of Bagerhat and Satkhira, as well as a workshop in Khulna. The .committee also arranged several publications and formulated a set of recommendations in accordance with the opinions of the people.
6. Experience in organizing & managing Networks :
In order to achieve its declared objectives in the fields of Environment, Land Reform and Good Governance, CDP has formed several Networks of NGOs to give its Advocacy programs a firm footing, and they include :-
? Network of NGOs for Land Reform and setting of the land-less on Khas land;
? PADMA Network of NGOs in the Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh;
? Citizens' Initiative for combating Fundamentalism.
? Sustainable Agriculture Forum (SAF).
? Citizens' Initiative for Monitoring Sunderbans Bio-diversity Conservation.
? Shaheed Karunamoyee Memorial Committee.
6.1 NGO Network for land Reform with ALRD :
Bangladesh is small country with a large population. As such, the pressure on land is very intense. A large proportion of the population is land-less. According to the accepted definition, a land-less household is one with less than half an acre of land. But even with a maximum of 0.50 acre of land, a land-less family cannot survive without outside employment. The more fortunate among them, possessing cattle and agricultural implements, are share-croppers on agricultural land belonging to big land-owners. But those who are less fortunate have to depend on wage labour. When employment opportunities shrink, many such families migrate to urban centres where they live in rented shacks in slums. According to government policy, land-less families can be settled on agricultural land belonging to the State, which are known as khas lands. But the major portion of the khas lands are under illegal occupation of powerful and influential groups who hold on to such illegal possession by means of various subterfuges.
The Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) is a national organization that identifies khas lands in the possession of people who do not deserve such lands according to State policy, and takes the necessary steps to have those lands allotted to the land-less people.
Accordingly, at the initiative of the ALRD, CDP has formed a Network of NGOs in this region to assist the ALRD to identify such lands and monitor the distribution of khas lands among the land-less, so that only the absolute land-less do obtain possession of those lands.
6.2 PADMA Network with The PRIP TRUST .
The reduction of flow of fresh water from the Ganges had been the most important factor that has caused and is still causing massive damage to the environment and upheaval in the socio-economic fabric of the Ganges Delta region which forms the major portion of the Ganges Dependent Area(GDA) of Bangladesh.
Now that a long-term treaty for the sharing of Ganges waters has been signed between India and Bangladesh, the emphasis now should be in identifying how the parameters of planning for water development infrastructure in the GDA would change, particularly in the coastal regions, if large quantities of fresh water were made available during the dry season. This requires a very different approach, particularly with regard to peoples' participation in order to ascertain how people believe the environment would respond to increased flows and how they could make use of the additional water if it will be available.
Experience has shown that the participation of the people is essential for the implementation of any effective and eco-friendly project. The NGOs work for the development of the people. Quite recently, the NGOs had successfully conducted Advocacy demanding the revision of the Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project to make it environment-friendly. As such, when the government has taken steps to prepare projects for the development of the water resources in the Ganges Dependent Area, the NGOs are naturally interested about the environmental and social impacts of the projects.
The responsibility of the NGOs is to furnish information to the people about the whole process, to create awareness among them and to enable them to actively participate in the preparation of the projects and their implementation and to conduct advocacy for the same. If we consider the advocacy programs of the past, we find that there is need for an alternative parallel organization for :-
? Collecting relevant data and information;
? Review of the collected information/data,
? Dissemination of information among the people;
? Compilation of the peoples' experience and opinions; and
? Conduct Advocacy on that basis, from the very inception of any such project. Without such a forum, it would not be possible to conduct a well-coordinated advocacy program on behalf of the people.
It was in the light of that experience that the formation of a NGO Network was conceived.
The PADMA Network has been organized with the following structure :
? CDP will work as the Secretariat of the Network;
? Member NGOs of Khulna, Jessore and Kushtia chapters of ADAB will be selected as members of the Network; and
? CDP will finalise selection of member NGOs.
Accordingly, 28 NGOs were selected as members of the Network.
The objectives of the Network have been spelled out as :
? Ensure Peoples' participation in the proposed project;
? Create awareness among the people in respect of the proposed project;
? Assist in the participation of environmental experts in the project.
? Review the on-going projects in the region on an over-all perspective.
6.3 Coordinated Citizens' Initiative to Combat Fundamentalism :
The South Asian sub-continent was divided into two sovereign nations, India and Pakistan, when the colonial rulers withdrew in 1947. Our present Bangladesh became part of Pakistan, a nation created on the basis of the communalist ideology of the two-nation theory. The elements in power in Pakistan followed a policy of oppression and exploitation of the people of Bangladesh. But the people of the then East Pakistan were always active in organizing and conducting movements for the realization of their just demands, such as the Language Movement of 1952, the movement of the share-croppers known a the "Tebhaga" movement, the anti-despotism movement for the realization of democracy, and finally the liberation war of 1971 in which all sections of the population participated. Ultimately, the sovereign independent State of Bangladesh was realised after the martyrdom of 3 million people and over two lac women had lost their honour.
In the Constitution adopted in 1972, the basic policies of the nation were spelt out in four words - Democracy, Nationalism, Secularism and Socialism, which reflected the hopes and aspirations of all who were directly or indirectly involved in the war of liberation. A rare opportunity was created by the nationalization of industries and the importance given to the public sector. But the evils of corruption, plundering of national resources, created obstacles on the way of achieving the national objectives, and the hopes and aspirations of the people began to undergo a gradual devaluation. The basic pre-condition for development was Land Reform, which was neglected, resulting in the continuation of the pre-liberation socio-economic power structure in the rural areas. The absence of administrative reforms helped the previous system of bureaucratic domination to remain intact, resulting in obstacles to the implementation of State policies. The initiatives of the citizens towards nation building drifted away from the basic State Policies and the gulf between the government and the people began to widen.
As a result of all this, we are still imprisoned in the clutches of poverty and our march towards true democracy has remained halted. Good governance has not been established even after 29 years of independent existence; equitable division of resources has not been achieved, and the number of millionaires has multiplied. The influence of black money is predominant in the nation’s politics. The destructive activities of the fundamentalists and the anti people policies of reactionary political forces have created obstacles in realizing the spirit of the liberation war, and the basic policy statements have remained ineffective.
But though the mainstream political parties have failed to take appropriate
steps, the people have demonstrated unprecedented enterprise and unity.
During the floods of 1988 and 1998, it was not only the government that
took necessary steps to relieve the sufferings of the people and to defend
and strengthen flood prevention structures like the voluntary efforts of
the people to save the DND embankment, provide food and other relief to
the flood affected. People in all walks of life have voluntarily come together
in such national and regional emergencies, like the Beel Dakatia Action
Committee, the ‘Beel Bachao” movement, Hamkura River Re-excavation Movement,
The Satkhira Land-less movement, Citizens' Forum for combating fundamentalism,
Shaheed Karunamoyee Memorial Committee, etc, most of which have achieved
their objectives. But at present, the most important need for the citizens
is to combat the evils of religious obscurantism and fundamentalism, which
are directly opposed to the basic objectives of the war of liberation.
Thus it became apparent that there is a need to create an organization
that will be the mouth-piece of the freedom fighters and the citizens motivated
by the Spirit of the War of Liberation, and to develop itself into a strong
and effective social force to combat the evils of fundamentalism and religious
The objectives of the Citizens' Forum will be to :
* Develop a strong civic force by combining all like-minded NGOs, civic organizations, peoples’ action committees, freedom fighters, clubs, libraries and other organizations into a coordinated power;
* To revitalise the various civic organizations with the basic principles of the Constitution;
* Develop a Regional Resource Centre containing all available data and information about the liberation war.
* To generate respect for freedom fighters among the general population;
* To motivate NGOs to prepare action plans for the development of freedom fighters;
? To conduct continuous Advocacy with the policy—making powers against fundamentalism and obscurantism.
Towards achieving the above objectives, the following activities have
been outlined :-
* To maintain regular liaison with like-minded NGOs. Peoples’ Action Committees, Freedom Fighters, Clubs, Libraries, Professional organizations, etc.;
* Develop organised regional bodies on the basis of administrative thanas, regions etc,
* Conduct Research on the liberation war and prepare lists of actual Freedom Fighters and those who were martyred during the liberation war;
* To publish books/booklets on local histories of the Liberation war;
* To work towards acceptance of Freedom Fighters as respected and honoured members of Society;
? Conduct Advocacy against Fundamentalism, Communalism and Religious Obscurantism.
The Coordinated Citizens’ Initiative to combat Fundamentalism is assisted by The PRIP TRUST.
7. Brief description of Programs and Activities.
7.1. Social Development & Mobilization Program(SDMP).
CDP has undertaken Social Development
Mobilization program with the purpose of developing the Human Potential of the region by means of education, training and Credit.
Initially, Khulna City and Batiaghata Upazila have been selected as the target areas for the program. Under the program, CDP has established 5 Adult Literacy Centres and 5 NFPE Centres in Khulna City and Birat under Batiaghata upazila, since the year 2000. Other organizational work such as Group Formation, Human Resource Development, Training by means of Functional Education, Skill Development Training etc, are going on. So far, after completion of Skill Development Training, 25 persons have been provided with Micro-Credit. This program is being conducted under the umbrella of the SANJOG Network. Funded by PROSHIKA, UTTARAN is the lead organization in the SANJOG Network. CDP took the initiative to organise and coordinate the activities of the Network.
Description of working areas :
District Upozila Union/Ward Group No. Savings amount Credit Status
Khulna Khulna Sadar
Tk.17,861.00/- Tk. 31,160.00/-
Khulna Batiaghata No. 6, Baliadanga 1(one) Tk. 490.00/- Nil.
Description of workers :
Description Female Male Total
Number of FOs 2 1 3
Number of Supervisor 1 - 1
7.2. Resource Centre & Documentation
Under this program, CDP has established, within its limited means, a
small library consisting of books and journals on various aspects of development.
The library continues to grow, though at a very slow pace. We hope to develop
it to the extent that it will be a valuable resource centre for researchers,
scholars, students, development activists, environmentalists and others.
CDP also subscribes to a number of local and national dailies and periodicals. News items, articles, reports etc. relating to environmental, social, economic, governance and other developmental issues are clipped and pasted, and then compiled into issue-based files. Such issue-based files are available for the last few years at the CDP office. Various people utilize the services of CDP by consulting such files. Copies of such files are supplied at cost.
7.3. Publications During The Year 2000.
1) Upakul Barta : (2 issues during 2000).
This is a bulletin the publication of which is inspired and financed by Uttaran. It contains detailed research-based information about the environmental disasters caused by the wrong policies adopted in respect of water resource management during the 1960's. Even now, failing to learn the lessons taught by Nature's revenge, the authorities concerned points out the possible negative impacts that may result, and advocates sounder policies for water management in the region.
2) Padma Bulletin: (2 issues during 2000).
Research-based Reports and Articles are published in this bulletin in respect of the Environment, River Management and Development of the Ganges Dependent Area of Bangladesh, comprising the entire Ganges Delta in this country. This is distributed through the workers of various NGOs working on the above mentioned issues in the region. This bulletin provides information which is very valuable for development workers in the Ganges region.
3) Udyog : (2 issues during 2000).
This is the mouthpiece of Coordinated Citizen's Initiative to keep alive the Spirit of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Coordinated Citizens' Initiative is a Forum dedicated to address the issues of Fundamentalism, Fatwa Culture, Terrorism, Smuggling, Women and Children's Trafficking, Abuse of women and other social evils prevalent in the Society. The bulletin publishes reports on various activities conducted by the Forum, and is distributed through the workers of like-minded organizations. The Forum seeks to arouse Consciousness among the general public through its activities, and this bulletin is one of the Advocacy Tools used by the Coordinated Citizens' Initiative.
4) Khas Jomir Lorai :(Struggle for Land)
This is a publication on behalf of the Movement of the Land-less in the Southwest Coastal Region of Bangladesh to ensure their right to be settled on State-owned agricultural land. Though there is vast area of State-owned lands in this region, they are mostly under the occupation of powerful local elites who maintain their hold on such lands by means of loopholes in the law or by outright illegal means. The association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) is an association of NGOs devoted to ensuring the rights of the land-less. CDP is a partner of ALRD in this work, and the bulletin is published with financial assistance from ALRD. This bulletin is published in Bangla.
5)Articles published in Newspapers & Periodicals :
Various members and personnel of CDP have published articles in local and national newspapers and periodicals in respect of various issues being addressed by CDP and other social development organizations. A list of such articles published during 2000 is given below.
Date of Publication Name of Newspaper or Periodical Title of Article
/Report Name of writer
22-03-2000 Daily Independent Development of Greater Greater Khulna-Expansion of Mongla Port holds promise Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu
03-03-2000 Jatra Shilpa : LOSAUK-er Udyog Weekly Bichitra Sarwar Ahmed Kajal
Upokulio Anchal ki taliye jabe ? Dainik Tathya Sabina Yasmin Reshma & Sarwar Ahmed Kajal
Nari-O-Shishu Pachar Weekly Bichitra Ashraf-ul-Alam Tutu
28-04-2000 Khulnar Kasva Biral
Koreche -do- Sarwar Ahmed Kajal
Jalabaddhata -do- -do-
02-06-2000 Beel Kedariya
Tidal Basin -do- -do-
Matsya Sampad ki
Bilupto hoye jabe ? -do- -do-
07-07-2000 Bumiheen Manusher Katha -do- -do-
27-08-2000 Sampratik Atibarshan Daily Natun Katha -do-
02-102000 Bhayabaha Banya Paristhiti : Ashu Karaneeyo Daily Janmabhoomi 02-10-2000
03-10-2000 -do- Dainik Anirban -do-
04-10-2000 -do- Dainik Tathya -do-
04-11-2000 Bhumir upor Bhumiheen Khet Mojurer Adhikar Dainik Janmabhoomi Selim Akter Swapan
07-11-2000 Shaheed Karunamoyeer upor
Karuna Barshan Noy Dainik Tathya -do-
Date of Publication Name of Newspaper or Periodical Title of Article /Report Name of writer
Flood and its Aftermath : Waiting for Total Rehabilitation
The Daily Star
10-11-2000 Banya Peedito Satkhirai Teebro Sheet Weekly Bichitra Sarwar
25-11-2000` Bhumi Sangskar O Unnayan : Prasangik Katha Dainik Tathya Selim Akter Swapan
7.4 Shaheed Karunamoyee Sardar Memorial Committee.
Karunamoyee Sardar was killed and hundreds injured on November 7, 1990,
when the people of Polder No. 22 in Deluty Union of Paikgacha Thana of
Khulna district wanted to protest the attempts to establish a brackish-water
shrimp enclosure within the polder.
After a decade, the same elements have again started their conspiracies to somehow establish a shrimp enclosure in the area. When their activities came to the knowledge of CDP, it immediately took action, convening meetings of NGOs, journalists, and prominent citizens to form a Committee to keep alive the memory of Karunamoyee Sardar who sacrificed her life to keep her region shrimp-free.
The Committee meets every month to carry on its activities for preventing the introduction of shrimp culture in the Polder No. 22. Further, the Committee also observed the 10th anniversary of martyrdom of Karunamoyee Sardar on November 7, 2000 with due sol
7. 5 World Environment Day – 2000
The World Environment Day – 2000 was observed in Khulna with a number
of programs such as rallies, meetings, discussions, Video Shows and Exhibitions,
in addition to distribution of leaflets and poster pasting, all under the
leadership of CDP.
CDP persuaded 53 local, regional and international organizations to participate in the observance of the day in a befitting manner.
A mass rally was taken out in the morning. Large numbers of leaflets were distributed and posters were pasted all over the city, highlighting the need to conserve the environment of the region, as well as the degradation of environment now occurring.
In the evening an exhibition was organised in which all the 53 organizations participated, at the Zia Hall in Khulna City. At the same time, a discussion meeting was also held at the same premises, where the audience overflowed the venue. A large number of people visited the exhibition and attended the meeting, in which various speakers spoke about the continuing degradation of the environment and the need to improve the situation for the sake of ourselves as well as for future generations.
Such a massive program was never organized in Khulna before.
7.6 Local Resource Management.
CDP has conducted a survey on the feasibility of cultivating a
variety of marsh grass known locally as Meley. The flower stalks of this
grass, which grows in marshy lands, is used for weaving mats, and thus
forms a local raw material resource for cottage industry. Due to the extensive
spread of shrimp cultivation in the low-lying areas of the South-western
raw material had become locally unavailable. The survey proved a success, as the cultivation of this marsh grass has been found as profitable as rice, if not more. CDP conducted this investigation by having this "meley" cultivated in the plots of farmers owning low-lying land. The project was financed by the Grameen Trust.
7.7 Sustainable Agriculture Forum(SAF).
High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of rice demand large amounts of chemical
fertilizers. In addition, as they are more vulnerable to pests and diseases
than local varieties, large amounts of poisonous chemical pesticides are
also used. The pesticides and the excessive amounts of chemical fertilizer
pollutes the soil and water, thus destroying the life-bearing capacity
of the soil and water of the region. Moreover, as more and more farmers
choose to cultivate the new hybrid varieties, there is a danger of local
varieties of rice and other crops becoming extinct. It has been reported
by various unconfirmed sources that many local varieties have already become
extinct. On the other hand, the preservation of the local varieties is
essential to meet future needs of germ-plasm.
Accordingly, CDP has undertaken a program to promote the cultivation of local varieties of rice and other crops, and are advising farmers in respect of Integrated Pest Management to avoid the use of poisonous chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
The history and growth of CDP is coincident with the history of the
coordination of the Advocacy activities of NGOs in the South West Coastal
Region and the Ganges flood-plain of Bangladesh.
Conservation of the environment in the coastal areas, management of local resources, conservation of the bio-diversity of the Sunderbans, eradication of water-logging, River Managemdent in the Ganges Dependent Areas of Bangladesh, permanent settlement of the land-less on State-owned khas lands, resistance against illegal shrimp cultivation, protection of Human Rights, resistance against trafficking of women and children and against fundamentalism, are the issues on which CDP has organized and coordinated Advocacy programs. In all such activities, CDP has played the role of a Secretariat for the local and regional organizations.
The Resource Centre maintained by the CDP is fulfilling the information requirements of NGOs, CBOs, University, Press Clubs and other interested organizations and individuals to the best of its means.
The Networks of NGOs developed by the CDP, the Citizens' Forums conducting issue-based movements, are all playing an effective role in organizing the people in a disciplined manner.
During the year 2000, CDP has achieved a better compactness and is gaining in efficiency. A well-directed and coordinated team is being developed within the organization.
CDP has already formulated a more extensive work program for the year 2001. It is, therefore, hoped that the organization will be able to fulfil its responsibilities in a better and more efficient manner in the coming years.
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