PKSF donates bicycles to 75 poor school-going children
Seventy-five school-going children of disadvantaged families in Chapainawabganj received a bicycle each on 27 June 2022. PKSF, through its Partner Organization Proyas Manobik Unnayan Society, donated these bicycles to 43 girls and 32 boys, most of whom are from extremely poor ethnic minority groups.
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc virtually joined the bicycle handover program, organized by Chapainawabganj district administration, as the Chief Guest. Local Deputy Commissioner AKM Galiv Khan chaired the event.
Thanking PKSF for the bicycles, the children said they would now be able to easily commute to and from schools, which would help them study better.
[Link to the livestreamed video of the event: https://www.facebook.com/proyasmus/videos/1258653838000865/]
PKSF allocates around BDT 2 crore to help flood victims
To provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the flood-hit people of Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has initially allocated BDT 1.98 crore. The fund is being used to distribute emergency food items, water purification tablets and oral rehydration solution packets among the flood victims. The assistance activities are being conducted through 11 Partner NGOs of PKSF. In addition to the PKSF fund, the Partner NGOs are using their own funds to carry out various aid initiatives.
PKSF has made all preparations to augment the emergency relief activities, including raising the fund allocation considering the flood situation. In view of this, PKSF has formed a special committee that is monitoring the flood situation. In addition, a guideline has been formulated on the roles of the Partner NGOs in operating livelihood interventions during and after the flood.
Development at Grassroots
PKSF Managing Director inspects interventions in Cumilla and Lakshmipur
In order to inspect various development interventions in the field, PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc visited different sites in Cumilla and Lakshmipur districts on 12 and 13 June 2022. The activities there are implemented by PKSF’s Partner Organizations (POs) Center for Community Development Assistance (CCDA), PRISM Bangladesh Foundation, Community Development Center (CODEC), and Society for Project Implementation Research Evaluation & Training (SOPIRET).
Dr Halder was leading a PKSF team comprising, among others, Deputy Managing Director Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas, Deputy General Manager Md Humayun Kabir, Manager Dr Syeda Khaleda and Deputy Manager Asfak Mahmud.
The interventions the PKSF team visited included a lobster hatchery of CCDA in Daudkandi of Cumilla district and the Nakshi Katha (embroidered quilt) stitching activities supported by the MDP project of PKSF and implemented by PRISM Bangladesh Foundation in Lakshmipur Sadar.
Dr Halder attended a training session on protecting livestock under the LRMP project of PKSF, and agricultural activities such as mixed-fruit orchards, and sugarcane and papaya cultivation, all of which are being implemented through CODEC in Raipur upazila of Lakshmipur district.
During the SOPIRET chapter of the field trip in Lakshmipur, she also visited coconut oil producing microenterprises supported by PKSF’s Sustainable Enterprise Project in Lakshmipur Sadar, interventions under the ENRICH program in Laharkandi Union, a livestock farm established and run with the support of the Agrosor program, and activities on ensuring safe water and sanitation for rural people under the BD Rural WASH for Human Capital Development project.
A former Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh, Dr Nomita Halder ndc inaugurated a 40-bed hospital founded by SOPIRET on 13 June. Lakshmipur’s Deputy Commissioner Md Anwar Hossain Akand and SOPIRET’s Executive Director Professor Mohammed Moslehuddin, PhD, were also present at the inauguration program.
The PKSF Managing Director also attended some presentation sessions arranged by different POs and enjoyed cultural performances by members of PKSF’s Program for Adolescents.
For the Sake of Development of Those in Need
PKSF Managing Director braves heat, communication hurdles to visit hard-to-reach areas
Cut off from the mainland by the mighty Jamuna River, Shildaha is a charland formed not so long ago. In the dynamics of erosion and accretion of the river, the char has sustained about 10-15 floods, according to locals, eventually to become a human habitat, which however has no communication infrastructure, no healthcare facilities and a barely functional educational institute. A handful of horse-drawn carts are the only mode of transportation found there. Formal financial services are non-existent.
This remote, hard-to-reach charland in Islampur upazila of Jamalpur district is one of the areas that PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC visited during a three-day official tour in the region from 28-30 May 2022. She was leading a PKSF team comprising General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman, Deputy General Manager Salina Sharif, Manager Suhas Shankar Chowdhury, Deputy Managers Mamun Ur Rashid and Md Mahmuduzzaman and other officials.
She began the tour by visiting a training program for livestock farmers at Madhupur upazila in Tangail district. She talked with the trainees who received different services under the Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services project (LRMP in short), supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). TMSS, a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF is implementing the project in the area. The LRMP, being implemented in 39 districts through 15 POs, aims to improve capacity and knowledge of livestock farmers on good farming practices through training, vaccination camps etc to reduce morbidity and mortality risks for livestock, and to encourage farmers to invest more in livestock rearing. It also works to improve the capacity of different stakeholders on risk mitigation services for the livestock sector in the country.
Dr Halder and her entourage then went to Jamalpur and visited a training center run by Eco Social Development Organization (ESDO), another PO of PKSF. She highly praised the way vocational training on different trades was being conducted for unemployed youths.
The next destination was the district’s Islampur upazila, one of the worst poverty-stricken areas of the country. Her first stop was Kasaripara, a neighborhood of bell metal craftsmen. PKSF, through its Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) project, is making an intervention there to improve the situation of the once-an-aristocratic craft that is now struggling to exist. She inspected their workshops and pledged to extend all necessary cooperation to provide modern machineries, necessary training, required financial assistance and market linkage support to revive the bell metal enterprises there.
From there, the PKSF team started towards Shildaha Char. After hours of journey by car, boat, horse-drawn carts and on foot, Dr Halder and her team reached a cluster of houses that stood on a plinth raised quite a few feet above the ground level. A group of women received them with cheerful claps. This was one of the many clusters of houses the plinths of which have been raised above the historically highest flood level under a PKSF project titled Extended Community Climate Change Project – Flood (ECCCP-Flood), financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Defying sweltering heat and barely walkable, uneven dirt roads, the PKSF Managing Director walked around the charland to see for herself the quality and effectiveness of ECCCP-Flood interventions. She spoke to the project participants there and expressed satisfaction with what the project had accomplished there already.
The day’s journey ended with a brief trip to Unnayan Sangha, a local NGO showing promise of expanding their operations to serve a greater number of people in need.
The next day, the PKSF team started for an even farther charland – Kodalkati, located in Kurgiram district’s Char Rajibpur upazila. This upazila recently made headlines for having the highest prevalence of poverty with almost 79 percent of people there living below poverty line, according to a recent study of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Kodalkati is one of the newly formed charlands in the Jamuna basin where humans have started to inhabit. Though most of the char inhabitants struggle every day to make ends meet, they had broad smiles on their faces as they welcomed the PKSF delegation. They were happy that they no longer had to worry about floods destroying their homes and assets and displacing them, thanks to the plinth-raising interventions under ECCCP-Flood. After a meeting with a group of women in the Adarshapara neighborhood, Dr Halder said she was delighted to see a burst of confidence among the women. “They are poor but their eyes were gleaming with dreams of a better tomorrow,” said Dr Halder while staring at the charland disappearing into the horizon as her boat was leaving for the mainland.
On the third day of her tour, she visited different activities of Society for Social Service (SSS), a PO of PKSF, in Tangail. She held meetings with SSS officials and visited a school for underprivileged children and a ‘Safe Home’ for children born in a local brothel. She was full of praises for the humanitarian interventions SSS was making.
Before concluding the tour on 30 May 2022, she participated as the Chief Guest in a program titled “Development Dialogue: Tangail District” organized by the district administration of Tangail. Apart from officials of the local administration, representatives of all NGOs working in Tangail attended the meeting and exchanged views.
Earlier on 28 May 2022, she graced as the Chief Guest a similar event titled “Development Dialogue: Jamalpur District”. Chaired by Deputy Commissioner Mursheda Zaman, the Dialogue was attended by top officials and representatives of development organizations working in the district.
1st Annual Coordination Meeting of BD Rural Wash for HCD Held
The first annual coordination meeting of The Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development (HCD) project was held at PKSF Auditorium on 26 May 2022. The meeting was chaired by Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Additional Managing Director of PKSF.
Md Abdul Matin, General Manager and Project Coordinator of BD Rural Wash for HCD gave a presentation on the work plan, implementing strategy and progress of the project.
Rokeya Ahmed, Task Team Leader, World Bank, and Md Tabibur Rahman Talukder, Project Director, Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE) also spoke in the conference.
In the second session of the conference, Mohammad Enamul Hoque, Dr Nepal Chandra Dey, Md Zahid Hossain, Azahar Ali Pramanik and Arif Ahmed gave presentations on social and environmental safeguard issues, technical aspects, monitoring and verification process. Executive Directors and focal persons from 57 project implementing Partner Organizations (POs) participated in the conference and shared their views during the open discussion session. Rokanuzzaman, Deputy Project Coordinator of the project, gave the vote of thanks to conclude the daylong event.
The Government of Bangladesh is implementing the Bangladesh Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Human Capital Development Project with financial support from the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to reform institutions and improve WASH services that meet the ‘safely-managed’ services in line with SDG targets of 6.1 and 6.2. The Project Development Objectives are to: (i) improve access and quality of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in selected areas of rural Bangladesh, and (ii) strengthen sector policy and institutional capacity. PKSF and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) are implementing specific components of this project.
ECCCP-Flood: PKSF MD Closes 3-day Refresher Training
The closing ceremony of a three-day-long training titled “Refresher Training for the Implementing Entities’ (IEs’) Staff” organized under the Extended Community Climate Change Project-Flood (ECCCP-Flood) of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) was held on 26 May 2022.
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC was the Chief Guest of the ceremony held at Padakhep Institute of Development and Management (PIDM) in the capital’s Mohammmadpur.
Other guests included PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed and Md Shahjahan Majumder, Secretary (retd) at the Ministry of Chattogram Hill Tracts Affairs, who also is an Adviser of Padakhep Manbik Unnayan Kendra (PMUK) – a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF.
The purpose of the training was to enhance the capacity of the project staff of the IEs on sustainability of ECCCP-Flood interventions, online database management, training and communication management, gender action plan, structural management, grievance redress mechanism, etc.
Project Coordinators, Technical Officers and Field Facilitators of the project’s IEs (NDP, TMSS, ESDO, POPI, PMUK, SHARP, NAZIR, GBK and SSS) participated in the training.
In her speech, Dr Halder thanked all participants for taking the training and requested them to practice and implement in the field the knowledge learnt from the training.
ECCCP-Flood is financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Safe Fruit Business
Lychee Growers of Pabna Changing the Game
For the first time in the history of Pabna, fruit-bagging technique is used to grow safe lychees. And this is being done with the support from PKSF’s Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP). The technology has been introduced to the lychee growers of Pabna district through the Organization for Social Advancement & Cultural Activities (OSACA) which is implementing in the field the ‘Promoting Safe Lychee Farming through Environment-friendly Practices in Pabna’ sub-project of SEP.
The perks of using bio-degradable fruit bags are many. To begin with, they keep the fruits away from pests. So, the farmers do not have to worry about squirrels, bats, birds and insects. Naturally, insecticides are of no use here. Finally, the fruit bags being safe and biodegradable, the technology is extremely safe and environment-friendly.
With SEP’s support, the growers are also very conscious about the packaging and branding of the fruits considering the vast market for safe products. They are packing the fruits using environment-friendly bags and materials. Furthermore, the most interesting part of the process is traceability. By scanning the QR code on the cover of the bags, one directly finds out who the grower is and where it came from. This could also pave the way for exporting the fruits to overseas markets.
Transparency, safety, and safe fruit — what more one can expect from a fruit grower? Keeping the consumers happy, the SEP-supported lychee growers are sharing the joy of something healthy and delicious.
PKSF Obtains Trademark Certificates
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has recently obtained the Trademark Registration Certificates from the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT) under the Ministry of Industries for the following:
- “পল্লী কর্ম-সহায়ক ফাউন্ডেশন (পিকেএসএফ)” in Bengali with monogram,
- “Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)” in English with monogram,
- “পিকেএসএফ” in Bengali,
- “PKSF” in English, and
- PKSF monogram
Everyone is thus requested to use the rightly spelt names and the correct monogram. Trademark Registration Certificates protect PKSF from the misuse or fraudulent use of PKSF’s name and monogram. If anyone misuses or fraudulently uses the PKSF’s name and monogram, PKSF may take legal actions against them.
World Bank team visits PKSF’s housing activities in Cumilla
Expresses satisfaction over the low-cost housing support project
A World Bank delegation led by its Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, Mercy Miyang Tembon, visited the Low Income Community Housing Support Project (LICHSP) in Cumilla, a fast-growing city, on 20 May 2022 to observe field progress made over the last five years.
PKSF officials, including Project Director Dr AKM Nuruzzaman, accompanied the team during the day-long visit.
This was the first visit by a WB Country Director to the region to visit PKSF activities. Earlier, several other World Bank delegations visited LICHSP working areas in different districts, including Cumilla.
The 20 May 2022 visit covered Cumilla’s Kazipara and Rajapara areas, some 80km southeast of capital Dhaka.
The delegation visited three new homes built with funding under the project, aimed at improving the living conditions of low-income households and informal settlements in selected municipalities.
The WB delegation also included Robin Mearns, Practice Manager; Sabah Moyeen, Senior Social Development Specialist; Akhtar Zaman, Senior Social Development Specialist; and Engineer Md Rafiqul Islam-Sasda.
The WB Country Director expressed her satisfaction over the project’s progress and the quality of the houses built with the project funding.
The project offers flexible financial support of up to BDT 5 lakh, repayable in five years, as well as technical support during and after the construction.
Under the project, more than 11,000 houses have been built, extended or renovated, significantly improving their overall living conditions, safety and security and even their income.
Atorer Nessa, 35, from Kazipara is one of them. Only a few years ago, she used to live in a single-room mud house with her husband and two sons, who were growing up. There was no privacy, and the toilet was outside. At night, Atorer Nessa would hesitate to go outside to use the toilet without taking her husband or one of her sons along for her safety.
Now, she has a two-bedroom concrete home with attached toilets.
“This home has boosted my confidence and I feel empowered. I no longer need to go outside the home to use the toilet,” said Nessa.
Low-cost housing projects, especially for low-income urban people, have high growth potentials. In 2010, there was a housing shortfall of 4.6 million units, which was projected to reach 8.5 million units for 60 million urban people by the end of 2021, according to the government’s Household Income and Expenditure Survey (2016) data.
The same survey data show as much as 73 percent of the population live in houses with semi-permanent or temporary structures.
Despite the high demand due to rapid urbanization and overall economic growth of the country, low-income urban people find it difficult to get housing loans for a lack of mortgage. While the public sector builds less than 1% of the total housing needs, commercial banks offer housing loans only to big borrowers in big metropolises.
“This has created scopes for organizations like PKSF to invest in housing for the low-income people who cannot otherwise afford to live in a healthy condition and with dignity,” Dr Nuruzzaman said.
World Bank Group’s MIGA Vice President Visits PKSF
Suggests showcasing PKSF’s successes to int’l audiences
Junaid Kamal Ahmad, Vice President of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) which is one of the five organizations under the World Bank Group, paid a courtesy call on PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC on 19 May 2022. PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director AQM Golam Mawla and General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman were present at the meeting.
A highly acclaimed economist Junaid Kamal Ahmad observed the critical role of the government in maintaining economic progress of Bangladesh. He mentioned that Bangladesh has become an important state in this world. On its course to become an upper-middle income country and eventually a developed country, Bangladesh and its different organizations need to explore further to diversify the sources of fund internally and globally to scale up the economic activities for maintaining the country’s success rate and magnitude. He suggested PKSF showcase its best practices and learnings to international audiences. He also congratulated PKSF on successfully completing a number of projects funded by the World Bank since 1996.
PKSF’s Managing Director thanked him for visiting PKSF and hearing about a few ideas on future endeavors of PKSF. Dr Halder mentioned that PKSF in the past 12 years has diversified its activities to address multidimensional needs of the disadvantaged people. And the government of Bangladesh has been relentlessly supporting PKSF since the latter’s establishment in alleviating poverty through employment generation, she added.
Three Employees Receive PKSF Integrity Award
In line with the National Integrity Strategy of Bangladesh, PKSF awarded ‘Integrity Award 2021-22′ to three of its employees on 19 May 2022. The awardees of this year are: Md Ashraful Haque,Deputy General Manager (Program); Md Ashraf Hossain,Manager (Human Resources); and Md Rakibul Hasan, Office Staff Grade-2. They have been selected by the Integrity Award Committee of PKSF on the basis of a set of indicators determined by the Government of Bangladesh.
PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC handed over the awards to the awardees. PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin and Senior Managing Director Golam Touhid, among other PKSF officials, were present on the occasion.
Md Ashraful Haque joined PKSF in 1999. He obtained hisM.Sc. in Economics from Jahangirnagar University. Currently, he is involved in PKSF’s mainstream program-related activities.
Before joining PKSF in 2009, Md Ashraf Hossain obtained his M.Sc. in Forestry from the University of Chittagong and Master of Sustainability Science from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Currently, he works in the Human Resources Cell of PKSF.
Md Rakibul Hasan joined PKSF in 2019. He obtained his MA in Bengali from Dhaka College, Dhaka. He is working as an Office Staff Grade-2 at PKSF.
World Bank Country Director Meets PKSF Managing Director
Discusses success of WB-funded low-cost housing project implemented by PKSF
Mercy Miyang Tembon, the World Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, met PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC on 18 May 2022 at PKSF Bhaban.
The WB’s Practice Manager Robin Mearns, Senior Social Development Specialist Sabah Moyeen and Consultant Engineer Md Rafiqul Islam-Sasda, and PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed and General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman were present in the meeting.
The main purpose of the meeting was to share experiences of housing loans under the Low Income Community Housing Support Project (LICHSP) and to find avenues for expanding the activities to other parts of the country.
Dr Nuruzzaman, also the LICHSP Project Coordinator at PKSF, mentioned that the Project funded by the World Bank and the Government of Bangladesh has been jointly implemented by PKSF and the National Housing Authority (NHA) since 2016. PKSF, through its 7 Partner Organizations (POs), has disbursed loans amounting to BDT 2,346 million to 11,259 borrowers for the construction of new houses and extension or repair of existing ones in 13 towns. Based on the learning from LICHSP, ‘Abason Loan’ (housing loan) program was launched by PKSF in January 2019. The program is being implemented by 17 POs in 37 upazilas of 19 districts. As of 30 April 2022, PKSF has disbursed BDT 1,169 million to 5,033 borrowers for construction of new houses and repair or extension of old ones. He also said that a large number of households in the working areas were engaged in some kind of home-based enterprises and therefore, houses were seen as an asset, investing in which would yield return. Many started a small shop at home and have added to their household income. Many borrowers already recognize that they are getting benefits in terms of health, mental peace, physical security and children’s education. Nonetheless, the housing loan program seems to be very effective and appropriate for PKSF considering the significant demand for housing among the low-income communities in the country. PKSF feels the need for expanding such services to wider a range of population.
In response, Mercy Miyang Tembon said that LICHSP is an important project for ensuring sustainable poverty reduction, which is also in line with the objectives of the World Bank. Living in improved housing conditions, she said, would most likely make the next generation more resilient, productive and responsible than their parents. Stating that such projects should be expanded not only within Bangladesh but also elsewhere in the world, Tembon said she sees potential to scale up the Project’s activities and arrange finances accordingly.
Others present in the meeting participated in the open discussion and shared their views on the activities of LICHSP.
Consultative Workshop on Environmental & Social Management of Floriculture
Floriculture, an increasingly popular branch of horticulture, is emerging as an effective tool for sustainable development of low-income people in Bangladesh. With the demand for flowers increasing at home and abroad, PKSF is supporting people engage in floriculture as a means of livelihood and employment generation.
In line with this, PKSF is preparing ‘Environment and Social Management Guidelines for Floriculture’. To get a wider perspective from academics and practitioners, a consultative workshop on the proposed guidelines was held at PKSF on 11May 2022. PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC was the chief guest of the event chaired by Additional Managing Director Md Fazlul Kader.
Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed PKSF spoke on the purpose of preparing the guidelines in the current context.
Md Rabi Uzzaman, Deputy Manager (Environment and Climate Change), presented on the draft guidelines.
Those present at the workshop included Dr Zahidul Hasan, Professor of Horticulture, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University; Dr AFM Jamal Uddin, Professor of Horticulture, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; Md Mazedul Islam, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Dr Farjana Nasrin Khan, PSO, HRC, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Md Shamsuzzaman Sarker, Deputy Director, Department of Environment (DoE); Dr Nasrin Akhter, SSO, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA); Md Ahsanul Haque, Chowdhury, Additional Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE); Dr Shah Md Monir Hossain, Chief Scientific Officer, Crops Division, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC); Md Fazlul Hoque, Director, Ad-din Foundation; Nasima Begum, Executive Director, SNF; Sheikh Mozammel Hoque, Project Manager, JCF; Shamim Khan, Deputy Director, RRF; Md Awlad Hossain, General Secretary, Flower Growers’ Society of Bangladesh; and Md Masum Rana, a flower farmer. They participated in the open discussion and made suggestions to improve the guidelines.
WB Delegation Meets PKSF Managing Director
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC met with a delegation of The World Bank at her office on 09 May 2022. They talked about the current progress of the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) and future possibilities.
Md Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director of PKSF; Eun Joo Allison Yi, Task Team Leader of SEP, and other relevant officials were also present at the meeting. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator of SEP presented on the progress of SEP and projected features of the SEP Phase II.
The meeting followed a field visit by the World Bank team led by Christophe Crepin, Sector Leader, Social, Environmental and Rural Development Unit, East Asia and Pacific Region. They visited the ‘Promoting Environment-Friendly and Specialized Loom Products’ sub-project activities implemented through Tarango, a Partner Organization of PKSF. At its Mirpur center in Dhaka, Tarango showcased handicrafts and naturally dyed products. The World Bank officials talked to some SEP-supported micro-entrepreneurs there as well.
AMA Muhith: A name which will remain forever
Speakers say in commemoration meeting
Former Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith ‘s contribution to the formation of a secular, progressive and liberal democratic state was undeniable, said speakers in a commemoration meeting. In present Bangladesh, it is hard to find such a big-hearted man like Abul Maal Abdul Muhith. He was a successful man, placed the national budget a record 12 times. During his tenure as the Finance Minister, Bangladesh witnessed a significant increase in budget size, steady growth and inflation in control. He was one of the driving forces behind Bangladesh taking up mega projects.
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundtion (PKSF) organized a commemoration meeting on 9 May 2022 at PKSF Bhaban in the memory of Abul Maal Abdul Muhith who passed away on April 29, 2022. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF preside over the meeting. Dr Nomita Halder, ndc gave introductory speech in the meeting. Abu Saleh Abdul Muiz. brother of late Abul Maal Abdul Muhith gave a memoir about his life and works.
In addition to economics, Mr Muhith has keen interest to art, culture, literature and sports. He has written 31 books on economics, history and other topics and compiled 25 local and foreign books, said the speakers in the meeting. Md Fazlul Kader and Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Additional Managing Directors of PKSF also spoke on the occasion. PKSF officials of all ranks participated in the commemoration.
A documentary on Muhith’s life and works was shown in the commemoration meeting. Born in 1934 in Sylhet, Muhith joined civil service in 1956 after a bright academic life. He held important positions in the public service and was the first diplomat of the Pakistan embassy in Washington who transferred his allegiance to Bangladesh during the Liberation War. He also played a vital role in drumming up global support for Bangladesh. In 2016, he was conferred with Swadhinata Puroskar, the highest civilian award, for his contribution to the Liberation War.
Deals signed on training 1,800 caregivers
In response to increased demand for caregivers in domestic and international markets, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) will provide 6-month long skill training on caregiving to 1,800 unemployed youths of the country. This particular intervention will be made under Tranche-3 of the Skills for Employment & Investment Program (SEIP) project.
To this end, PKSF on 27 April 2022 signed agreements with Sir William Beveridge Foundation (SWBF) and CIB Foundation. Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Additional Managing Director of PKSF signed the agreements on behalf of PKSF. Major General (Retd) Jibon Kanai Das, SWBF Country Director and Brigadier General (Retd) Prof Dr Md Basidul Islam, Chairman of CIB Foundation, signed the agreements on behalf of their respective organizations.
Md Ziauddin Iqbal, Senior General Manager of PKSF and Chief Coordinator of SEIP Project and other officials of PKSF and the two other organizations were also present on the occasion. SWBF and CIB Foundation will provide Caregiving training to 240 youths under this agreement and ensure their job placements as well.
Meeting on research scope between PKSF and RMIT University held
A virtual meeting on the collaboration for conducting research between PKSF and RMIT University, Australia was held on 26 April 2022. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the scopes of collaboration in research activities between PKSF and RMIT University. Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director, PKSF presided over the meeting.
Dr Shahadat Khan, Senior Lecturer, RMIT University delivered a power point presentation on a research titled “Green Climate Enabled Housing Using Inter-Familial International Remittances in Rural Bangladesh”. The research was developed jointly by RMIT University, Monash University, Central Queensland University and University of Dhaka.
Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Deputy Managing Director (Environment and Climate Change), PKSF and Dr. AKM Nuruzzaman, General Manager, PKSF attended the meeting among others.
Dr Khan, in his presentation shared the research findings on how the marginal population of rural Bangladesh spending a major share of their foreign remittances for building houses and its potentiality in future. He also pointed out the justifications of selecting PKSF and RMIT University for research collaboration.
In the open discussion, Dr Nomita Halder said some research activities on housing were on progress and would be finalized by the end of this year. Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed presented the progress of ongoing and proposed projects of PKSF funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
In the meeting, Dr AKM Nuruzzaman presented the success stories and innovative interventions of Low Income Community Housing Support Project (LICHSP) of PKSF.
The meeting concluded with some way forward that includes: exploring scope of future cooperation between PKSF and RMIT University in the field of research. However, RMIT University and the consortium will bear the expenses in research activities.
PKSF component under LICHSP rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ by World Bank
To improve the living conditions of the low-income people residing in various municipalities and city corporations of Bangladesh, PKSF since 2016 has been implementing ‘Shelter Support and Lending’ component of the Low Income Community Housing Support Project funded by the World Bank (WB). Seven Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF are implementing housing loan activities in 13 towns. Providing people with access to decent and affordable housing is one of the targets under the Sustainable Development Goal 11 which focuses on making cities sustainable.
The project has been able to bring about significant positive changes in the living standards of the borrowers in terms health, education, social dignity and economic growth. In recognition to the tremendous success of the project, a recent World Bank Mission has rated the overall progress and quality of the work implemented by PKSF as ‘Highly Satisfactory’ which is the highest ranking given by the World Bank to any project conducted in Bangladesh.
Expressing satisfaction at PKSF’s activities, they said, “PKSF has exceeded targets against all the indicators in the Results Framework. Since the previous mission, PKSF not only sustained the momentum in housing loan disbursements across all 13 project approved cities and towns, but also successfully completed the full utilization of the US$ 16 million shelter credit line, several months ahead of the original project closing date of December 31, 2021”.
They also mentioned in their Aide-Memoire that “The portfolio quality has steadily improved over the past year as most borrowers have gradually recovered from the economic disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The percentage of loans disbursed to lower-income households stood at 58.65%, which exceeds the end target agreed with WB (40%)”.
Following this success, a concept note for a new project titled “Housing Loan for Low Income People (HLLIP)” with an estimated budget of BDT 2,300 crore has been submitted to the World Bank through Economic Relations Divisions (ERD) and the Financial Institutions Division (FID), Ministry of Finance.
PKSF, BARI Sign MoU on Boosting Food & Nutrition Security
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 30 March 2022 with a view to strengthening the country’s food and nutrition security and alleviating poverty by boosting agricultural production through partnership and collaboration.
PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC chaired the occasion. Golam Touhid, Senior Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, and Dr Md Saiful Islamd, Director (Training and Communication) of BARI signed the MoU on behalf of their respective entities. Dr Debasish Sarker, Director General, BARI was also present there.
Under the MoU, BARI will provide special and modern high-yielding varieties of BARI-mandated crops, new non-crop technologies, publications and technical information, training for PKSF and POs’ staff, and assistance to disseminate the technologies among the farmers connected with PKSF interventions at the grassroots.
Environmental Conservation, Business Growth should Go Hand in Hand
Says PKSF Managing Director, opens 5-day knowledge sharing workshop
A virtual knowledge-sharing workshop, titled ‘Adoption of Environmentally Sustainable Practices and Environmental Certifications by MEs’, began on 28 March 2022. Dr Nomita Halder NDC, Managing Director of PKSF, inaugurated the event while PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Md Fazlul Kader and the World Bank’s Senior Environment Specialist Eun Joo Allison Yi made the opening remarks.
In her speech, Dr Halder said that environmental concerns had previously been the “missing piece” in the prevalent development interventions until they were incorporated in the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) of PKSF. “Growth is essential for eradicating poverty and it is time we realized the importance of ensuring environmental conservation and business growth at the same time,” she commented.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is the most densely populated country not only in terms of human population but also in terms of livestock, Md Fazlul Kader explained the context and significance of SEP. “The low-level technology trap is a key obstacle to sustainable development of microenterprises (MEs)”, he said, adding that SEP was working to create an environment conducive to the micro-entrepreneurs and it was applying the Nudge theory to inspire them to adopt environmentally sustainable practices in their ventures.
Four presentations were made by different experts, specialists, professionals from home and abroad on the opening day.
More than 150 participants including senior officials of PKSF and SEP Project Management Unit, Executive Directors and focal persons of SPE-implementing Partner Organizations, and officials of The World Bank attended the sessions on Day-1 of the workshop that will continue till 05 April 2022.
IRMP: Work Plan for Project’s 2nd Stage Approved by JCC
The first Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting of ‘The Project for Developing Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction (IRMP)’ was held on 28 March 2022 at PKSF Bhaban, Dhaka. The project is being implemented with technical assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Dr Nomita Halder NDC, Managing Director of PKSF, chaired the meeting attended in-person by high officials from the JICA’s Bangladesh office and expert team for the project. JICA high-ups from their head office in Japan virtually joined the meeting.
The JCC in the meeting approved the work plan for the 2nd stage of IRMP. Under the project, financial and non-financial services will be provided to the marginal people of climate change-related disaster-prone areas of Bangladesh through 14 Partner Organizations of PKSF.
Special Discussion to Mark Genocide Day, Independence Day
PKSF arranged a special discussion on 24 March 2022 to mark two very significant days for Bangladesh – the Genocide Day which falls on 25 March, and the Independence Day, also celebrated as the National Day, on 26 March.
On the night of 25 March in 1971, the Pakistani military launched a crackdown down on the Bengalis who, under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, were moving against the oppression and misrule of the then West Pakistani rulers. Thousands of Bengali men, women and children were slaughtered in the vicious military campaign infamously known as ‘Operation Searchlight’, forcing the Bengalis to take up arms against the Pakistanis and start a War of Liberation. The Pakistanis killed as many as three million Bengalis before surrendering on 16 December 1971. Bangladesh thus observes 25 March as the Genocide Day to commemorate the lives that perished during the nine-month-long War of Liberation. Soon after the heinous ‘Operation Searchlight’ began, Sheikh Mujib declared the independence of Bangladesh. Ever since, Bangladesh has been celebrating 26 March as the Independence Day.
The PKSF event paid tributes to those killed in 1971.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad delivered the keynote speech styled ‘Reminiscence of 25 March Genocide March’ and ‘Historical Leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Development of the Country on the Golden Jubilee of Independence’.
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc delivered the welcome remarks at the program where PKSF officials performed patriotic songs and poems, and read out from books on the Liberation War. Also, a video documentary on the brutal genocide of 1971 was shown during the event.
Other events to mark the Independence Day included hoisting the national flag at PKSF Bhaban which was adorned with colorful lights, offering special prayers after the Zuhr prayers, and distributing sumptuous meals at an orphanage in Agargaon of the capital.
LRMP: Managing Director Inspects Field-level Training
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC recently visited a training session on ‘Cattle Fattening and Risk Mitigation’ for livestock farmers in the northern district of Kurigram.
The training session was organized on 22 March 2022 by ESDO, a PKSF Partner Organization (PO) implementing the Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services project (LRMP in short), supported by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Dr Halder was accompanied by PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin and General Manager Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury. ESDO’s Executive Director Dr Md Shahid Uz Zaman, among other officials from PKSF and ESDO, were also present there.
The LRMP, being implemented in 39 districts through 15 POs, aims to improve capacity and knowledge of livestock farmers on good farming practices through training, vaccination camps etc to reduce morbidity and mortality risks for livestock, and to encourage farmers to invest more in livestock rearing. It also works to improve the capacity of different stakeholders on risk mitigation services for the livestock sector in the country.
Managing Director Visits Pro-poor Interventions in the North
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc undertook a three-day visit to Dinajpur, Kurigram and Rangpur districts to observe various field activities being implemented under different programs and projects through support from PKSF Partner Organizations (POs). One of the main objectives of the visit was to understand the reasons of higher poverty incidence in Kurigram district and the possible ways out.
PKSF’s Additional Managing Director-2 Dr Md Jashim Uddin and General Manager Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury accompanied her during the visit.
The projects and programs, the activities under which she visited during 20-22 March 2022, included the Integrated Agriculture Unit, the Learning and Innovation Fund to Test New Ideas (LIFT) program, the Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP) project, and the Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services project implemented through Gram Bikash Kendra (GBK) and Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO).
Dr Halder and her team inspected poverty alleviation activities of RDRS Bangladesh during their visit to Char Korai Barishal, a remote char area in the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra river, where PKSF has been working since early 2010.
The LIFT initiatives she visited included integrated fish and snail culture, collection of traditional artifacts of plainland ethnic groups of Dinajpur and ornamental fish culture.
She also visited a range of livelihoods activities under the PPEPP project both in Parbatipur of Dinajpur and in Jatrapur Char of Kurigram. These included homestead gardening, aquaculture, layer farming and handicraft training. She visited various social platforms formed under the project, including Prosperity Village Committees (PVCs), and Adolescent Girls Clubs. During this visit, she distributed assistive equipment like wheelchairs and crutches among persons with disabilities, and watched two street theatre performances on combating social ills.
During the tour, Dr Halder observed the activities of Friendship, a non-PO, which is providing health services to the extremely poor through a floating hospital in the char area.
On 21 March 2022, the PKSF team joined a view-exchange meeting with the Kurigram district administration at the local Circuit House. The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner (Kurigram) Md Rezaul Karim and high officials of different district-level government offices. Besides, PKSF POs working in Kurigram also participated in the meeting. The meeting started with a presentation by the DC Kurigram on different poverty alleviation activities of the government. PKSF also made a brief presentation on possible reasons of chronic poverty in Kurigram and suggested possible ways out based on PKSF’s experiences elsewhere. This was followed by a general discussion and recommendations for future activities.
PKSF Celebrates Bangabandhu’s Birth Anniversary & National Children’s Day
On 17 March 1920, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of independent Bangladesh and the greatest Bengali of all times, was born at Tungipara in Gopalganj. To celebrate his 102nd birth anniversary and the National Children’s Day-2022, PKSF organized a range of programs.
As part of these, PKSF officials paid homage to the Father of the Nation by placing a wreath at his portrait on the premises of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on March 17. To mark the national day, the national flag remained hoisted at PKSF Bhaban throughout the day.
This year, the theme of the national Children’s Day is ‘Equal rights for children, Commitment of Bangabandhu’s Birthday”.
PKSF, through different Partner Organizations (POs), also arranged rallies, discussion meetings and cultural programs across the country on the day.
Earlier on 16 March 2022, PKSF organized a virtual discussion meeting to celebrate the occasion. Participated by PKSF employees of all levels, the event was presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad while Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc gave the welcome speech.
Some selected PKSF officials spoke on Bangabandhu’s vision and unfinished work for the betterment of children. Apart from that, Poet Nirmalendu Goon’s ‘Ami Aj Karo Rokto Chaite Ashini’ was recited, and Gauri Prasanna Majumdar’s ‘Shono ekti Mujiborer theke/ lokkho Mujiborer kanthasswarer dhwani’ and Saha Bangali’s ‘Mujib baiya jau re’ were sung by PKSF officials. Besides, excerpts from Bangabandhu’s Oshomapto Attojiboni, Karagarer Rojnamcha, and Amar Dekha Noyachin wereread out in the program. Also, special prayers were offered after the Zuhr prayers.
Workshop on Reviewing of PKSF’s Procurement Activities
In order to discuss ways to add further momentum to PKSF’s procurement processes, a workshop was organized at PKSF Bhaban on 16 March 2022. PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc chaired the event titled ‘Review of PKSF’s Procurement Activities: Some Case Studies’, attended by PKSF employees of all levels.
Md Sorowar Morshed, Manager (Procurement) gave the titular presentation in which he discussed the causes of delay in completing procurement packages, and issues with preparing specifications and Terms of Reference (ToR), and post-contract management etc as well as what can be done for address these. In the open discussion session, different queries and suggestions were made, in light of which the PKSF Managing Director issued a set of strategic directives.
Increased participation of women in decision-making processes a must for SDGs
Speakers comment at a PKSF seminar to mark Int’l Women’s Day
More than 15 million households across the country enjoy various financial and non-financial services offered through various projects and programs of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). And over 90 percent of these participants are women because no development intervention can be sustainable without close engagement of women in it, said PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc while presenting the keynote paper at a seminar organized by PKSF to mark the International Women’s Day 2022.
The seminar titled ‘Gender Equality in Sustainable Development: PKSF and SDG-5’ took place at PKSF Auditorium on 10 March 2022. Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, MP was the chief guest of the event presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah, Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance was present as the Special Guest. Dr Niaz Ahmed Khan, Vice-Chancellor of Independent University, Bangladesh, and Dr Mahbuba Nasreen, Vice-Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University participated were the panel discussants. Various government officials, chief executives of PKSF’s Partner Organizations, all female staff members of PKSF and other dignitaries participated in the program.
PKSF Observes Historic 7 March
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) observed the historic 7 March which commemorates the landmark speech by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
It was on this day in 1971 that Bangabandhu, in his epic speech at the then Racecourse Maidan (now known as Suhrawardy Udyan), proclaimed in his thunderous voice, “The struggle this time is for our emancipation. The struggle this time is for independence.” This speech is widely recognized as the indirect declaration of the country’s independence. Mujib’s proclamations inspired the Bengalis to wage a decisive war against the Pakistani occupying forces and eventually secure victory on 16 December 1971.
In 2017, the UNESCO recognized the historic speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage. It has been included in the Memory of the World International Register, a list of the world’s important documentary heritage maintained by the UNESCO.
This year the observance of the day is significant as the nation is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence and the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation.
To mark the day, the national flag was hoisted atop the PKSF Bhaban as colorful lights adorned the 13-storeyed building in Agargaon Administrative Area, Dhaka. Also, the video clip of the historic 7 March speech was played at the Bangabandhu Corner inside the PKSF Bhaban and on the Golden Jubilee Corner on PKSF website throughout the day.
PKSF Hosts Orientation Event for New Recruits of MRA
A team of newly recruited officials of the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), Government of Bangladesh, visited PKSF on 23 February 2022 to learn about the vast range of activities implemented across the country by this apex development agency.
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc chaired a workshop attended by, among others, MRA Executive Vice Chairman Md Fasiullah, 40 newly recruited MRA officials and PKSF high-ups. In her speech, Dr Halder said, “In order to ensure sustainable development for the people, everyone should work unitedly and the relevant policies and regulations should be people-friendly.” The MRA Executive Vice Chairman thanked PKSF for organizing the event. Top officials of PKSF presented on various aspects of the agency’s work.
The same day, a discussion meeting took place between high officials of PKSF and MRA. They stressed on the need for close cooperation between the two entities to ensure transparency, accountability and good governance in financial institutions.
Meeting on Future Collaboration between JICA and PKSF
On 17 February 2022, top officials of PKSF and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka to discuss possible areas of collaboration in future. The meeting also discussed the progress of ‘The Project for Developing Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction (IRMP)’, being implemented by PKSF with JICA’s financial and technical assistance.
Chaired by PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc, the meeting was attended by Mr Komori Takashi, Senior Representative (Human Development) and other senior officials from the JICA’s Bangladesh Office and members of the JICA’s Expert Team. Also present were PKSF’s Senior Deputy Managing Director Mr Golam Touhid and Deputy Managing Director Dr Tapas Kumar Biswas. Ms Tomomi Uchikawa, Head of Gender Equity and Poverty Reduction, joined the meeting virtually from the JICA headquarters in Japan.
Mr Md Hasan Khaled, Senior General Manager and Project Director (IRMP) of PKSF, presented on PKSF’s activities, possible areas of collaboration, and the progress of IRMP. The JICA representatives expressed their satisfaction at the PKSF activities and their willingness to continue the talks to identify new areas of cooperation.
SDCMU High-ups Meet PKSF Top Management
A high-level meeting was held between PKSF and the Skills Development Coordination and Monitoring Unit (SDCMU) under the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance on 26 January 2022 at PKSF Bhaban, Dhaka. The SDCMU oversees the implementation of the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP), implemented by PKSF.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF, chaired the meeting. The SDCMU delegation was comprised of Mr Md Ekhlasur Rahman, Additional Secretary & Executive Project Director; Mr Md Khairul Islam, Former Additional Secretary & Monitoring Specialist; Mr Mohammed Yasin, Additional Secretary & Deputy Executive Project Director; and other relevant officials. From PKSF, Additional Managing Directors Mr Md Fazlul Kader and Dr Md Jashim Uddin, and other officials from PKSF-SEIP were present at the meeting. The Managing Director of PKSF delivered the introductory speech at the meeting, highlighting the multidimensional role of PKSF in ensuring sustainable development at the grassroots level of Bangladesh.
The meeting took place as part of a process to identify possible interventions for cooperation between PKSF and SDCMU. The PKSF Managing Director focused on the issue of receiving technical and infrastructural development support from the SDCMU and requested them to help reconstruct the PKSF Training Centre to deliver skill training more effectively in the future. The SDCMU responded positively to the request and suggested PKSF submit a proposal in this regard.
Consultation meeting to address potable water crisis
The salinity-prone coastal districts of southwestern Bangladesh face an acute shortage of potable water. PKSF arranged a consultation meeting on 8 February 2022 to address the issue and to produce potable water to ensure its distribution at the community-level at an affordable price. PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc chaired the meeting. Mr M Iqbal, Chairman, IMR Enterprise Limited, who has specialization in setting up saline water treatment plants in the coastal areas shared his experiences and observation. The senior officials of PKSF, the executive heads and officials of various Partner Organizations involved in setting up RO water plants attended the meeting.
Meeting on ‘Environmental Management Guidelines for Poultry Farms’
The Environment and Climate Change Unit of PKSF arranged a virtual consultation meeting on ‘Environmental Management Guidelines for Poultry Farm’ on 31 January 2022. Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF, chaired the meeting. PKSF’s Additional Managing Director Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed and other senior officials joined the meeting. The officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; Department of Environment; Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI); Bangladesh Agricultural University; Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; Patuakhali University of Science and Technology; and PKSF’s Partner Organizations attended the meeting. A total of 40 experts, including representatives of poultry companies were also present in the meeting.
PKSF MD Visits PKSF Activities in Chapainawabganj
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF, inspected various field-level activities of PKSF in Chapainawabganj on 16 January 2022. PKSF’s Deputy General Manager Md Ashraful Haque, Assistant General Manager Md Manir Hussain and Program Development Officer Md Golam Rabbani accompanied Dr Halder. Md Hasib Hossain, Executive Director of Proyas Manobik Unnayan Society, a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF, was also present there.
During the visit, the PKSF Managing Director visited different farm and off-farm activities under ENRICH, LIFT, Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Program, and Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP). She exchanged views with the members of the disadvantaged Harijan and Santal communities. She talked to about 150 members of the ethnic minority communities.
Dr Halder visited a health camp under the ENRICH program at Nezampur Union in Nachol upazila and exchanged views with the doctors, health workers and patients. She handed over wheelchairs to three ailing elderly persons and had a meeting with the members of ‘Youth in Development’ component under the ENRICH program.
She visited a tea stall of Md Tabzul Haque, formerly a beggar who has not been rehabilitated through the ENRICH program, at Dogachhi in Nezampur Union. She later inspected a sheep breeding farm established under the LIFT program in Mayapukur.
Dr Halder visited an ecological fruit garden at Amarak in Gobartala Union, a vermicompost production center, and an aquarium fish and eel fish breeding center under the SEP.
Later, she joined a meeting to exchange views with members of two microcredit groups of ethnic minority people at Nadhai in Gobratala Union. Members of the Santal community there are getting various financial (grants and flexible loans) and technical services for vegetables and cereal crop cultivation, cattle rearing, fish farming etc.
Dr Halder also joined a program on a community radio station, where she spoke about her own adolescent years, education, and work life.
PKSF Managing Director visits southern coastal districts, expresses satisfaction at PKSF activities
PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder, ndc, undertook a five-day visit in Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts to inspect various field activities being implemented under different PKSF projects and programs aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of the disadvantaged people at the grassroots.
The different projects and programs, which she visited the activities of during the 26-30 December 2021 tour, include PKSF’s Agriculture Unit, LIFT, PPEPP project and SEP project.
PKSF’s partner organizations Uddipan, HEED Bangladesh, Nowabenki Gonomukhi Foundation (NGF), Unnayan Procheshta and Unnayan are implementing these projects and programs with financial and technical support from PKSF.
PPEPP Project Director and PKSF General Manager Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury and General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman accompanied the MD during the visit.
Launched in 2019, the PPEPP project is now delivering a wide range of livelihoods, nutrition and community mobilization support to extremely poor households in nearly 150 selected Unions of three climate-vulnerable regions.
Dr Halder visited a range of farm and off-farm activities of the PPEPP project, including goat and sheep rearing, fish culture, chicken and duck rearing, homestead gardening, tailoring training, and fishing gear and mat making. She also visited various platforms formed under the project, including Prosperity Village Committee (PVC), Mother and Child Forum, and Adolescent Girls Club where she learned about the challenges the local communities face.
During the visit, she unveiled the foundation plaques of two Reverse Osmosis water plants in Khulna and Satkhira where potable water is scarce due to salinity. She also distributed rain water harvesting tanks among PPEPP members who suffer from the shortage of potable water, also due to salinity.
She distributed assistive equipment like wheel chairs, crutches and hearing aids to persons with disabilities, who are often excluded from mainstream growth and job.
The PKSF team inspected a range of interventions of PKSF’s Agriculture Unit that include summer tomato cultivation, safe vegetable cultivation using pheromone trap, ornamental fish and bird farming.
PKSF Managing Director visited a semi-intensive sheep breeding farm and a Reverse Osmosis water plant funded by LIFT, which is a core PKSF program. She inspected dairy clusters, milk value chain activities, vermicompost production and other activities under the LIFT program and SEP project.
The MD attended a session of adolescent girls club formed under PKSF’s Program for Adolescents being implemented by Uddipan.
Expressing her satisfaction at PKSF’s field activities in remote areas, Dr Halder stressed the need for making PKSF services even more accessible to marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society.
PKSF Welcomes 2022
With the eventful 2021 having gone by, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) welcomed the new year, 2022, with renewed commitment to do more good for the people and the disadvantaged.
To mark the occasion, a joyous event was held at PKSF on 02 January in the presence of all PKSF staff members. All employees of PKSF were present in the program. Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder NDC wished a very happy and healthy new year to all.
Additional Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin and Senior Deputy Managing Director Mr Golam Touhid also delivered speeches wishing all a prosperous year ahead. Dr Md Jashim Uddin, on behalf of PKSF staff, wished Merry Christmas to the Managing Director.
In the same event, PKSF bade farewell to Professor Shafi Ahmed who had served as Senior Editorial Adviser at PKSF since 2013.
Training on ‘Quality Implementation of Adaptation Project’
PKSF arranged a 4-day training on ‘Quality Implementation of Adaptation Project’ under GCF-Readiness Support Project from 19-22 December 2021 at the Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura. A total of 75 officers of the implementing entities of the ECCCP-Flood project attended the training. PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session of the training while Mr Khalil Ahmed, Director General, RDA was the Special Guest. The session was chaired by Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF. Officials from PKSF’s Environment and Climate Change Unit and RDA conducted various training sessions.
World Bank Vice President lauds SEP activities
Mr Hartwig Schafer, Vice President, South Asia Region, The World Bank visited the footwear microenterprise cluster at Bhairab in Kishoreganj on 8 December 2021. He was accompanied by Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF); Ms Mercy Miyang Tembon, Country Director, The World Bank; Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director, PKSF and other representatives from government bodies, The World Bank and project-implementing Partner Organizations of PKSF.
Under the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP), co-financed by The World Bank, PKSF is supporting the footwear microenterprises in Bhairab where around 200,000 pairs of footwear are manufactured a day. Bhairab is home to more than 10,000 footwear microenterprises, employing over 120,000 people.
Mr Hartwig Schafer and the other member delegates visited the SEP-sponsored common service center to support the footwear microenterprises in Bhairab. They spoke to the service providers and learned about the services there. Later, they also talked to some of the SEP-supported micro-entrepreneurs.
In a discussion session that followed, PKSF Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc made the welcome remarks. She said, “PKSF, in addition to its inclusive financing interventions, is providing capacity building, technology transfer, value chain development and other technical services to help the low-income people get out of the vicious cycle of low productivity. Additionally, like in all other working areas, PKSF through the SEP is ensuring safe environment for female workers here too … By promoting decent workplace, we want to ensure that businesses become not only good but sustainable as well … We want to eradicate poverty not only by lending money but also by creating employment opportunities in a sustainable way … It is also very inspiring to see how a common service facility can be helpful to a business community which does not have much access to necessary modern technical support. Money alone cannot solve problems. It requires commitment and partnership like we have between The World Bank and PKSF.”
Expressing satisfaction at the SEP’s role in sustainable expansion of the footwear-manufacturing microenterprises, Mr Hartwig Schafer said, “It is great to see what can be done when you empower communities. I am very grateful for what has been done here by PKSF.”
Appreciating the effort and enthusiasm of the female micro-entrepreneurs, Ms Mercy Miyang Tembon said, “I am very happy to meet the women who are not only working for themselves but also employing other women. This is why SEP is very important. PKSF is doing a wonderful job as they are doing it all over the country.’
Mr Fazlul Kader presented on the SEP’s interventions with particular focus on the footwear-producing cluster.
To assist the microenterprises of Bangladesh in enhancing their marketing and brand development capacity and adopting environmentally sustainable practices, PKSF is implementing the SEP, jointly financed by PKSF and The World Bank with support from the government of Bangladesh. The total budget of this five-year project is USD 130 million, of which the World Bank and PKSF will finance USD 110 million and USD 20 million respectively.
To implement the project, the lead business clusters, based in the lead sub-sectors of the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, are provided with financial and technical support. A total of 64 sub-projects have been undertaken from 30 different sub-sectors under the project.
People’s Oriented Program Implementation (POPI), a partner organization of PKSF, is implementing one of the sub-projects, titled ‘Establishing Environmental Practices in Hazardous Footwear Microenterprises in Bhairab, Bangladesh’ in Kishoreganj to support 1,100 microenterprises to adopt environmentally sustainable practices at their businesses. Additionally, SEP extends services like software-based footwear designs under footwear-making common service, cluster-based waste management, cluster-based WASH facilities, hand-made brand promotion, e-commerce branding.
Other members of the visiting delegation included Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, SEP & Deputy General Manager, PKSF; Mr Murshed Alam Sarker, Executive Director, People’s Oriented Program Implementation (POPI); Eun Joo Allison Yi, Senior Environmental Specialist, SSAEN and TTL, SEP; Christian Berger, Senior Agriculture Economist, SSAA1, TTL MFSFP; Jacob Finnemann Viuff, Security Specialist, GCSGO.
পরমুখাপেক্ষী না হয়ে জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবিলায় নিজেদেরই পদক্ষেপ নিতে হবে
কপ-২৬ বিষয়ক বিশেষ সাক্ষাৎকারে ড. কাজী খলীকুজ্জমান আহমদ
[অর্থনীতিবিদ, উন্নয়নচিন্তক ও পরিবেশকর্মী ড. কাজী খলীকুজ্জমান আহমদ ১৯৪০-এর দশকের গোড়ার দিকে সিলেটে জন্মগ্রহণ করেন। ষাটের দশকে তিনি ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় থেকে অর্থনীতিতে স্নাতকোত্তর সম্পন্ন করেন। পরে একই বিষয়ে পিএইচডি করেন যুক্তরাজ্যের লন্ডন স্কুল অব ইকোনমিক্স অ্যান্ড পলিটিক্যাল সায়েন্স (এলএসই) থেকে। দীর্ঘ পাঁচ দশকের অধিক সময় ধরে তিনি গবেষণা, জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন ও মানবকেন্দ্রিক উন্নয়ন নিয়ে কাজ করছেন। বর্তমানে তিনি ঢাকা স্কুল অব ইকোনমিক্সেরও গভর্নিং কাউন্সিলের চেয়ারম্যান এবং অনারারি ডিরেক্টর। একই সঙ্গে তিনি পল্লী কর্ম-সহায়ক ফাউন্ডেশন (পিকেএসএফ)-এর চেয়ারম্যান। এছাড়া, তিনি বাংলাদেশ উন্নয়ন পরিষদের প্রতিষ্ঠাতা চেয়ারম্যান, বাংলাদেশ অর্থনীতি সমিতির সাবেক সভাপতি এবং বিআইডিএস-এর সাবেক গবেষণা পরিচালক। তিনি ৪০টির বেশি বই লিখেছেন ও সম্পাদনা করেছেন। দেশে-বিদেশে তার প্রায় তিনশত গবেষণাভিত্তিক প্রবন্ধ প্রকাশিত হয়েছে। এগুলো প্রায় সবই মানবকেন্দ্রিক উন্নয়ন ও অর্থনীতি, মানবিকতা ও মুক্তিযুদ্ধের চেতনায় দেশকে এগিয়ে নেয়া বিষয়ক। তিনি ২০০৯ সালে দারিদ্র্য বিমোচনে গবেষণা ও বাস্তবভিত্তিক গুরুত্বপূর্ণ অবদান রাখার জন্য একুশে পদক পান, ২০১৯ সালে বাংলাদেশের সর্বোচ্চ বেসামরিক সম্মাননা ‘স্বাধীনতা পুরস্কার’ এবং একই বছর বাংলাদেশ সরকারের ‘জাতীয় পরিবেশ পদক’ পান। এক সঙ্গে সর্বোচ্চ তিনটি সম্মানে ভূষিত মুক্তিযোদ্ধা ড. কাজী খলীকুজ্জমান আহমদ এবার স্কটল্যান্ডের গ্লাসগোতে অনুষ্ঠিত জলবায়ু সম্মেলনে অংশ নেন। তিনি ২০০৯ থেকে ২০১৫ সাল পর্যন্ত জাতিসংঘ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন সংক্রান্ত কনভেনশন ইউএনএফসিসি-এর আওতায় জলবায়ু সম্মেলনে বাংলাদেশের নেগোসিয়েশন দলের সমন্বয়ক হিসেবে দক্ষতার সঙ্গে কাজ করেন।
এই সম্মেলন নিয়ে তাঁর সঙ্গে কথা বলেছেন গবেষক ও শিক্ষক শারমিনুর নাহার]
প্রশ্নকারী: আপনি প্রায় প্রতিবারই জলবায়ু সম্মেলনে অংশ নিয়েছেন, এবার জলবায়ু সম্মেলনের ইতিবাচক দিকগুলো কী?
খলীকুজ্জমান: আমি ২০০৯ থেকে ২০১৫ পর্যন্ত প্রতি সম্মেলনে বাংলাদেশের নেগোসিয়েশন দলের সমন্বয়ক হিসেবে অংশগ্রহণ করেছি। এবার, ৩১ অক্টোবর থেকে ১২ নভেম্বর ২০২১ পর্যন্ত অনুষ্ঠিত আন্তর্জাতিক জলবায়ু সম্মেলন ছিল কপ-২৬ অর্থাৎ এর আগে ২৫টি কপ বা আন্তর্জাতিক জলবায়ু সম্মেলন হয়েছে। এই ২৬তম সম্মেলন হবার কথা ছিল ২০২০ সালে। করোনার কারণে হয়নি। ২০২০ সাল ছাড়া ১৯৯৫ সালে থেকে প্রতি বছরই এরকম জলবায়ু সংক্রান্ত বিশ্ব সম্মেলন হয়েছে। ১৯৯২ সালে ব্রাজিলের রিও ডি জেনেইরোতে প্রথম ধরিত্রী সম্মেলন অনুষ্ঠিত হয়। সেই সম্মেলনে ইউএনএফসিসি গৃহীত হয়। তাতে শুধুমাত্র গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস কমানোর বিষয়টা অন্তর্ভুক্ত ছিল। ২০০৭ সালে ইন্দোনেশিয়ার বালিতে যে সম্মেলন (কপ-১৩) অনুষ্ঠিত হয়, সেখানে গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমানোর বিষয়ের সঙ্গে আরো কিছু বিষয় যুক্ত করা হয়। সেগুলো হলো: অভিযোজন, অর্থায়ন, প্রযুক্তি ও দক্ষতা উন্নয়ন। এরপর থেকে প্রতিটি সম্মেলনে এই বিষয়গুলো ঘিরে আলোচনা হচ্ছে, এবং সময় সময় যুক্ত করা হয়েছে সংশ্লিষ্ট অন্যান্য বিষয়। কিছু ইতিবাচক, কিছু নেতিবাচক ধাঁচে আলোচনাগুলো এগিয়ে চলছে। ২০১০ সালে কোপেনহেগেন (কপ-১৫) সম্মেলনে একটি চুক্তি হওয়ার কথা থাকলেও হয়নি। একটি ১২ দফা বিশিষ্ট সমঝোতা (accord) গৃহীত হয়। উল্লেখ্য, তদানীন্তন বাংলাদেশ পরিবেশমন্ত্রী ড. হাছান মাহমুদ এবং আমি অন্যান্য দেশের প্রতিনিধিদের সঙ্গে ঐ সমঝোতা দলিলের খসড়া তৈরিতে যুক্ত ছিলাম। ২০১৫ সালে প্যারিস চুক্তিতে ঐ ১২টি দফা গুরুত্বপূর্ণ ধারণা ও দিকনির্দেশক হিসেবে কাজ করেছে। কোপেনহেগেনে গৃহীত সমঝোতায় প্রথম শিল্প বিপ্লবের পূর্বের তুলনায় এই শতাব্দীর শেষ নাগাদ পৃথিবী ১.৫ ডিগ্রী সেলসিয়াস বেশি উষ্ণতায় সীমাবদ্ধ রাখার কথা বলা হয়। প্যারিস চুক্তিতে অবশ্য লক্ষ্য ২ ডিগ্রি থেকে অনেক নিচে এবং সম্ভব হলে ১.৫ ডিগ্রি উষ্ণায়নের লক্ষ্য নির্ধারণ করা হয়।
এবারের সম্মেলনে প্যারিস চুক্তির লক্ষ্য, মূলত ১.৫ ডিগ্রি লক্ষ্যের পক্ষে মতৈক্য লক্ষণীয়। তবে, এখনই উষ্ণায়ন ১.১ ডিগ্রীতে পৌঁছে গেছে। কাজেই শতাব্দী শেষে তা ১.৫ ডিগ্রীতে সীমিত রাখা প্রায় অসম্ভব বলে আমার ধারণা। মনে হয় সব দেশ অত্যন্ত উদ্বেগজনক বর্তমান বাস্তবতা এবং সম্ভাব্য ভয়ংকর ভবিষ্যতের কথা মোটামুটি উপলব্ধি করতে পারছে এবং ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণে আগ্রহ দেখাচ্ছে। তাই গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস আরো দ্রুত কমানোর জন্য আগামী বছরগুলোতে আরো আলোচনা করতে এবং গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমানোর প্রক্রিয়া আরো জোরদার করতে আগ্রহ প্রকাশ করেছে। এবারই প্রথম কয়লা ও জীবাশ্ম জ্বালানির ব্যবহার কমানোর বিষয়টি গৃহীত প্যাক্ট-এ অন্তর্ভুক্ত করা হয়েছে। বনাঞ্চল ও ভূমির অবনমন ২০৩০ সালের পর আর ঘটতে দেয়া হবে না, এরকম মতও প্রকাশ করা হয়েছে।
প্রশ্নকারী: কার্বন নিঃসরণের পরিমাণ ক্রমাগত বাড়ছে এবং পৃথিবী ক্রমাগত উষ্ণতর হচ্ছে, এর ফলাফল সম্পর্কে জানতে চাই।
খলীকুজ্জমান: এর ক্ষতিগুলো বা কুফল কেবল বাংলাদেশ নয়, পুরো পৃথিবীর মানুষ প্রত্যক্ষ করছে। উন্নত দেশগুলোতেও প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগ বাড়ছে। যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে হারিকেন (ঘূর্ণিঝড়) ঘটছে প্রচুর এবং অনেক সময় অনেক শক্তিশালীভাবে – ক্যাটাগরি ৪ বা তারও বেশি। আগে এমনটি ছিল না। জার্মানি ও যুক্তরাজ্যে ব্যাপক বন্যা এবং চীনে বিধ্বংসী বন্যা সাম্প্রতিক বছরগুলোতে ব্যাপকভাবে আঘাত হেনেছে। মূলত পৃথিবীর বিভিন্ন অঞ্চলে বন্যা, ঘূর্ণিঝড়, খরা ও অন্যান্য প্রকৃতির দুর্যোগ আগের থেকে ঘন ঘন এবং অধিক বিধ্বংসীরূপে ঘটছে। বাংলাদেশেও ঘূর্ণিঝড়, বন্যা, খরা এবং বিশেষ করে লবণাক্ততার অনুপ্রবেশ এবং নদী ভাঙ্গন খুবই উদ্বেগজনক হারে বাড়ছে। কোনো কোনো স্থানে লবণাক্ততা ১০০ কিলোমিটার পর্যন্ত দেশের অভ্যন্তরে ঢুকে যাচ্ছে। অসংখ্য মানুষ নদীভাঙ্গন ও লবণাক্ততার কারণে উদ্বাস্তু হচ্ছে। ইতোমধ্যেই লবণাক্ততার কারণে সুপেয় পানির সংকটে পড়েছে উপকূলীয় এলাকাসমূহের অসংখ্য মানুষ। এই সংকট বেড়েই চলেছে। উজান থেকে পলিমাটি এসে অনেক নদীর তলদেশ ভরাট হওয়ার ফলে বন্যার প্রকোপ বেড়েছে।
লবণাক্ততা অনুপ্রবেশ ও জলোচ্ছ্বাসের অভিঘাত সামলাতে বেড়িবাঁধসমূহের প্রয়োজনীয় সংস্কার ও অনেক ক্ষেত্রে উঁচু করা প্রয়োজন। কিন্তু তা খুবই ব্যয় সাপেক্ষ। বিলিয়ন বিলিয়ন ডলারের প্রয়োজন, যা সংগ্রহ করা দুরূহ ব্যাপার। উল্লেখ্য, জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন আরো খারাপ রূপ নিতে থাকলে অনেক ছোট ছোট দ্বীপরাষ্ট্র খুবই ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হবে, অনেকগুলো হারিয়ে যেতে পারে।
প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগের কারণে অন্য দেশগুলোর তুলনায় বাংলাদেশ বেশি ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হবে দেশটির জনঘনত্বের কারণে। বাংলাদেশ বিশেষভাবে জলবায়ু-ভঙ্গুর একটি দেশ। তাছাড়া, বাংলাদেশ অত্যন্ত ঘনবসতিপূর্ণ একটি দেশ। এখানে প্রতি বর্গকিলোমিটারে ১,২০০ জনের মত মানুষ বাস করে। উল্লেখ্য, প্রতি বর্গকিলোমিটারে ভারতে ৪২৪ জন, পাকিস্তানে ২৮০ জন, ভিয়েতনামে ২৯৬ জন, মার্কিন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে ৩৬ জন এবং রাশিয়ায় মাত্র ৯ জন মানুষ বাস করে। ফলে আমাদের সমস্যা কতখানি গুরুতর, তা সহজেই অনুমান করা যায়। একই মাত্রার প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগে অন্যান্য দেশের তুলনায় বাংলাদেশে অনেক বেশি মানুষ ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হবে।
যদি আগামী ৮/১০ বছরের মধ্যে পৃথিবীর উন্নত দেশগুলো ও বেশি গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণকারী উন্নয়নশীল দেশসমূহ বৈজ্ঞানিক দিকনির্দেশনা অনুযায়ী আরো দ্রুত গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ না কমায় এবং জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন অনিয়ন্ত্রিতভাবে খারাপের দিকে যেতে থাকে, তাহলে বাংলাদেশের মতো দেশগুলো অভিযোজনক্ষম না-ও থাকতে পারে।
প্রশ্নকারী: এতখানি সমস্যার মধ্যেও কপ-২৬-এ নতুন কোনো পদক্ষেপ নেয়া হয়নি?
খলীকুজ্জমান: হয়েছে, আবার হয়নি। প্যারিস চুক্তিকে জাগিয়ে রাখা হয়েছে। প্যারিস চুক্তির সময় গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমানোর যে অঙ্গীকার পৃথিবীর সব দেশ মিলে করেছিল, তার সবকিছু বাস্তবায়িত হলেও এই শতাব্দীর শেষ নাগাদ পৃথিবী ৩.৭ ডিগ্রি সেলসিয়াস উষ্ণতর হতো বলে হিসেব করা হয়েছিল। এবার যে সমস্ত অঙ্গীকার সব দেশ মিলে করেছে, তার সবকিছু বাস্তবায়িত হলে পৃথিবী এই শতাব্দীর শেষ নাগাদ ২ দশমিক ৪ ডিগ্রি উষ্ণতর হবে। এটি নিশ্চয়ই কিছু অগ্রগতি, তবে এই উষ্ণতাও খুবই গুরুতর। এর ফলে, বিশ্বের অনেক দেশের অবস্থা লণ্ডভণ্ড হয়ে যাবে, অনেক ছোট ছোট দ্বীপ রাষ্ট্র সমুদ্রে তলিয়ে যেতে পারে। তবে, সব দেশ একমত হয়েছে যে তারা আগামী বছর এবং তার পরের বছরগুলোয় এ বিষয়ে আরো আলোচনা করবে এবং নিঃসরণ আরো কমাতে পারবে বলে আশাবাদী। তবে কথা থেকেই যায়। অঙ্গীকারগুলো কি আসলে বাস্তবায়িত হবে? সুনির্দিষ্ট পদক্ষেপ ও কার্যকর বাস্তবায়ন নিশ্চিত করার ক্ষেত্রে অসচ্ছতা রয়ে গেছে। আগামী ৮/১০ বছর খুবই গুরুত্বপূর্ণ। এই সময়ে নিঃসরণ বিজ্ঞান নির্দেশিত পরিমাণে দ্রুত বাস্তবে কমাতে হবে। অন্যথায় জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন নিয়ন্ত্রণের বাইরে চলে যাবে।
গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমানোর পদ্ধতি সম্বন্ধে কয়লার ব্যবহার কমানো ও জীবাশ্ম জ্বালানিতে অদক্ষ ভর্তুকি তুলে নেয়ার কথা বলা হয়েছে। প্রকৃতপক্ষে এ ধরনের কথার বাস্তব প্রতিফলন কী হতে পারে, তা মোটেই পরিষ্কার নয়।
এছাড়া, বনাঞ্চল ধ্বংস ও ভূমির অবনমন রোধের কথাও বলেছে ১০০-এর অধিক দেশ। তবে, এক্ষেত্রে কোন দেশ কীভাবে তা বাস্তবায়ন করবে, সেটা বলা হয়নি। এবার এ বিষয়গুলো নতুনভাবে আলোচনায় এসেছে। ধরা যেতে পারে, আগামীতে করণীয় আরো পরিষ্কার করা হবে এবং বাস্তব পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণে উদ্যোগ গ্রহণ করা হবে। এ বিষয়গুলো আলোচনায় আসায় খানিকটা আশার আলো দেখা যাচ্ছে। তবে কী হতে পারে, তা এখন বলা যাচ্ছে না। আদৌ কোনো অগ্রগতি হবে কিনা, তা আগামী বা তার পরের কপ থেকে হয়তো জানা যাবে।
প্রশ্নকারী: নিট-শূন্য (Net-zero) প্রসঙ্গে কিছু বলুন।
খলীকুজ্জমান: নিট-শূন্য প্রসঙ্গে কোনো দেশ বলেছে ২০৫০ সালে সেই অবস্থায় পৌঁছাবে, কোনো দেশ বলছে ২০৬০ বা ২০৭০ সালে পৌঁছাবে। নিট-শূন্য মানে একটি নির্দিষ্ট সময়ে (ধরা যাক, এক বছরে) যতোটা গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ করা হবে, ততোটা সরিয়ে নেয়ার ব্যবস্থা করা হবে। উদাহরণ: ১০০ ইউনিট যদি নিঃসরণ করা হয়, তাহলে সেটা বনাঞ্চল, কার্বন ক্যাপচার ইত্যাদি ব্যবস্থায় পৃথিবীতেই ধরে রাখা হবে, বায়ুমণ্ডলে যাবে না। উল্লিখিত নিট-শূন্যে পৌঁছার প্রাক্কলিত সময় এখনো অনেক দূরের ব্যাপার। ইন্টারগভর্নমেন্টাল প্যানেল অন ক্লাইমেট চেঞ্জ (আইপিসিসি)-এর সর্বশেষ প্রতিবেদনে বলা হয়েছে যে আমাদের হাতে আর বেশি সময় নেই। বলা হয়েছে, এখন গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস যতোটা বায়ুমণ্ডলে পুঞ্জিভূত আছে তা বিগত দুই মিলিয়ন বছরে সর্বোচ্চ। দ্বিতীয়ত বলা হয়েছে, ২০৩০ থেকে ২০৪০ সালের মধ্যে পৃথিবী ১.৫ ডিগ্রি সেলসিয়াস উষ্ণতর হয়ে যেতে পারে। কাজেই আগামী ৮/৯ বছর খুব গুরুত্বপূর্ণ। এখনই গ্রিন হাউজ নিঃসরণ লক্ষ্যমাত্রা দ্রুত বাড়িয়ে তা দ্রুত বাস্তবায়ন করতে হবে, বিশেষ করে উন্নত দেশগুলোকে এবং বেশি বেশি গ্রিন হাউজ নিঃসরণকারী বড় বড় উন্নয়নশীল দেশগুলোকে। অন্যান্য দেশকেও যার যার সক্ষমতা অনুযায়ী এক্ষেত্রে ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করতে হবে।
প্রশ্নকারী: বাংলাদেশ এ ব্যাপারে কী প্রতিশ্রুতি দিয়েছে?
খলীকুজ্জমান: বাংলাদেশের গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণের পরিমাণ অতি সামান্য। আমরা বছরে মাথাপিছু যে পরিমাণ গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ করি, তা হচ্ছে এক টনের এক তৃতীয়াংশের মতো এবং উন্নয়নশীল সব দেশের বার্ষিক গড় মাথাপিছু নিঃসরণের ৭ ভাগের ১ ভাগ। আর যদি পৃথিবীতে বার্ষিক যতো গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ করা হয় তা বিবেচনায় নেই, তাহলে বাংলাদেশের অংশ মাত্র ০.৪৭ শতাংশ। অপরদিকে, বার্ষিক মাথাপিছু নিঃসরণ ভারতে ১ দশমিক ৮ টন, চীনে ৭ দশমিক ৪ টন, যুক্তরাজ্যে ৫ দশমিক ৪ টন এবং যুক্তরাষ্ট্রে ১৫ দশমিক ২ টন। সুতরাং আমরা তেমন কিছুই নিঃসরণ করি না। তারপরেও আমরা অঙ্গীকার করেছি সকলের সঙ্গে তাল মিলিয়ে সাধ্যমত গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমাবো। আমরা অঙ্গীকার করেছি, ২০৩০ সাল নাগাদ প্রথাগতভাবে চলতে থাকলে যতোটুকু নিঃসরণ করা হতো, তা থেকে ৬ দশমিক ৭৩ শতাংশ নিজেরাই কমাবো জ্বালানি, যোগাযোগ ও শিল্পখাতে এবং আরো ১৫ দশমিক ২ শতাংশ কমাবো যদি প্রয়োজনীয় আর্থিক ও প্রযুক্তিগত সহায়তা পাই। জলবায়ু-ভঙ্গুর দেশগুলোর ফোরাম (Climate Vulnerable Countries Forum)-এর বর্তমান সভাপতি বাংলাদেশের প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনা আমাদের বাস্তবতা জোরালোভাবে তুলে ধরেছেন এবং গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ, জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলায় অর্থায়ন ও অন্যান্য সংশ্লিষ্ট বিষয়সমূহের দায়িত্বশীল ও বিজ্ঞানভিত্তিক পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করার জন্য উন্নত বিশ্বের প্রতি জোরালো আহ্বান জানিয়েছেন।
প্রশ্নকারী: কমানোর ক্ষেত্রে পদক্ষেপগুলো কী?
খলীকুজ্জমান: রেলগাড়ি, মোটরগাড়ি, সম্ভাব্য ক্ষেত্রে বিমান বিদ্যুতে চালানো। বিদ্যুৎ উৎপাদনে কয়লা ও জীবাশ্ম জ্বালানির ব্যবহার কমানো এবং উৎপাদন ও ভোগ প্রক্রিয়ায় গ্রিন হাউজ নিঃসরণধর্মী ব্যবস্থা বর্জন বা দ্রুত হ্রাস করা। অর্থনীতি এবং জীবনযাপন ব্যবস্থা সবুজায়নে দ্রুত প্রয়োজনীয় ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করা। কয়লার ব্যবহার এখনো ব্যাপকভাবে চলছে পৃথিবীর বিভিন্ন দেশে, যেমন যুক্তরাষ্ট্র, চীন, ভারত, ইউরোপের ও অন্যান্য অঞ্চলের বিভিন্ন দেশ। বাংলাদেশের উৎপাদিত মোট বিদ্যুতের মাত্র এক শতাংশ কয়লাভিত্তিক, কাজেই বাংলাদেশের এক্ষেত্রে কিছু করার নাই। আগেই উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমিয়ে আনার ক্ষেত্রে কিছু অঙ্গীকার ও দিকনির্দেশনা কপ-২৬ থেকে পাওয়া গেছে। তবে আগামী কপ-এ বা তারপর কী সিদ্ধান্ত ও অঙ্গীকার আসে এবং বাস্তবায়নে কেমন কার্যকর ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করা হয়, তার ওপর নির্ভর করবে পৃথিবীর মানুষ ও পৃথিবী ঘুরে দাঁড়াচ্ছে, নাকি ধ্বংসের পথে এগিয়ে চলবে।
প্রশ্নকারী: বাংলাদেশে জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের অভিঘাত মোকাবেলা করার ক্ষেত্রে নতুন কোনো পরিকল্পনা হলো কি?
খলীকুজ্জমান: কপ-২৬-এ কী ঘটেছে তার কিছুটা আঁচ দিলাম এতোক্ষণ। বাংলাদেশে আমাদের নিজেদের পরিকল্পনা ও কার্যক্রম আছে। বাংলাদেশ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন কৌশলপত্র ও কর্মপরিকল্পনা, বাংলাদেশ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন ট্রাস্ট, দুর্যোগ ব্যবস্থাপনা এবং দুর্যোগ মোকাবেলায় অর্থায়ন, পঞ্চবার্ষিক পরিকল্পনায় এ বিষয়ে তাগিদ, বার্ষিক বাজেট থেকে ট্রাস্ট ফান্ডে অর্থ প্রদান ছাড়াও বিভিন্ন মন্ত্রণালয়ের জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলা সংক্রান্ত কর্মকাণ্ড পরিচালনার জন্য অর্থ বরাদ্দসহ বিভিন্ন ব্যবস্থা ও কার্যক্রম চলমান আছে। ২০২০ রাজস্ব বছরে বাংলাদেশ বাজেট থেকে প্রায় পাঁচ বিলিয়ন মার্কিন ডলারের সমপরিমাণ টাকা জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলায় বিভিন্ন পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণের জন্য বরাদ্দ ছিল। অনেক প্রকল্প বাস্তবায়িত হচ্ছে। কোনো কোনো ক্ষেত্রে বাস্তবায়নে ব্যাপক ঘাটতি পরিলক্ষিত হয়। তা নিরসন জরুরি। অগ্রাধিকার নির্ধারণেও নজর খুব কম দেয়া হয়েছে, হচ্ছে। এই দুর্বলতাগুলো দূর করতে পারলে সমস্যা সমাধানে অগ্রগতি আরো ভাল হবে।
তবে আসল কথা হচ্ছে আমাদের নিজেদের সম্পদ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলা সংক্রান্ত প্রয়োজনের তুলনায় খুবই কম, বিশেষ করে অভিযোজন ও জলবায়ু উদ্বাস্তুদের পুনর্বাসনের ক্ষেত্রে। লাগসই প্রযুক্তি সংকট ও দক্ষ জনবলের ঘাটতি রয়েছে। এসব ক্ষেত্রে আন্তর্জাতিক সহযোগিতা লাগবে। তা সংগ্রহ করার জন্য চেষ্টা অব্যাহত আছে। তবে, আশার আলো তেমন দেখা যাচ্ছে না। উন্নত দেশগুলো প্রতিশ্রুতি দিলেও অনেক সময় তা রক্ষা করে না। ২০০৯ সালে ১৫তম কপে উন্নত বিশ্ব প্রতিশ্রুতি দিয়েছিল যে, ২০২০ সাল থেকে প্রতি বছর তারা জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন মোকাবেলার জন্য বছরে ১০০ বিলিয়ন ডলার করে উন্নয়নশীল দেশগুলোকে দেবে। কিন্তু এখন ২০২১ সাল, তাদের হিসেবেই দেখা যাচ্ছে তারা এ পর্যন্ত দিয়েছে ৮০ বিলিয়ন ডলার। যদিও অন্যান্য হিসেবে তা অনেক কম। এখন তারা বলছে, ২০২৩ সালে অর্থায়নের পরিমাণ বছরে ১০০ বিলিয়ন ডলারে উন্নীত করবে। প্রথম এ ক্ষেত্রে প্রতিশ্রুতি তারা দিয়েছিল ১২ বছর আগে। এখন উন্নয়নশীল দেশগুলোর দাবি হলো, ২০২৫ সালের মধ্যে ৫০০ বিলিয়ন ডলার দিতে হবে। অর্থাৎ যে ১২০ বিলিয়ন বিগত দু’বছরে দেয়া হয়নি, তা পুষিয়ে দিতে হবে। এই দাবি পূরণ হবার সম্ভাবনা আছে বলে আমার মনে হয় না। আরো কথা ছিলো — এই অর্থায়নের অর্ধেক হবে প্রশমন (গ্রিন হাউজ নিঃসরণ কমানো) এবং অর্ধেক হবে অভিযোজনের জন্য। কিন্তু এযাবৎ যে অর্থ দেয়া হয়েছে, তার ৮০ শতাংশ প্রশমন এবং মাত্র ২০ শতাংশ অভিযোজনের জন্য। এই কপে অভিযোজনের জন্য অর্ধেক অর্থায়নের দাবি জোরালোভাবে উপস্থাপন করা হয়েছে। কিন্তু উন্নত বিশ্বের পক্ষ থেকে বলা হয়েছে যে তারা ২০২৩ সালে অভিযোজনের জন্য ২০১৯ যে পরিমাণ অর্থ দিয়েছিল তা দ্বিগুণ করা হবে। কিন্তু প্রথমত দ্বিগুণ করলেও তা পর্যাপ্ত নয়। আবার তারা যা বলছে সেটাও যে ঘটবে, তার কোনো নিশ্চয়তা নাই। অথচ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের কারণে বাংলাদেশের মত ক্রমবর্ধমানভাবে আক্রান্ত হয়ে পড়া দেশগুলোর প্রধান কাজ হচ্ছে অভিযোজন, অর্থাৎ আক্রান্ত মানুষকে, অর্থনীতিকে এবং অবকাঠামোকে পুনরুদ্ধার করা, পুনর্বাসন করা।
প্রশ্নকারী: ফান্ডিং নিয়ে প্রতিবারই অনেক বাকবিতণ্ডা হয়, এবারও হলো। কোনো ইতিবাচক পরিবর্তন এবার হয়েছে কি?
খলীকুজ্জমান: এ বিষয়ে বেশ কিছু কথা ইতোমধ্যেই বলেছি। আমাকে অনেকে প্রশ্ন করেন, বাংলাদেশ কী পেল? কিন্তু দেখুন, এখানে কোনো একক দেশকে কিছু দেয়া হয় না। বিষয়টা হল উন্নত দেশসমূহ উন্নয়নশীল দেশসমূহকে অর্থ দেয়। তবে তা দেয়া হয় বিভিন্ন প্রতিষ্ঠানের মাধ্যমে, যেমন গ্রিন ক্লাইমেট ফান্ড (জিসিএফ)। কোনো দেশকে এসকল প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে টাকা আনতে হলে প্রকল্প দিতে হয়। তাই বাংলাদেশকে টাকা আনতে হলে ভালো প্রকল্প প্রস্তুত করে জমা দিতে হবে। এই প্রক্রিয়া খুব কঠিন ও দীর্ঘসূত্রী। একটা প্রকল্প সম্বন্ধে সিদ্ধান্ত গ্রহণে কখনো ২ থেকে ৩ বছর লেগে যায়। প্রথমে প্রকল্পটি পরামর্শকদের কাছে দেয়া হয়, তারা সম্ভাব্যতা যাচাইকল্পে নানা প্রশ্ন উত্থাপন করে। অনেক ক্ষেত্রে দেখা যায় প্রশ্ন উত্থাপন করার জন্যই তা করা হয়, আসলে অপ্রয়োজনীয়। আবার কখনো একই প্রশ্ন বিভিন্নভাবে বার বার উত্থাপন করা হয়। এসব করতে করতে দেখা যায় যদি প্রকল্প শেষ পর্যন্ত গৃহীত হয় এবং ফান্ড পাওয়া যায় তখন সমস্যা কয়েকগুণ বেড়ে গেছে। তখন সেই টাকায় আর তেমন কিছু হয় না। এটা নিয়ে কপ ২৬-এ খুব জোরালো আলোচনা হয়েছে। বিষয়টি বিবেচনা করা হবে বলে প্রতিশ্রুতি দেয়া হয়েছে, জানি না কতদূর কী হবে।
বাংলাদেশ জিসিএফ থেকে এ পর্যন্ত সামান্য টাকা পেয়েছে। দু’ভাবে টাকা আনার ব্যবস্থা আছে। একটি হচ্ছে আন্তর্জাতিক কোনো সংস্থার (ইউএনডিপি, কেএফডব্লিউ ইত্যাদি) মাধ্যমে অথবা দেশি কোনো সংস্থা যদি জিসিএফ-এর ডিএই (Direct access entity) হিসেবে স্বীকৃতি পায় তার মাধ্যমে। বাংলাদেশে দু’টি প্রতিষ্ঠান ডিএই হিসেবে স্বীকৃত: পল্লী কর্ম-সহায়ক ফাউন্ডেশন (পিকেএসএফ) ও ইডকল। এ পর্যন্ত বাংলাদেশ আন্তর্জাতিক কয়েকটি সংস্থা ও পিকেএসএফ-এর মাধ্যমে অনুদান হিসাবে মাত্র ১০০ মিলিয়ন ডলারের মতো পেয়েছে। অবশ্য এর সঙ্গে নিজেদের একটি নির্দিষ্ট পরিমাণ অর্থ ব্যয় করতে হবে (অর্থাৎ কো-ফাইন্যান্সিং-এর ভিত্তিতে অনুদান পাওয়া যায়) এবং ইডকল-এর মাধ্যমে ছয় মিলিয়ন অনুদান এবং ২৫০ মিলিয়ন ঋণ পাওয়া গেছে। এ অর্থ অতি সামান্য, এমনকি বাংলাদেশ নিজেই যে অর্থ জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন খাতে ব্যয় করে তার তুলনায়ও, আর প্রয়োজনের তুলনায় তো নগণ্য বটেই। বিভিন্ন প্রকল্পের আওতায় আন্তর্জাতিক প্রতিষ্ঠান থেকে (বিশ্বব্যাংক, এশীয় উন্নয়ন ব্যাংক ইত্যাদি) এবং দ্বিপাক্ষিকভাবে বিভিন্ন দেশ থেকে আরো কিছু অর্থ পাওয়া যায়। কিন্তু সব মিলিয়ে বার্ষিক এক বিলিয়নও নয়। আগামীতে যে এক্ষেত্রে উল্লেখযোগ্য উন্নতি হবে তার কোনো সম্ভাবনা আছে বলে আমার মনে হয় না।
কাজেই আমাদের নিজেদের সম্পদ দক্ষতা ও ব্যবস্থাপনার মাধ্যমে অগ্রাধিকার নির্ধারণ করে সমস্যা মোকাবেলায় আরো তৎপর হতে হবে। পাশাপাশি, আন্তর্জাতিক পরিমণ্ডলে দেন-দরবার জোরদারভাবে চালিয়ে যেতে হবে সব গুরুত্বপূর্ণ বিষয়েই, বিশেষ করে দ্রুত ও পর্যাপ্ত গ্রিন হাউজ গ্যাস নিঃসরণ কমানোর ক্ষেত্রে উন্নত বিশ্বের ওপর চাপ অব্যাহত রাখতে হবে।
প্রশ্নকারী: কপ-এর বড় বড় সম্মেলনে বাস্তব সমাধান আসলে কেন আসে না?
খলীকুজ্জমান: দেখুন, এসব সম্মেলন এমনই। বিধি অনুযায়ী, কপ-এ অংশগ্রহণকারী সব দেশ একমত হলেই একটি সিদ্ধান্ত গৃহীত হতে পারে। কপ-২৬-এ ১৯৭টা দেশ অংশগ্রহণ করেছে। সব দেশ একমত হয়ে সিদ্ধান্ত গ্রহণ করা আসলেই কঠিন। লোকসংখ্যা যাই হোক বা উন্নয়নের স্তর যাই হোক, প্রত্যেক দেশের একটি ভোট। এখানে মেজরিটি দ্বারা সিদ্ধান্ত গ্রহণ করার কোনো সুযোগ নেই। এটাই প্রকৃত গণতান্ত্রিক প্রক্রিয়া। ফলে সব সময় সব কিছুতে সকলের কাছে গ্রহণযোগ্য সিদ্ধান্ত হয় না। কেউ না কেউ নারাজ হলে, কোনো প্রস্তাব বাতিল হবে বা আলাপ-আলোচনার মাধ্যমে সে দেশের মত পরিবর্তন করে প্রস্তাবে তার সমর্থন আদায় করতে হবে অথবা প্রস্তাবে পরিবর্তন করে সে দেশের মতের প্রতি সম্মান প্রদর্শন করতে হবে। নানান লবি কাজ করে। দ্বিতীয় সমস্যা: আলোচনা, বিশ্লেষণ এবং অবস্থান তৈরি করে বিশেষজ্ঞরাও কিন্তু চূড়ান্ত সিদ্ধান্ত নেয় রাজনীতিবিদরা। ফলে খুব ভালো আলোচনা হলেও যখন সেটা রাজনীতিবিদদের হাতে চলে যায়, তখন বিষয়গুলো তাদের রাজনৈতিক ধ্যান-ধারণা এবং নিজ নিজ দেশের অভ্যন্তরীণ ও আন্তর্জাতিক রাজনীতি গুরুত্বপূর্ণ হয়ে উঠে। এটিই বাস্তবতা। তবে, হতাশ না হয়ে আমাদের চেষ্টা চালিয়ে যেতে হবে। সস্তুষ্টি-অসন্তুষ্টি মিলিয়েই পরবর্তীতে কার্যকর হতে পারে এরকম উপায়ের পথ খুঁজতে হবে। এই বৈশ্বিক জলবায়ু পরিবর্তন সমস্যার কার্যকর সমাধান বৈশ্বিক পর্যায়েই খুঁজতে হবে। যদিও প্রত্যেক দেশ নিজ নিজ অবস্থান এবং সক্ষমতার ভিত্তিতে নিজ নিজ দেশে জলবায়ু পরিবর্তনের কারণে সৃষ্ট অভিঘাতসমূহ মোকাবেলায় সমাধানের যতদূর সম্ভব নিজেদেরকেই কার্যকর পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করতে হবে।
প্রশ্নকারী: আপনাকে অসংখ্য ধন্যবাদ।
খলীকুজ্জমান: আপনাকেও ধন্যবাদ।
Workshop on Adolescent Programs
A workshop to review the activities of the programs dedicated to Cultural and Sports and Adolescent was held on December 05, 2021 at PKSF Building. Chaired by Mr. Md. Mashiar Rahman, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, a presentation was made by Dr. Syeda Khaleda, Manager and Supervising Officer of the programs, reflecting on the activities of the adolescent program. Twenty five persons including the panel leaders and desk officers of PKSF Operations Division attended the workshop. They provided their views on the field level activities of the programs. The particpants also discussed about the way to revisioning the program activities to achieve more effectively the objectives of Adolscent Program.
Full genome sequencing of Halda’s carp fishes and dolphin unveiled
Research and Training Center with a hatchery inaugurated
An official announcement was made on the successful unveiling of the full genome sequencing of four carp fishes and a dolphin of the Halda river at a virtual meeting on 16 November 2021. A research and training center with a hatchery at Raozan in Chattogram was also inaugurated.
Prof. Dr. Manzoorul Kibria and Prof. Dr. AMAM Zonaed Siddiki gave informative presentations on the subject at the virtual meeting. It is expected that their research will pave the way for conservation of pure genes of wild carps, and that the findings will be utilized to increase production of such unique fishes and contribute to the country’s economic progress. The relevant information on the genome sequencing has been submitted to the data bank of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). After conducting necessary tests, the carp fishes of the Halda river can be declared as separate species. The Halda river-based activities are being implemented under PKSF’s ‘Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE)’ project, financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Financial Institutions Division (FID) of the Ministry of Finance is the executing agency of the project.
Dr. Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF, chaired the virtual event. She also inaugurated the research and training center with a hatchery.
In the welcome speech, Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director-1 of PKSF said that the Halda is a very important river in Bangladesh due to its many special features. The government has recently declared this river as ‘Bangabandhu Fisheries Heritage’. This accomplishment has only been possible due to everyone’s combined effort. Here, PKSF has also played a vital role.The Halda originates in Bangladesh and flows in to the Bay of Bengal, within the Bangladeshi territories. The most important aspect is that the Halda is the only tidal river in the world where the wild carp fishes arrive from different channels to release eggs. The local people have been collecting eggs from this river and producing fry in the traditional way for centuries. This fast-growing river carp has a delicious flavor. The contribution of the Halda fishes to the national economy is around BDT 800 crore. If the maximum benefit could be scientifically derived from the amount of eggs that a brood fish releases in the breeding seasons during its lifetime, its potential value would be about BDT 250 crore. The river could at the same time be an important source of protein for the growing population of the country and generate employment opportunities for a large number of people. Through another sub-project under the PACE project, local farmers from the country’s south-west part were motivated to produce the distinctively featured fishes of Halda. And remarkable success was achieved in this case. Fishermen are showing a strong interest to cultivate these species due to their rapid growth. There is no risk of the Halda fishes losing their uniqueness since it is not possible for these fishes to mate with fishes from any other river. Preserving the brood stock of the Halda river in ex situ conservation method will help expand high quality carp production across the country.
Mr. Fazlul Kader also mentioned that a number of activities to protect the Halda’s fish breeding environment are being implemented by Integrated Development Foundation (IDF), a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF. Local MPs along with upazila and district administrations are associated with the implementation of these activities. Ensuring protection of the river during the breeding season with cooperation from all has yielded highly positive results. The egg collection process has been advanced significantly as a result. The quantity of collected eggs has gone up to 25,000 kg. Due to tobacco cultivation in the upstream, many toxic substances were dumped into the river, creating an unfavorable environment for fish breeding. Tobacco production in the upstream areas have been stopped by introducing alternative cash crops. A significant progress has been made with the cooperation of all concerned in halting activities that were harmful to the conservation of the river environment.
In his speech, Mr. Fazlul Kader congratulated Dr. Manzoorul Kibria for his tireless efforts. PKSF has established the Halda Research Laboratory at Chittagong University, opening up new horizons for extensive research on the river environment, including the water quality. The eggs from Halda are sold for BDT 1.5 lac approximately. Since it is mixed with fish species with lower demands, the relevant traders are unable to as much profit from it as they should. Genome sequencing will help in the scientific branding of the Halda river’s fishes. In addition, this will pave the way for research on various issues, including the diagnosis of fish diseases.
Mr. Fazlul Kader expressed gratitude to former PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, also a former Principal Secretary, for his assistance in initiating the implementation of the Halda river-based activities. He further stated that PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad has been the highly supportive in implementing the initiatives and visited the Halda river-based activities. Besides, Dr QK Ahmad directed PKSF to include Halder operations as a core program of PKSF after the completion of the project’s tenure. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the scientists for their relentless research work on genome sequencing.
Prof. Dr. Manzoorul Kibria presented on the impacts of various PKSF activities on the improvement of the Halda river environment under the PACE project. Highlighting the unique features of the only tidal river of the world, he mentioned the biodiversity of the four carp species (Ruhi, Catla, Mrigel and Kalibaus) is found only in the Halda river. These four species may face extinction if the Halda is harmed in any way. Genome sequencing was essential to protect these species from extinction. According to the presentation, the main reasons for the decline in fish reproduction in the Halda are illegal fishing, industrial waste dumping, tobacco cultivation in upstream lands, destroying river bends, construction of rubber dam sluice gates, illegal extraction of water and sand etc. Various activities have been implemented to improve the river environment including guarding the river with the help of volunteers, introduction of alternative cash crops for tobacco cultivators and prevention of illegal fishing nets by providing necessary assistance (speedboats, solar-powered boats, manpower) to the local administrations. As a result, favorable environment for fish breeding is being restored in the Halda. Prof. Dr. Manzoorul Kibria highly appreciated PKSF for its outstanding contribution in implementing all of these activities.
Dr. AMAM Zonaed Siddiki, a Professor of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Science University, who headed the research team, gave a presentation on the genome sequencing research of four carp fishes and the Gangetic dolphin found in the Halda. He also opined that the data from this genome sequencing could be used by future researchers as reference.
Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam, Senior General Manager of PKSF and Project Coordinator of PACE mentioned that Bangladesh’s global image has been brighter as a result of this research. He thanked IFAD, the financing agency of the PACE project, for assisting PKSF in implementing these activities that open up such new horizons. He also commented that the implementation of the Halda-based activities by PKSF has created awareness on river protection at all levels. The positive aspects of PKSF’s various activities have already encouraged the policymakers. In response, the government has formed a national task force comprising various ministries and relevant agencies.
In the concluding speech, PKSF Managing Director Dr. Nomita Halder ndc thanked all concerned for implementing various activities surrounding the Halda. She assured PKSF’s continuous support in addressing various risks and challenges to protect the ecosystem of the Halda, the only natural breeding ground for carp fishes in the country.
Virtual workshop on ‘Innovation in Adaptation’
The Secretariat of the Adaptation Fund Board,based in Washington, D.C, organized a virtual workshop on ‘Innovation in Adaptation’ on 22 November 2021. The representatives of National, Regional and International Entities of the Adaptation Fund attended the workshop.
PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc along with Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed and General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman joined the event from Dhaka.
The main objectives of the program were to increase the mobility of the Adaptation Fund, encourage innovations, and increase availability of funds and long-term adaptation to climate change. The workshop discussed about different kinds of innovative activities that could be undertaken (with examples of projects that are being implemented in several countries), the clarity and accessibility of innovative activities, and the process of project proposal formulation at different levels.
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 21 November 2021 with the objective of achieving food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation by developing modern agricultural marketing through partnership and collaboration.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director, PKSF chaired the occasion. Mohammad Yousuf, Director General, DAM and Mr Golam Touhid, Senior Deputy Managing Director, PKSF signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations. Under the MoU, the farmers under the programs and projects of PKSF will be involved in DAM-operated market hubs/cluster. Moreover, DAM will provide technical support in processing and post-harvest management of agricultural products; assist in accessing international market of safe vegetables/fruits; assist in alleviating regulatory barriers that hinders farmers’ access to market; and provide relevant publications, technical information, training as well as assistance to disseminate the technologies connected with the interventions of PKSF. DAM will assist in developing ‘production protocol/process certification’ for safe fruits/vegetables. Besides, DAM will also help develop post-harvest management skill of the technical staff of PKSF and its Partner Organizations (POs). PKSF will ensure overall cooperation to DAM to facilitate its services to the targeted famers.
PKSF, BINA sign MoU on cooperation to increase agricultural productivity
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 17 November 2021 with the objective of achieving food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation by increasing agricultural productivity through partnership and collaboration.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director, PKSF chaired the occasion. Dr Mirza Mofazzal Islam, Director General, BINA and Mr Golam Touhid, Senior Deputy Managing Director, PKSF signed the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions.
Under the MoU, BINA will provide: special and high-yielding varieties of different crops; technology related to implementation; publications and technical information; training and assistance to disseminate the technologies among the farmers connected with the interventions of PKSF. BINA’s services will develop their capacity and skills for sustainable agricultural production. BINA will also help develop skills of the technical staff of PKSF and its POs. PKSF will ensure overall cooperation to BINA to facilitate its services to the targeted famers.
Consultation meeting to address drinking water crisis in the coastal areas
The Environment and Climate Change Unit of PKSF arranged an online consultation meeting on 07 November 2021 to exchange experiences of installing Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in the coastal regions of Bangladesh to reduce drinking water crisis in those areas.
PKSF’s Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc chaired the meeting. Additional Managing Directors Mr Md Fazlul Kader and Dr Md Jashim Uddin shared their valuable experiences on the RO plants. Dr AKM Nuruzzaman, General Manager of PKSF moderated the open discussion session that discussed about the challenges of establishing RO plants, site selection, plant management, operation and maintenance, wastewater management, water distribution, legal issues, and sustainability.
Deputy Managing Director Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed and other senior officials of PKSF attended the meeting. In addition, and Executive Directors/representatives of 14 Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF that have experiences on installing and operating RO plants were also present in the meeting.
PKSF’s crab hatchery activities showcased live at COP-26
In an extraordinary feat, the activities of the country’s first-ever crab hatchery, established and operated with active support from PKSF, has been showcased live at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-26) held in Glasgow, UK.
On 03 November 2021, the activities were aired at the world’s biggest climate summit attended by heads of states and governments, climate experts and activists. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) managed the live showcasing of operations from the crab hatchery premises in Shyamnagar of Satkhira district.
Being highly salinity-tolerant, crab farming has gained immense popularity in the salinity-prone coastal areas of Bangladesh. The people of Satkhira, Khulna, and Bagerhat districts traditionally relied on the Sundarbans for collecting crablets. Unplanned resource extraction from the Sundarbans, especially collection of crabs, harms the unique biodiversity of the world’s biggest mangrove forest that protects coastal communities from cyclones, floods, and tidal surges, the intensity and recurrence of which has clearly been aggravated by climate change. Besides, entering the Sundarbans is equally risky for crab farmers. In view of this, PKSF, with IFAD’s support, is implementing a value chain sub-project titled ‘Technology Transfer to Entrepreneurs for Operating Crab Hatchery’ under the Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) project at Shyamnagar in Satkhira district through Nowabenki Gonomukhi Foundation (NGF), a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF. It is at this place that PKSF sponsored establishment of a crab hatchery, the first in the country.
During the live transmission, three crab farmers described their struggles for survival due to shrinking livelihood opportunities due to climate change. However, with the sub-project’s help, their lives took a turn for the better. They soon experienced financial progress and improved acceptability in their families and communities. The PKSF officer concerned also shared his experience there. Later, a video documentary on the crab sub-sector was played.
IFAD conveyed its appreciation in writing for successfully organizing and presenting this live event at COP-26. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, who was at the summit as part of the Bangladesh delegation, enjoyed the live event which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/Rgo8TFcKsyg.
Mid-term Evaluation Report Reveals
80%+ SEP Microenterprises Practice Environmentally Sustainable Methods
Researchers have found out that 80.14 percent of the microenterprises (MEs) under Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) adopted at least one environmentally sustainable practice for their businesses. This was disclosed at a presentation on the Mid-term Evaluation Report of SEP on 21 October 2021 at PKSF Bhaban. The third-party consultant Pathmark Associate Limited also commented that 78 percent of them vowed to continue such environmental practices in the future. It also rated the adoption of such practices by the MEs as ‘satisfactory’.
Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech in the session. The team leader of the research group — Professor Dr AQM Mahbub, Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University — and Ms Eun Joo Allison Yi, Senior Environmental Specialist and Task Team Leader of the World Bank, Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Deputy General Manager of PKSF & Project Coordinator of SEP along with other officials of the World Bank, PKSF and Pathmark were present.
Dr ABM Shah Jalal, senior advisor & consultant of Pathmark, and Dr M Shafiqur Rahman, Professor, University of Dhaka made the presentation. They remarked that the state of the factories and business premises including the residences of the micro-entrepreneurs has visibly improved. They further mentioned that SEP need to be promoted and replicated for future sustainable business growth. They recommended that digital financial services for the MEs be introduced and support for an ME-friendly certification system to access the premium markets be ensured.
Ms Eun Joo Allison Yi said that usually it takes a long time to see the environmental benefits. That is why the data primarily show lower growth. After a few years, the real change would become more visible. The question is to get the support until we get there. We have to be very patient with the MEs and gradually other variables like health, happiness should be included.
Dr AQM Mahbub thanked the World Bank team for their positive comments on the presentation. He reported that there are about 10 million MEs that contribute one-fourth of the total GDP of Bangladesh. Addressing the environmental problems of the MEs, he also pointed out that bigger industries get a large amount of loans from the banks with lower interest rates while the MEs get lesser amount with higher rates.
Professor Dr M Abu Yusuf, a member of the research team, mentioned that SEP focuses on inclusive development, which can also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The branding support to the MEs can help them reach a wider market.
Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas thanked Pathmark and mentioned that necessary actions will be taken to address the issues raised in this study. The moderator of the session, Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed thanked everyone for their participation.
PKSF, World Bank Sign Agreement for $250mn Project
RAISE project to augment scope for decent employment for 175,000 youths
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the World Bank (WB) signed an agreement on 27 October 2021 involving US$ 250 million to implement the Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment (RAISE) project, which is expected to strengthen the informal sector. Dr Nomita Haldar ndc, Managing Director of PKSF, and Ms Mercy Miyang Tembon, Resident Representative of the World Bank, signed the agreement. Of the US$ 250 million, the WB will finance US$ 150 million and PKSF will provide the remaining US$ 100 million.
The RAISE will facilitate employability and productivity of the informal sector and extend financial assistance, through 70 PKSF Partner Organizations of PKSF, to 1,75,000 youths having low income in urban and peri-urban areas across the country. Micro-entrepreneurs, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will also get financial assistance on easy terms under the project. PKSF will arrange training on sustainable micro-enterprise management, life skills development for young entrepreneurs and foreign language training for the technically skilled youths willing to work abroad. The unskilled and semi-skilled youths will be supported with appropriate technical skill training. Thirty percent of the total participants of the project will be women.
PKSF Observes Sheikh Russel Day 2021
In accordance with a recent decision of the Cabinet Division, Bangladesh observed 18 October 2021 as Sheikh Russel Day. PKSF joined the observance with due solemnity.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF, presided over a virtual discussion organized to observe the day while Managing Director Dr Nomita Halder ndc delivered the welcome remarks. Additional Managing Director-1 Mr Md Fazlul Kader made a special presentation at the event.
In the welcome speech, Dr Nomita Halder ndc deeply mourned the killing of Bangabandhu and most of his family members, including 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, the youngest brother of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. ‘Never should a single child meet a fate as Sheikh Russel did,” Dr Halder observed with a sigh.
In his presentation, Mr Fazlul Kader highlighted Sheikh Russel’s brief life and underlined the connections with various PKSF programs that are dedicated to creating a better tomorrow for today’s children.
Describing the assassination of Bangabandhu and most of his family members as ‘one of the most heinous and cowardly acts’ in the post-liberation history of Bangladesh, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said, “Maybe, Sheikh Russel could have followed his father’s footsteps to grow into an ideal leader for the people of Bangladesh. But that possibility was nipped in the bud due to his untimely and tragic death in assassination.”
PKSF officials of different ranks also spoke during the virtual meeting. Excerpts from Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s reminiscences about Sheikh Russel, her youngest brother, was read out at the event.
Also, special prayers were offered after the Zuhr prayers at PKSF Bhaban, and sumptuous mid-day meals were served among orphans at a nearby madrasa.
Click to watch the video of the discussion meeting:https://fb.watch/8JYg6hXuG-/
PKSF arranges training on ‘GCF Modalities and Procedures’
The Environment and Climate Change Unit of PKSF arranged a training titled ‘GCF Modalities and Procedures’from 18-26 October 2021 at the National Institute of Local Government (NILG), Agargaon, Dhaka. Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director of PKSF chaired the inaugural session of the training. Mr K M Ali Azam, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration was the Chief Guest of the program while Ms Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division was the Special Guest. Mr Saleh Ahmed Mozaffar, Director General, NILG delivered the welcome remarks.
The training focused on the preparation procedures of the project proposals under the GCF-Readiness Support Project and the preparation of Climate Rationale, ESS, Gender, Theory of Change, Logical Framework, Tribal Policy etc.
A total of 25 officials from government and non-government organizations participated in the training. All participants are engaged in project preparation and implementation in their respective workplaces.
The following success story of a participant of PKSF’s PACE project was published on the official website of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the co-financier of the project, on 01 September 2021. The story is reproduced on PKSF website for our readers. (Link to the main post: https://www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/-/bangladesh-nasreen?p_l_back_url=%2Fen%2Fweb%2Flatest%2Fgallery )
Restoration takes root: Nasreen’s story
Today, 28-year-old Nasreen is a successful businesswoman. From her home in rural Bangladesh, she runs a thriving ecological farm – one that supports the local ecosystem and uses no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Her chemical-free vegetables reach customers in urban areas, thanks to the e-platforms she’s active on. And as a participant in the IFAD-supported PACE project, she is part of a bigger initiative rethinking and transforming gender roles throughout the country.
But Nasreen wasn’t always able to be so self-reliant.
Just three years ago, Nasreen’s family was like many others. Her husband was the only earner in the household, and his wages as a day labourer weren’t quite enough to live on. They had a small household garden that Nasreen tended by herself. To try to make ends meet, she sold her surplus vegetables at the local market, but it never brought in much money. They were struggling to provide for their two daughters, and like too many other women in rural Bangladesh, Nasreen’s work went unpaid and unrecognized outside her family.
That began to change in 2019. Some acquaintances in her neighbourhood had gotten involved with the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a long-standing partner of IFAD and a leading provider of micro-credit loans to women entrepreneurs. Through this contact, Nasreen learned more about the PACE project, an initiative helping rural households across Bangladesh set up and maintain their own agricultural businesses. The subproject in her area focused on “safe” vegetables – those that are especially well suited to the region’s growing conditions and beneficial to the local environment – ensuring that even the most vulnerable households have a way to participate and earn a reliable source of income. For Nasreen, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand her home garden into a full-fledged business. Moreover, many other PACE participants in her area had taken up ecological farming – an agricultural practice designed to enhance and sustain the local ecosystem instead of disrupting it – and that appealed to her, too.
Of course, she needed a loan and some supplies to get started, so she turned to the PKSF. As an implementing partner of the PACE project, the PKSF’s financial services are coupled with support in the form of trainings and technical assistance to help entrepreneurs start up a business, increase their productivity, and access new markets. Nasreen got her start with a loan of US$300 and a series of trainings on everything from the basics of ecological farming, to how to reach customers beyond her neighbourhood, to how to manage a loan. The loan enabled her to start producing on a commercial scale, and the trainings gave her the skills she needed to build her enterprise.
It wasn’t easy at first. She had no experience in being a full-time farmer, and like many other ecological farmers, she struggled to keep up her pace of production with those using conventional methods such as genetically modified seeds or chemical fertilizers. But by the end of her first year, she’d already made US$3,000.00.
Today, she produces an incredible variety of vegetables throughout the year – gourds of all kinds, onions, radish greens, hyacinth beans and string beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, chillies – and sells them at both her local market and the district market. She’s also active on an e-commerce platform that allows her produce to reach customers as far away as the capital city of Dhaka.
The ecological farming techniques she practices are sustaining her family and community and restoring the local ecosystem. Because she grows a diverse variety of crops and uses natural manure and fertilizer, she’s restoring soil fertility with every crop cycle. She uses only organic pest control methods, too, further allowing her to avoid the use of chemicals. And because she’s able to harvest year-round, there’s a constant supply of nutritious food for her family.
She still contends with challenges in her day-to-day running of the business. Conventional-style farmers will always be able to produce greater quantities than her at lower costs, meaning the struggle to keep up will never quite disappear. Many consumers aren’t aware of the benefits of ecological farming or aren’t interested in purchasing chemical-free vegetables, so it’s sometimes difficult for her to get a fair price. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected her business, too: the lockdown prevented the opening of a collection and grading centre that would have helped her earn higher prices for her produce through its evaluation services, and therefore would likely have opened up new markets to her as well.
Despite these difficulties, she and her family are doing well. With the profits she earns, she’s been able to send her elder daughter to a local government-run school (her other daughter is still too young to attend). Her business is so profitable that her husband no longer works as a labourer and has begun helping Nasreen in the fields instead. She’s now able to fully participate in making household decisions, too. In the future, she hopes to expand her farm and continue investing in her children’s education, and to save enough to build a house. For now, though, she’s content in the knowledge that she’s already creating better opportunities for her family. Importantly, her hard work is being recognized – and she’s starting to notice her success inspiring others, too.
“As I am the one who is guaranteeing a sustainable livelihood for my family, I see people around me acknowledging me and valuing my opinions,” she says. “I love to see that my relatives and neighbours are also getting interested in taking the risk of starting businesses of their own.”
National Mourning Day 2021: Special Events by PKSF and POs
To mark the 46th martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, also the National Mourning Day 2021, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and its Partner Organizations (POs) arranged elaborate programs throughout the month of August. As part of these programs, the national flag was hoisted half-mast at the PKSF Bhaban on 15 August, a drop-down banner was hung from the top of the PKSF Bhaban, all employees of PKSF wore black badges throughout the month, documentaries on Bangabandhu were displayed at the Mujib Corner set up at the PKSF Bhaban, and a virtual discussion meeting was arranged. Besides, the POs arranged various programs to observe the National Mourning Day. These include discussion meetings, special prayer sessions, tree plantation campaigns as well as awareness campaigns to encourage people to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
PKSF Observes National Mourning Day
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman appealed to the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan not to use “Pakistan” to refer to East “Bengal”. He proclaimed the historic Six Points right in Lahore in those days. These and many such comments were made by Dr Mohammed Farashuddin, once a Private Secretary to Bangabandhu, and former Governor of Bangladesh Bank, in a webinar organized by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 12 August 2021 to mark the 46th anniversary of martyrdom of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Dr Mohammed Farashuddin, the Founder Vice Chancellor of East West University graced the event as the keynote speaker. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the virtual session, attended by nearly 500 persons including the representatives of the Partner Organizations (POs) across the country.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad referred to the historic address by Bangabandhu on 7 March 1971. He said that PKSF upholds Bangabandhu’s ideology in its endeavors to serve the poor through multiple interventions. He also referred to the ‘Brotochari movement’ with which Bangabandhu was involved.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech and moderated the event. Dr Halder shared a reminiscence of an innocent girl of Rangpur who, in the early days of independent Bangladesh, bumped into the circuit house to beg an autograph of the Father of Nation. Dr Halder asked all to transform the sense of mourning into strength and to go forward to build up a prosperous Bangladesh.
Among others, PKSF Governing Body Members Mr Arijit Chowdhury, Ms Parveen Mahmud and Ms Nazneen Sultana and Executive Directors of 2 PKSF POs – Ms Humaira Islam and Dr Md Shahid Uz Zaman, who are also members of PKSF General Body, spoke in the event.
PKSF Employees Receive the New Managing Director Virtually
Under the Covid-19 pandemic, the PKSF employees were constrained to accord reception to their new Managing Director, Dr Nomita Halder ndc on the virtual platform, which, of course, had no dearth of usual warmth and sincerity. The reception meeting, presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) took place on Wednesday August 11, 2021 at PKSF Bhaban. Attended by more than 300 participants, the meeting was anchored by Dr Md Jashim Uddin, the newly appointed Additional Managing Director, who also delivered a brief introduction of the new Managing Director. A former Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh, Dr Halder took office earlier on 08 August 2021 for a 3-year term.
Employees representing every stratum of PKSF officials spoke on the occasion. All of them were found to be simply pleased to a have woman to lead this apex development organization of the country that signifies the reflection of the empowerment of women, which, amongst other things, PKSF strongly advocates. The PKSF officials expressed their satisfaction at working with this organization that always upholds accountability, integrity, transparency and gender equality characterized by efficiency of performance. Among others, Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Additional Managing Director and Mr Golam Touhid, Senior Deputy Managing Director spoke on the occasion.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, the new Managing Director expressed her pleasure to become a part of PKSF, which has, over the years, made its mark in the areas of poverty alleviation and rural development. She stressed on the organizational culture of the workplace and pronounced her commitment to work for the vulnerable and marginalized poor folks.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad briefly touched on the ideals that constitute the economic philosophy of PKSF’s interventions. He also underlined the evolution of PKSF from a sort of microcredit organization to a people’s platform that seriously attempts to address the needs of the poor from what we say ‘from conception to coffin’.
Though a virtual meeting, it had all the qualities of the sense of solidarity and togetherness.
The New Architecture of PKSF Top Management
Dr Nomita Halder ndc joins as the 11th MD of PKSF
Dr Nomita Halder ndc, a former Secretary to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, joined on Sunday August 8, 2021 as the 11th Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). In the very immediate past, Dr Halder held the position of a Professorial Fellow at North South University. Born in the coastal area of Bagerhat, Dr Halder served as a public servant of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for long 30 years.
As is usual, she started her career in the public service at the local administration level, which helped her understand the state of people and public affairs at the grassroots. Later, the opportunity of being in close association with the Hon’ble Prime Minister as her Private Secretary offered Dr Halder some access to know the pros and cons at the very high level of policy making of the central government.
Dr Nomita Halder ndc graduated in Agriculture from Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh. Later, she did an MA on Development Administration from the Australian National University. And finally, she did her PhD from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. As the Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, her dynamic leadership in dealing with the critical matters of migration and human trafficking won commendations from diverse quarters, at home and abroad. In 2018, she retired from the public service. Dr Halder is widely known as a result-driven and career-oriented professional with a target for excellence. She has serious concerns for the vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized poor communities and is sincerely keen to work with them. Dr Nomita Halder ndc is an Honorary Member of the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh.
With her at the very top of the management of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, the PKSF family with all its Partner Organizations (PO) across the country look forward to the acceleration of the pace of achieving the organization’s vision and mission in future.
Mr Md Fazlul Kader & Dr Md Jashim Uddin Move Upward as Additional MDs
In view of the recommendations made by the committee which was formed to review and restructure the existing Organogram of the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, the Governing Body of PKSF, in its 235th meeting held on July 25, 2021 promoted Mr Md Fazlul Kader and Dr Md Jashim Uddin as the Additional Managing Directors from the positions of DMDs which they held earlier.
MR MD FAZLUL KADER, Addl MD
With the completion of his academic career, Mr Kader found his first employment with a large private company of Bangladesh, which he did not find quite suitable for him. He left it and joined Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation in its very early days in 1990, on the 1st of October. After more than two decades of his professional career, Mr Fazlul Kader became a Deputy Managing Director of PKSF on July 1, 2011.
He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka. Then, he completed the MBA in Finance from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of the same university.
In PKSF, Mr Kader has especially proven his great talent in the area of enterprise development.
DR MD JASHIM UDDIN, Addl MD
For Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation was the maiden home to start with a professional career. This is a reality that he cherishes with love, pride and commitment. He joined PKSF on 1st December, 1991. After serving at various positions of this organization, Dr Jashim Uddin was appointed as the Deputy Managing Director of PKSF on July 1, 2011.
Dr Jashim Uddin completed his Master of Science in Engineering (Mechanical) from the People’s Friendship University, Moscow, the then USSR. However, he diverged from his course of academic studies. He later obtained his PhD in Economics from Moscow Management Institute in Moscow, USSR.
Dr Jashim Uddin has always been a proactive professional in the progressive growth of PKSF.
Mr Golam Touhid finds his position elevated as the Senior DMD
Under the recent restructuring, out of the 5 DMDs of PKSF, Golam Touhid has been positioned as the Senior one. He has been already serving Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) as one of the Deputy Managing Directors since the 10th of January, 2013.
Immediately after his graduation in Geography from the University of Dhaka, Mr Touhid engaged himself with a research project of Centre for Urban Studies. On December 1, 1991, Mr Touhid joined PKSF as a Management Trainee. From then on, he has been serving this organization at various positions with efficiency and repute.
Mr Golam Touhid looks after different programs and projects of PKSF.
Three New DMDs
The three newly promoted Deputy Managing Directors are Mr Md Mashiar Rahman, Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas and Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed.
Mr Md Mashiar Rahman, DMD
Immediately before his promotion to the present post of the DMD, Mr Md Mashiar Rahman has been serving as a Senior General Manager. Mr Rahman joined PKSF on 07 April 1994 as a Management Trainee. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Statistics from the University of Dhaka. Mr Rahman looks after different programs and projects of PKSF including its flagship intervention widely known as Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of the Poor Households towards Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH).
Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas, DMD
Dr Tapash Kumar Biswas joined PKSF on 03 February 2013 as Director (Research). Prior to that, he was a public servant. A Bachelor and Master in Statistics from Jahangirnagar University, he obtained another Master’s in Rural and Regional Development Planning from the University of Dortmund, Germany and AIT, Bangkok. Dr Biswas holds a PhD in Statistics from Jahangirnagar University and a Post-Doctorate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation from IRRI, Philippines.
Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed was associated with PKSF even before he became its Director (Environment & Climate Change), from which he was promoted. Earlier, he coordinated the Community Climate Change Project (CCCP) of PKSF. He too had been a public servant. Dr Ahmed had his B.Sc and M.Sc. degrees in Soil Science from Bangladesh Agricultural University. Later, he had his PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Aberdeen, the United Kingdom.
DRC delegation meets PKSF high-ups
Discusses possible areas of bilateral cooperation
A bilateral meeting was held between PKSF and a high-level delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 24 June 2021 at PKSF Bhaban, Dhaka.
The six-member Congolese delegation comprised Mr Tenday Luaba, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr Jean Pierre Otshumbe, Ministry of Water Resources; Mr Theodre Boniface Socrates Kabeya, Ministry of Water Resources; Mr Jonas Didier Ntaku, Ministry of Water Resources; Mr Dadou Kapandji, Policy Expert, Office of the President; and Mr Nazir Alam, Consulate of Democratic Republic of Congo in Dhaka. The meeting took place as part of a process of identifying possible areas of cooperation between Bangladesh and the DRC.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, who joined the meeting virtually, welcomed the DRC delegation to PKSF. Describing PKSF as a human-centric development institution, he said PKSF will extend all possible cooperation to the government of the DRC in the areas of mutual interests. Dr QK Ahmad, a renowned climate change expert and a proponent of human-centric development, said that PKSF provides appropriate financing along with other interventions in the areas of education, health, capacity development etc as per the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged in Bangladesh.
The PKSF team was led by Deputy Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin, who spearheads the operations of the agency’s holistic development interventions. He delivered the introductory speech in the meeting, highlighting the role of PKSF in ensuring sustainable development at the grassroots of Bangladesh.
Mr AQM Golam Mawla, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, gave a presentation on the multi-dimensional human-centered activities of PKSF as an apex development entity of the country.
The DRC delegation showed a keen interest in working with PKSF, requesting the PKSF officials to provide technical guidance to replicate the PKSF model of development in Congo.
From PKSF, Deputy Managing Director Mr Golam Touhid, Senior General Managers Dr Akond Md Rafiqul Islam and Mr Md Ziauddin Iqbal, and General Manager Mr AKM Nuruzzaman took part in the discussion, and responded to the queries of visiting team.
Agreement Signing and Equipment Handover Ceremony
Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services Project is already in operation. A total of 15 Partner Organizations (POs) of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) are actively implementing the project which provides training on Good Farming Practices to the livestock farmers to help them acquire the skills to reduce morbidity and mortality risk of livestock.
An Agreement Signing and Equipment Handover Ceremony was held on 21 June 2021 at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka. Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF and Executive Directors of 15 Partner Organizations (POs) signed the Agreements on behalf of respective organizations in the presence of Ms Corinne Henchoz Pignani, Acting Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh. High officials of PKSF, SDC, Swisscontact and POs were also present on the occasion.
FID Delegation Visits ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ at PKSF
A 4-member delegation of the Financial Institutions Division (FID), Ministry of Finance, visited PKSF on 20 March 2021 to witness different activities relating to the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh.
The FID team led by Mr Mrityunjoy Saha, Joint Secretary of FID, visited the ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ established on level-2 of PKSF Bhaban and watched video documentaries on Bangabandhu. They praised the PKSF activities highly.
Other members of the delegation were Mr Kamrul Hoque Maruf, Deputy Secretary; Mr Mohammed Shafiul Alam, Deputy Secretary and Mr Abdul Mannan, Assistant Secretary.
Mujib Year & Golden Jubilee of Independence
Special Events Held in Four Districts
PKSF, in tune with the Government of Bangladesh’s special events from 17-26 March 2021 to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, organized a series of special programs in collaboration with its Partner Organizations (POs) in different parts of the country.
On 20 March 2021, PKSF and Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO) jointly organized a program titled ‘Bangabandhu, His Speeches, Favourite Songs and Poems’ in Thakurgaon. Mr Ramesh Chandra Sen, MP from Thakurgaon-1constituency was the Chief Guest, Dr KM Kamruzzaman Selim, Deputy Commissioner of Thakurgaon, was the Honourable Guest, and Mr Md Sadek Kuraishi, Chairman of Thakurgaon Zila Parishad was the Special Guest at the event chaired by Dr Md Shahid Uz Zaman, Executive Director of ESDO. Historical speeches of Bangabandhu – including the one delivered in Thakurgaon on 2 April 1972 – were read out in the program. Local artistes performed Bangabandhu’s favourite songs and poems.
PKSF and MAMATA on 21 March 2021 arranged a discussion meeting in Halishahar of Chattogram. Supervised by Mr Rafique Ahmed, Chief Executive of MAMATA, the meeting was presided over by Mr Jahangir Alam Joseph, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PO. Dr Anupam Sen, Vice Chancellor of Premier University was the Chief Guest of the event and Ms Sabiha Musa, Former MP and Chairman of Advisory Committee of MAMATA, was present as the Special Guest.
In Khulna, PKSF and NABOLOK arranged a similar event on 22 March 2021. Mr Md Sadikur Rahman Khan, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) of Khulna was the Chief Guest while Mr Khan Motahar Hossain, Deputy Director of Social Services Office, Khulna; Mr Ali Akbar Tipu, Panel Mayor 02; and Advocate Sufia Rahman Shunu, Panel Mayor 03 were the Special Guests of the event. The meeting was chaired by Ms Ajanta Das, Treasurer of NABOLOK.
On 23 March 2021, PKSF and SKS Foundation arranged a discussion meeting in Gaibandha. Mr Md Abdul Matin, Deputy Commissioner of Gaibandha was the Chief Guest of the meeting and Mr Md Abu Bakar Siddique, General Secretary of Gaibandha District Awami League was the Special Guest.
PKSF Offers Special Prayer Sessions
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) arranged a special prayer session after Zuhr prayer on 18 March 2021 to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh. PKSF officials and staff of all rank attended the prayer.
Special Event to Celebrate ‘Mujib Year’ & Golden Jubilee of Independence
With the entire nation, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) too is celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh’s Independence.
As part of the vast range of activities, PKSF organized a virtual meeting on 16 March 2021 to announce the names of winners who, from several parts of the country, participated in the competitions on A. writing poems, B. writing essays/stories, C. painting, and D. contribution of youths to social services (individual/collective). All themes of the competition excepting category D focused on the life and leadership of Bangabandhu and his contribution to the emergence of Bangladesh.
This nation-wide competition was planned, led and conducted by the officials of the ENRICH program of PKSF in collaboration with the Partner Organizations (POs). The key intent of the competition (held from November to December 2020) was to create academic and practical interest about Bangabandhu and the Liberation War of 1971 and infuse patriotism and social commitment among some 2.5 lakh youths, who form a strategic part of ENRICH, in 202 Unions across the country.
Presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the event was moderated by Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, who delivered the welcome speech and later announced the names of the winners.
A total of 41 (21 females and 20 males) out of 8,820 competitors in 4 categories and 4 groups (for collective contribution to society) were adjudged winners by members of the competent jury boards. The winners expressed their feelings during the event. Two members of the PKSF General Body, who also are the Executive Directors of two POs, Dr Md Shahid-uz-Zaman (Eco-Social Development Organization) and Dr Humaira Islam (Shakti Foundation) delivered speeches as selected discussants.
Three members of the PKSF Governing Body namely, Ambassador Mr Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Ms Nazneen Sultana (former Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank) and Ms Parveen Mahmud (Chairperson, UCEP Bangladesh) took part in the discussion.
Around 350 individuals, including PKSF Board members, senior officials, ENRICH team members, Executive Directors and members of PKSF’s POs, and the winners of the competition joined the event, which was livestreamed on the PKSF Facebook.
PKSF and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) on 8 March 2021 held a meeting on expansion and recognition of Black Rice cultivation in Bangladesh. Held at the BRRI office in Joydebpur of Gazipur, the meeting was chaired by Dr Md Shahjahan Kabir, Director General of BRRI, and was attended by a three-strong PKSF delegation led by General Manager (Program) Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury and a number of prominent rice scientists from BRRI.
A presentation styled as ‘PKSF experiences on introduction and expansion of Black Rice’ was made during the meeting. BRRI expressed its interest to conduct 3 experiments — a) Physiological Trial, b) Field Trial, and c) Quality Test — on PKSF-provided Black Rice. After these experiments, BRRI will take further measures for releasing it as a new rice variety if it has the potential. Furthermore, BRRI expressed its interest in expanding their newly released rice varieties through PKSF’s vast network at the grassroots.
Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)
Webinar held on building better, greener Bangladesh
For sharing the experiences gathered through the Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) implemented by PKSF, the World Bank organized a webinar titled ‘Towards Building Back a Better and Greener Bangladesh-Experience from Microenterprises in Bangladesh’ on 19 January 2021.
Mr Christophe Crepin, Practice Manager, South Asia, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) of the World Bank chaired the webinar moderated by Mr Tapash Paul, Lead Environment Specialist, SSAEN, the World Bank. Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF; Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Deputy General Manager of PKSF and Project Coordinator, SEP and more than 20 higher officials from different stations of the World Bank participated in the event.
In introductory speech, Mr Tapash Paul applauded PKSF for playing ‘a revolutionary role’ in developing Bangladesh. He also PKSF for its phenomenal contribution in microfinance and microenterprise (ME) sectors of Bangladesh.
Describing PKSF as a pioneer institution for ensuring easy access to finance for microfinance institutions and for microenterprises, Mr Christophe Crepin emphasized on the need for upgrading the quality of products that are produced by the MEs so that they can access the wider market. He further said that COVID-19 has made things worse for the MEs. SEP’s assistance in technical aspects during this pandemic is phenomenal. He expressed his expectation that SEP will continue its support to improve the conditions of the MEs with a focus on adopting green practices.
In the opening remarks, Mr Md Fazlul Kader highlighted PKSF’s pursuit in developing the microenterprise sector of Bangladesh. The main challenge, he said, is unfreezing the deep conditioning to decades-long practices performed by microenterprises and helping them get rid of low-technology traps. Behavioral change is the biggest challenge and bigger investments is needed for common services and modern technologies. It is these challenges that SEP has since inception been relentlessly working to address, he added.
Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed made an presentation on the project’s challenges, achievements and lessons learned. He described how SEP contributes to the green recovery and the COVID-19 response in Bangladesh. Two video clips on microenterprises at the grassroots were played during the webinar. After the presentation, Mr Md Fazlul Kader responded to different queries of the participants.
Ms Gayatri Acharya, Sector Leader, SSARDR, the World Bank said that Bangladesh is a pioneer in creating solutions for microfinance institutions and microenterprises. And PKSF is playing a vital role here. She stressed on the need to disseminate the knowledge gathered through SEP among the broader regulatory bodies and policymakers, which will pave the way for further development of the microenterprise sector in Bangladesh.
PKSF signs MoU with Department of Agricultural Extension
for Providing Technical Support Services
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 19 January 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture for partnership and collaboration to provide technical support services. Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF and Mr Md Asadullah, Director General of DAE signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. This agreement will be valid for five years from the date of its signing.
Under this MoU, DAE will assist PKSF in providing technical services for crop production and crop diversification, conducting training and demonstration, extending new technologies, and ensuring resource persons, logistic and mechanization support for PKSF. On the other hand, PKSF will involve DAE personnel in different agricultural programs, consultation meetings and seminars/workshops to be organized by PKSF.
Kick-off Meeting of IRMP
The Project for developing Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction (IRMP) in fact commenced in March 2019. A virtual kick-off meeting of the Project was held on 21 December 2020 at 1:00pm. PKSF is implementing this project with financial and technical support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director and Mr. Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director and other relevant officials of PKSF joined the meeting. The JICA team constituted of Ms. Chieko Yokota, Director, Office for Gender Equality and Poverty Reduction, JICA Head Quarters Japan accompanied by other senior officials of JICA head office, Dhaka Office and representatives of JICA expert team for the IRMP. This kick-off meeting has to be deferred long due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
SEIP Tranche-2 Extended till December 2021
PKSF signs the 1st amendment to the contract (Tranche-2) on grants for training under Skills for Employment Program (SEIP) project with the Skills Development Coordination and Monitoring Unit (SDCMU) of the Finance Ministry on 25 November 2020. The amendment to the contract (Tranche-2) was signed by Mr. Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Md Zahidul Haque, Executive Project Director of SEIP.
The amendment makes it compulsive for the extension of the MoU period of Tranche-2 since the concerned training had to be suspended from 18 March 2020 because of the advent of COVID-19 pandemic. The original MoU was earlier signed on 26 June 2018 between PKSF and Ministry of Finance. The contract period has now been extended to 31 December 2021 with the identical target of Tranche-2.
MoU Signed with Ministry of Finance for Providing Skills Training
PKSF signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Skills Development Coordination and Monitoring Unit (SDCMU) of the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance for the extension of Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) as Tranche-3, on 24 December 2020. Mr. Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Md Zahidul Haque, Executive Project Director of SEIP signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. Tranche-3 will be effective from July 2021.
PKSF will receive BDT 49.99 crore as grant from the Government to create gainful employment through skills development training. With this support, PKSF will provide training to 12,000 youths of low-income households in 15 selected trades in eight priority sectors through 29 renowned training institutes by December 2023 with a view to create productive self and wage employment. Among the training recipients, at least 60% will be placed in gainful employment. Under this project, training will be fully residential to facilitate participation of the youths, women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the remote areas.
USD 50 Million Agreement Signed with ADB to Support Microenterprises
Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide an additional USD 50 million loan and USD 0.50 million for Technical Assistance in the ‘Microenterprise Development Project’ (MDP), being implemented by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). The Loan Agreement was signed between Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and ADB. Together a Project Agreement was signed between PKSF and ADB. Ms. Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance signed the Loan Agreement on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, signed the Project Agreement on behalf of PKSF. Mr. Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, Bangladesh Resident Mission signed the both Agreements on behalf of ADB.
As per the Loan Agreement, the USD 50.0 million loan will be provided to restore the economic activities of 30,000 microenterprises affected by COVID-19. With this support, the microenterprises are expected to create sustainable self and wage employment for 75,000 people.
Besides, ongoing activities under the Technical Assistance of the project are: use of mobile phone-based technology as a means of business transactions and financing for microenterprises, marketing of microenterprise’s products through e-commerce/f-commerce platforms, business cluster development and capacity development. These activities will be implemented on a larger scale with the 0.50 million Technical Assistance grant. Duration of the project will be two years under this additional financing.
Among others, Mr. Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division; Dr. Pear Mohammad, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division; Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF; Ms. Syeda Amina Fahmeen, Deputy Secretary, Economic Relations Division; Ms. Mursheda Zaman, Deputy Secretary, Financial Institutions Division; Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam, Senior General Manager, PKSF; Dr. Meshabuddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, MDP, PKSF and some other officers of ERD, PKSF and ADB were present in the virtual signing ceremony.
“PKSF Prosperity Program accelerating the nation’s march towards sustainable poverty alleviation”
Says Senior Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance
The living status of the poor or the extreme poor reflects the lack of choices they suffer from. And Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is relentlessly working to diversify their choices to help them come out of extreme poverty, said PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad on Wednesday, 9 December 2020. He was speaking at a webinar organized to share the progress of a multidimensional extreme poverty program, titled Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People,being implemented by PKSF with joint funding from the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID) and the European Union.
Mr Abdur Rouf Talukder, Senior Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, spoke at the webinar as the chief guest while Mr Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, FCDO Development Director Ms Judith Herbertson and EU Head of Delegation to Bangladesh Mr Maurizio Cian took part as special guests.
Popularly known as ‘Prosperity’, this 6-year program thrives to lift 10 lakh people of 2.5 lakh households out of extreme poverty by 2025. Launched in April 2019, Prosperity covers nearly 200 Unions of 43 Upazilas under Kurigram, Thakurgaon, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Magura, Patuakhali, Bhola, Sunamganj, Kishoreganj and Habiganj districts. Inhabitants of these districts are vulnerable to present and future climate shocks that threaten their lives and livelihoods. During the 1-year inception phase, more than 30,000 extreme-poor households have been brought under Prosperity’s coverage.
Delivering the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah hoped that the Prosperity program would make significant contributions to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the 7th Five Year Plan of the Government of Bangladesh.
Mr Abdur Rouf Talukder, the Chief Guest of the session, noted that the Prosperity’s multidimensional interventions would eradicate poverty and its causes in a sustainable way.
Ms Judith Herbertson of FCDO and Mr Maurizio Cian of EU acknowledged Bangladesh’s impressive progress in poverty reduction and reiterated their commitment to support poverty alleviation programs.
High officials of different line ministries and departments, Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers of the Program’s working areas, representatives from development partners and development organizations, experts on extreme poverty and academicians also spoke at the webinar.
Sustainable Enterprise Project
World Bank Virtual Mission meets the PKSF Managing Director
Mr. Christophe Crepin, Practice Manager, South Asia, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) had a virtual meeting with Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director and Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1 of PKSF on 09 December 2020. Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) PKSF. Ms. Suiko Yoshijima, Task Team Leader (TTL)-SEP, the World Bank; Mr. Iqbal Ahmed, Environmental Safeguards Specialist, the World Bank also took part in the virtual meeting.
The meeting discussed on a range of issues related to environmental concerns including policy implications of the Project, digital financing at the microenterprise level, technology transfer, use of e-commerce platform, scaling up microenterprises etc.
The PKSF Managing Director highlighted the prospects of large-scale employment generation in the microenterprise sector, that creates an increasing demand for fund. Mr. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF stressed on the need for extended technical and financial support for scaling up microenterprise interventions to ensure the country’s overall development.
Mr. Crepin thanked the Managing Director of PKSF and expressed his satisfaction at the progress made under the SEP despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the World Bank highly values an accomplished partner like PKSF and looks forward to continuing the collaboration in future.
Webinar held on Climate Change and the Role of Youth
Involvement of youths in all kinds of efforts can help sustainably tackle the climate change impacts. This was the dominant view expressed in the virtual workshop on ‘Climate Change and the Role of Youth’ organized by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 08 September 2020. It was organized to increase the active involvement of youth in the country’s various climate change related measures and to raise awareness among young people in this regard.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the workshop while Mr Mashud Ahmed, Managing Director (Additional Secretary) of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust (BCCT) was the Guest of Honour. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that climate change impacts have endangered the human race with an unprecedented pace. He emphasized on strengthening the role of youth in tackling this crisis. Dr. Ahmad called on young people to get involved in everything from policy formulation to implementation at national and sub-national levels.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour, Mr. Mashud Ahmed, Managing Director (Additional Secretary) of Bangladesh Climate Change Trust, said that there is no alternative to ensure the participation of the most creative and enterprising youths of the country in tackling the impacts of climate change and achieving the Vision 2021 and 2041.
Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF, in his welcome speech, noted that 65 per cent of the world’s population is youth. Without involving this large population, we cannot expect sustainable development, he added. He said that the youth force is a must to mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF gave the vote of thanks and Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Director (Environment and Climate Change) made the presentation on ‘Climate Change and Role of the Youth’.
More than 120 participants, including representatives of various ministries, departments, non-governmental organizations, development partners, Executive Directors of PKSF POs, senior officials of PKSF, members of PKSF’s ‘Youth in Development’ and ‘Adolescent Clubs’ attended the virtual workshop.
Inception Workshop for ‘Extended Community Climate Change Project-Flood’
A virtual inception workshop for the ‘Extended Community Climate Change Project-Flood (ECCCP-Flood)’ — funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) — was held on 20 August 2020. Ms Fatima Yasmin, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance was present as the Chief Guest of the event presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Dr AKM Rafique Ahammed,Director General, Department of Environment was the Special Guest. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, the Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome remarks, and Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Director (Environment and Climate Change) gave a presentation on the project.
The ECCCP-Flood project will strengthen the adaptation capacity and increase the resilience of marginalized communities in 5 flood-prone districts — Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, and Jamalpur. Two lac people are expected to be benefitted from the project. The major activities of the project includes raising homestead plinths, cultivating flood-resilient crops, installing tube-wells and flood-resilient sanitary latrines, livestock rearing etc. PKSF will implement the project through its Partner Organizations (POs).
The speakers in the workshop expressed their hope that the ECCCP-Flood project will also provide significant co-benefits — such as improved health, food security, gender equality, women’s security etc — that can help mitigate the impacts of climate change and contribute to green recovery.
More than 200 participants, including representatives of various ministries, departments, directorates, Deputy Commissioners of five districts, members of PKSF Governing Body, representatives of various non-governmental organizations and development partners, Executive Directors of PKSF POs, and senior officials of PKSF, attended the webinar.
PKSF Launches ‘Rural Microenterprise Transformation Project (RMTP)’ to Boost Microenterprise Sector
As a major boost to Bangladesh’s microenterprise sector, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), an apex development agency of the country, has floated a new project titled ‘Rural Microenterprise Transformation Project (RMTP)’. The six-year project, jointly financed by PKSF, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), was launched on 23 August 2020.
Mr Md Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance was the Chief Guest at the RMTP’s virtual launching ceremony presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome remarks, and Deputy Managing Director Mr Md Fazlul Kader presented on the different aspects of the project. HE Ms Winnie Estrup Petersen, Ambassador of the Royal Danish Embassy to Bangladesh, and IFAD’s Country Director Mr Omer Zafar attended the meeting as the Guests of Honor. Besides, members of PKSF’s Governing Body and officials of PKSF and its Partner Organizations (POs) exchanged views at the event where they stressed on the need for proper implementation of the project for effective expansion of the country’s microenterprise sector.
Describing the RMTP as a time-befitting project, Senior Secretary Mr Md Ashadul Islam said that development of microenterprises is crucial for the country’s overall economy. Ensuring adequate financing for marginal producers and micro-entrepreneurs is a big challenge and this project, which goes in line with the government’s development strategy, will help address this challenge, he commented. Terming PKSF ‘an iconic institution’ in development operations in Bangladesh, the Senior Secretary said PKSF’s POs have proven efficiency in implementing similar projects like the RMTP. He also hoped that this project will help ensure sustainable expansion of marginal microenterprises.
Highlighting Denmark’s experience in working in Bangladesh as a development partner, Danish Ambassador Ms Winnie Estrup Petersen said supporting small farmers to increase agricultural productivity and output have positive impacts on household income growth, poverty reduction and food security. “The RMTP supports marginal and small farmers, farmer groups, micro-entrepreneurs and agri-businesses to improve their operation and develop commercially beneficial linkages within selective commodity value chains. The RMTP will combine financial and non-financial services to create the best possible impact to enhance incomes and reduce poverty,” she noted.
Mr Omer Zafar, Country Director of IFAD said, “IFAD is delighted to invest in this project with its trusted partners PKSF and DANIDA. The RMTP will strengthen the rural microenterprise sector by applying a value chain approach bringing together all actors – micro-entrepreneurs, input suppliers, technical services, microfinance institutions, non-banking financial institutions, agribusinesses, processors, wholesalers and retailers. Investments will focus on nutritious high value horticulture, livestock, and aquaculture commodities complying with food quality and safety standards, as well as non-farm products and services. A transactional and informational digital platform will also be developed to seamlessly link supply chain stakeholders. The RMTP will generate multiple social, nutritional, financial, economic and institutional benefits for some 450,000 microenterprises representing two million rural women, men and youth, and will create productive jobs for many more.”
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that Bangladesh’s economy is still largely rural and agriculture-based, and 80 percent people are working in the informal sector. To transform this, appropriate financing along with technology transfer, training, market expansion, and forward and backward linkages are required, he commented. The eminent economist further said that the rural people won’t need to migrate elsewhere for work if appropriate employment opportunities through microenterprises can be generated in their areas. Referring to the March 7 speech of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Dr QK Ahmad said PKSF’s operations in the grassroots are helping ensure the socio-economic emancipation of people as enunciated in the historic speech. He thanked the IFAD and the DANIDA for financing the project.
In the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said that PKSF has been implementing the Microenterprise Program since 2001 as one of its core programs to expedite poverty reduction by creating self and wage employments. He remarked that the RMTP would accelerate poverty alleviation by expanding microenterprise activities in the agricultural sector. Along with financial services, the project will provide various technical and technological support to micro-entrepreneurs, he noted.
In his presentation on the new project, PKSF Deputy Managing Director Mr Md Fazlul Kader said that value chain development, financial services, and institutional capacity development support will be provided for the promotion of agricultural products under three major farm sectors — livestock and poultry, crops and horticulture, and fisheries and aquaculture. He informed that the total fund of the project, which will directly benefit 0.45 million micro-entrepreneurs across the country, stands at $200 million, in which IFAD’s contribution is $81 million and DANIDA will provide $8.30 million. PKSF, its POs concerned, non-bank financial institutions, entrepreneurs and private sector organizations will join hands to accumulate the rest of the fund. This new project will use different innovative technologies to further widen the scope of agricultural activities. Apart from initiating farming activities based on Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the project will adopt Blockchain technology to ensure more transparency in the management of financial services. A crowdfunding platform will be launched to create opportunities for equity financing for the microenterprises, he informed.
Mr Kader also highlighted the project’s key focus areas which include production and market expansion of safe agricultural produce and improvement of the nutritional status of the producers and the consumers alike. The project will provide support for the production of agro-products in compliance with the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GGAP) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocols. Traceability and certification of agricultural products will be introduced for the branding of agricultural products. Cultivation of different high-value fruits and crops such as avocado, mangosteen, dragon fruit, coffee beans, Barhi dates, hazelnut, cashew nut etc will be introduced to increase productivity and income of the farmers.
Prior to the RMTP, PKSF undertook four projects with the financial support of IFAD — Microfinance and Technical Support Project (MFTSP), Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmers Project (MFMSFP), Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC) and the ongoing Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises (PACE) project.
Participating in the discussion, the representatives of PKSF’s POs expressed their enthusiasm to implement the RMTP under the supervision of PKSF. They mentioned that they were fully capable of attaining the goal and objectives of the RMTP, as they already had substantial experience in taking part in the implementation of previous projects such as PACE. Lauding PKSF’s transparent and efficient management in project implementation, they expressed their hope that the POs, guided by PKSF, will be able to implement all field activities smoothly of this multi-faceted project for microenterprise development that includes financial services, business cluster-based value chain development, innovative technologies like blockchain, e-commerce, crowdfunding platform, branding, market expansion, traceability and certification of the products of microenterprises.
PKSF Observes National Mourning Day
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a virtual discussion meeting on 15 August 2020 to mark the 45th martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the great architect of our Liberation, on the occasion of the National Mourning Day 2020.Special prayers were also offered on the same day for the peace of the departed souls.
Hon’ble Deputy Speaker Advocate Md Fazle Rabbi Miah, MP graced the event as the Chief Guest and Ms Aroma Datta, an Hon’ble Member of Parliament, was the distinguished discussant. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the virtual discussion while Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech.
The Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, in his address, recalled with deep reverence all those who were martyred on 15 August 1975. Describing August 15 as a black day in the history of the nation, he said Bangabandhu had the opportunity to run the country for only three and a half years after independence, and in this short time he had come a long way in rebuilding war-wrecked Bangladesh. The development of Bangladesh would have been accelerated if he had got more time. Noting that the anti-independence forces that were behind the brutal massacre in 1975 are still active in the country in various forms, Advocate Md Fazle Rabbi Miah urged everyone to stay vigilant against these evil forces and to continue united efforts to build a prosperous Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the Father of the Nation.
Ms Aroma Dutta highlighted various aspects of Bangabandhu’s life and described him as a true leader of the masses. Referring the glorious achievements and sacrifices of Bangabandhu for the nation, the Honorable Member of Parliament said, “The Bengali nation is forever indebted to the blood of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and this debt can never be repaid.”
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad commented that Bangabandhu’s philosophy was centered on people at all times. He called upon all to work relentlessly to spread Bangabandhu’s ideology not only through meetings and speeches but also through effective actions. He remarked that in order to build Bangladesh on the ideals of Bangabandhu, it is necessary to eradicate unscrupulous, opportunist forces from all levels of the state and the society.
In the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah described August 15 as a disgraceful day for the nation. He stressed that there is no alternative to working together to build the Bangladesh of Bangabandhu’s dreams by transforming the loss into strength.
Among others, PKSF Board Members Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Mr Arijit Chowdhury, Ms Parveen Mahmud and Ms Nazneen Sultana addressed the virtual discussion meeting.To mark the end of the event, PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin gave the vote of thanks. All employees of PKSF and chief executives/representatives of its Partner Organizations (POs), and civil society members attended the virtual gathering that was broadcast live on PKSF’s official Facebook page.
Different POs of PKSF too took up programmes to observe the day in due fervor and solemnity. It’s mentionable that Manabik Sahajya Sangstha (MMS), a PO of PKSF, distributed relief among flood-affected people. The relief was sourced from the fund raised through PKSF employees’ donation of 40 percent of their Bangla New Year bonus.
Inception Workshop Held on GCF Readiness Program
A virtual inception workshop for the project titled ‘Strengthening the capacity of PKSF, Executing Entities (EEs) and Implementing Entities (IEs) for effective participation of GCF Works in Bangladesh’ was held on 06 August 2020. The project, financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) under the Readiness Support Mechanism, will undertake different activities for PKSF and government and non-governmental organizations on various topics of GCF to increase and strengthen their capacity for participation in GCF activities.
The speakers emphasized on the need for government funding as well as raising funds from various international sources to combat climate change risks. The Chief Guest and the Special Guest assured PKSF of extending overall cooperation of their respective ministries in future PKSF endevaours concerning GCF activities.
Mr Ziaul Hasan, ndc, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was present as the Chief Guest at the virtual meeting. Dr. Nahid Rashid, Wing Chief (United Nations Division) and Additional Secretary of the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance was the special guest. Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF, presided over the meeting. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, delivered the welcome remarks and Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Director (Environment and Climate Change) gave a brief presentation on the project’s activities.
About a hundred participants, including representatives of various ministries, departments, directorates of the government, and of non-governmental organizations, executive directors of various PKSF Partner Organizations, and senior officials of PKSF, attended the webinar.
SGA Signed between PKSF and Finance Division on New Project
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is set to implement a project titled ‘Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services’ funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
On 13 August 2020, a Subsidiary Grant Agreement (SGA) was signed between PKSF and the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh at at Bangladesh Secretariat in this regard.
Mr. Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, and Mr. Sirajun Noor Chowdhury, Joint Secretary of Finance Division, signed the SGA on behalf of their respective institutions.
Mr. Md. Hasan Khaled, Senior General Manager (Program), PKSF; Mr. Touhidul Islam, Deputy Secretary, Finance Division, and Ms. Mursheda Zaman, Deputy Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance were also present in the SGA signing ceremony.
The main objective of the project is to improve the capacity and knowledge of livestock farmers on good farming practices through training, vaccination camp etc. to reduce the morbidity and mortality risks of livestock and encouraging farmers to invest more in livestock rearing. The project will also improve the capacity of different stakeholders on risk mitigation services for the livestock sector of the country.
PKSF launched online training course “Operation Management in COVID 19 situation” for its POs.
To address the unique challenges that the Partner Organizations (POs) are facing in implementing their day to day development operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, an online training course for PO employees is launched by PKSF on 12 August 2020. PKSF Managing Director Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah inaugurated the training program titled ‘Operation Management in COVID 19 situation’. Deputy Managing Director Mr. Golam Touhid delivered the introductory remarks.
The overall objective of the course is to better equip the PO staffs for managing their activities both at office and field level during the COVID 19 situation as per Government and PKSF guidelines. The four-day long training course consists four customized problem-solving sessions each in a day having a duration of 90 minutes. The first batch of this course has a total of 21 top level employees from 21 different POs as the training participant. However, PKSF is contemplating to cover more staffs from all its other POs under this on-line training program as per their demand. A summarized detail about the course can be seen on the link attached below.
PKSF Takes up Programmes for the National Mourning Day
To observe the National Mourning Day 2020 in a befitting manner, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has taken up elaborate programmes thoughout the month of August.
As part of those, a big-sized drop-down banner has been hung from the top of PKSF Bhaban to mark the martyrdom anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Also, to pay tribute to the Father of Nation, all employees of PKSF are wearing black badges throughout the month.
A virtual discussion to mark the day is set to be held on 15 August 2020. Mr Md Fazle Rabbi Miah, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad, is expected to grace the event as the Chief Guest. Ms Aroma Dutta, Member of Parliament, will be a special guest at the event to be chaired by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah will deliver the welcome remarks. A special virtual paryer will be offered immediately after the discussion meeting for salvation of the soul and eternal peace of the Father of the Nation and the other deceased members of his family.
The national flag will remain hoisted at half-mast on 15 August 2020. Also, an essay-writing competition on the life of the Father of the Nation will bearranged among the school-going children of PKSF’s employees.
Besides, the Partner Organizations of PKSF have been suggested to organize various programmes to observe the National Mourning Day this year, with particular focus on extending relief to the poor affected by the ongoing flood and the coronavirus situations.
Despite Covid-19 and flood situations, Bangladesh continues stride to realizing SDGs
Speakers say in a webinar organized by PKSF
Bangladesh has managed to continue its journey towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and economic growth despite the setbacks posed by the Covid-19 and the flood situations. Speakers came up with this observation at a webinar organized by PKSF on 25 July 2020.
Hon’ble Planning Minister Mr M. A. Mannan, MP was the Chief Guest at the program presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Ms Zuena Aziz, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs), Prime Minister’s Office, and Dr Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Planning Commission also spoke on the occasion. PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah gave the welcome speech and Deputy Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin delivered the introductory remarks.
Speakers in the virtual gathering discussed on the assessment of Bangladesh’s progress in SDG implementation as stated in the Sustainable Development Report-2020, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and on the effects of Covid-19 and the ongoing flood situations on realizing the SDGs in Bangladesh.
Hon’ble Planning Minister Mr. M. A. Mannan said that the Covid-19 epidemic is posing some challenges to development initiatives and economic growth, but the government has in place appropriate plans of actions to address the situation. Referring to the political commitment of the government to implement the SDGs within the 2030 deadline, he expressed his hope that the development activities of the government would be further accelerated in the post-Covid period.
Ms Zuena Aziz, in her speech, said that the government is committed and sincere to protecting the lives and livelihoods of the poor and has thus significantly increased social protection expenditures in the budget for the current fiscal year. Noting that the SDG goals are embedded in the economic plans of the government, she hoped that Bangladesh would be able to achieve the SDGs within the stipulated time.
Planning Commission Member Dr Shamsul Alam said that Covid-19 contraction rate is declining in Bangladesh. He emphasized on the need for carrying on economic activities without relaxing the health safety rules to keep the ongoing progress and economic growth uninterrupted. He also highlighted the various steps taken by the government to implement the SDGs.
PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, in his speech, termed the government actions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic as farsighted and time-befitting. Highlighting the importance of ensuring transparency along with proper planning, action and finance for any development activities, Dr. QK Ahmad said that in order to achieve sustainable development, emphasis should be given on quality education alongside with other Goals.
Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, the Managing Director of PKSF, said that in the global reality of the Covid-19 epidemic, public-private partnership and cooperation must be strengthened to ensure the achievement of SDGs in Bangladesh.
On June 30, 2020, the Sustainable Development Report 2020 was published delineating progresses made by different countries in achieving the SDGs. Mr. Mahfuzul Islam Shamim, Deputy General Manager (SDGs), PKSF gave a presentation on the report at the webinar. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the report after reviewing data from various sources, including governments, the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization, informed Mr. Shamim. According to the report, Bangladesh ranks 109 out of 166 countries in the world in the progress towards achieving the SDGs. Also, Bangladesh stands fifth among the South Asian countries and is ahead of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this.
Dr. Md. Jasim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF gave the introductory speech in this virtual meeting. Mr. Mohsin Ali, Executive Director, WAVE Foundation; Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka; and Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, Member, Board of Directors, PKSF, discussed on the presentation. The webinar was attended by executive directors and senior executives of various PKSF Partner Organizations and journalists from electronic and print media.
PKSF Chairman participates in high-level GCF talks
The Green Climate Fund (GCF), founded under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on 9 July 2020 convened a high-level global forum to explore innovative solutions to help developing countries finance a green, resilient recovery from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was a distinguished guest at the virtual gathering titled “At a turning point – Catalysing climate finance in the era of COVID-19” and held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the UN’s annual stock take of global prospects to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Noting that green recovery requires massive efforts, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad pointed out that while “we need green recovery, otherwise we will be much more impacted by climate change disasters, we also need economic and social recovery at the same time” in order to achieve sustainable development.
PKSF is a National Implementing Entity (NIE) of the GCF.
Apart from the PKSF Chairman, four ministers from Africa and Europe, and three chiefs of international non-governmental GCF partner organizations spoke at the event.
Over 500 people from around the world joined the virtual forum.
PKSF and SDGs: Daylong online training organized for PO officials
A day-long online training on SDG-related capacity building of the Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF was organized on 20 June 2020. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad inaugurated the training program titled ‘Capacity Building and Way Forward for SDG Implementation in Bangladesh’.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF conducted the first session which focused on the definitions and concepts of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Highlighting Bangladesh’s success in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he emphasized on the need for ensuring sustainability and governance in effectively designing and implementing SDG-related activities.
Mr Md Monirul Islam, Deputy Secretary of the SDG Cell under the Prime Minister’s Office, made a presentation on the SDG Goals, Targets and Indicators, SDG Mapping and M&E Framework.
Mr Md Alamgir Hossain, Deputy Director of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics conducted a session on SDG localization and assessment tools and the tracking process of SDG progress.
Forty officials from 20 POs took part in the training.
Tripartite Agreement Signed for New Project
PKSF, SDC, Swisscontact join hands for reducing risks in livestock sector
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is set to implement a new project titled Strengthening Resilience of Livestock Farmers through Risk Reducing Services funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
A tripartite agreement has recently been signed among PKSF, SDC and Swisscontact. Mr Derek George, Deputy Director of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, representing the SDC, and Mr Anirban Bhowmik, Country Director, Swisscontact signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. On behalf of PKSF, Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director signed the agreement.
The project aims to improve capacity and knowledge of livestock farmers on good farming practices to reduce morbidity and mortality risks of livestock, and to encourage farmers to invest more in livestock rearing. It will also work to improve the capacity of different stakeholders on risk mitigation services for the livestock sector in the country.
As per a recent government order, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) will resume its day-to-day operations from 31 May 2020. In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and ensure health safety of all employees, an Office Order has been issued upon approval of the PKSF authorities. The Office Order will remain in effect until further notice. Please see the attached files.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin
POs Requested for Measures to Resume Field-level Operations
All Partner Organizations (POs) of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) have been asked to take measures to resume their operations at the field level.
A letter signed by PKSF Deputy Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin on 11 May 2020 read, “The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Office has issued a letter directing the Deputy Commissioners of all districts to allow the POs of PKSF to resume their activities in the field ensuring full compliance to the Government-issued health directives. You (POs) are requested to take appropriate measures to this end.”
In the wake of Covid-19 spread, PKSF and all of its POs suspended field-level operations in late-March 2020.
PKSF and POs Donate BDT 4cr to HPM’s Relief Fund
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and its Partner Organizations (POs) have donated BDT 4 crore to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
In a program at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on 10 May 2020, PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad handed over the cheque of the donation to Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary to the Hon’ble Prime Minister. PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah was with the PKSF Chairman at the time.
To complement the Government’s measures to combat Covid-19 spread, the POs of PKSF have also distributed food packages among more than 1.34 lakh families, and emergency protective materials (such as surgical gloves and masks, soaps, hand sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment etc) among various personnel and organizations across Bangladesh. Apart from these, they are carrying out various awareness campaigns as well to keep people safe from Covid-19 contraction.
PKSF has formulated a Complaint Box to its website in order to enable the staffs of its POs and relevant stakeholders to file complaints and seek redress in the event of any unfortunate incidence while availing PKSF service. It has also formulated a Policy on Complaint Redress System to treat the complaints placed in the box.
Bangabandhu Corner at PKSF
Today at 3 pm (March 16, 2020), just on the eve of the historic moment as Bangladesh is set to observe the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a Bangabandhu Corner has been installed and inaugurated at Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation.
PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad formally made a speech and opened the corner for the visitors. PKSF Managing Director Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, four Deputy Managing Directors and high officials of PKSF were present.
The Bangabandhu Corner has been thoughtfully and aesthetically organized, which has a commendable collection of books, illustrations of some historic photographs and some memorable quotes from Bangabandhu. The corner has audio-visual screening facilities that present Bangabandhu and Bangladesh.
Bangabandhu Corner at the 2nd floor of PKSF
It is really a grand site, worthy to be visited again and again.
SEIP: Meeting Held with Caregiving Training Providers
A consultation meeting of stakeholders in caregiving under the instance of the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) was held at PKSF Bhaban on 09 March 2020. The meeting focused on need assessment of caregivers in Bangladesh.
Representatives from eight caregiver training institutes including CRP, Home Care Association, Sir William Beveridge Foundation, Sajida Foundation, SAIC Institute of Medical Technology, TMSS, Subarta Trust and United Hospital Ltd took part in the meeting moderated by Mr Md Abul Kashem, General Manager of PKSF.
The main objective of meeting was to develop caregiving as a professional sector in Bangladesh.
Meeting held with vendors on PPR
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has been following the Public Procurement Rules (PPR) since 01 July 2018. In order to inform about the PPR, PKSF organized a meeting with its enlisted providers of goods/works/services at PKSF Bhaban on 18 February 2020. Around 150 representatives from the enlisted vendors of PKSF attended the meeting.
The meeting was presided over by Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF. He urged the vendors to follow the instructions of PPR carefully while submitting tenders.
Mr Md Ziauddin Iqbal, Senior General Manager (Admin) of PKSF delivered the welcome remarks. Md Sarwar Morshed, Manager of PKSF made a presentation on Procurement Procedure.
It is hoped that this meeting will help ensure further transparency in PKSF’s procurement system and will elevate the competitive business environment.
PKSF and SDGs
Daylong training organized for PO officials
A day-long training on SDG-related capacity building of the Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF was organized by PKSF on February 06, 2020. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF, inaugurated the training program on ‘Capacity Building and Way Forward for SDG Implementation in Bangladesh’.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF conducted the first session which focused on the definitions and concepts of SDGs. Highlighting Bangladesh’s success in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he emphasized on the need for ensuring sustainability and governance in effectively designing and implementing SDG-related activities.
Mr Md Forhad Siddique, Deputy Chief of General Economics Division, Ministry of Planning, made a presentation on SDG Goals, Targets and Indicators, SDG Mapping and M&E Framework.
Mr Md Alamgir Hossain, Deputy Director of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics conducted a session on SDG localization and assessment tools and the tracking process of SDG progress.
28 officials from 15 POs took part in the training.
DFID-EU team visits Satkhira to
explore its challenges and potentiality
A high-profile team comprised of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU) officials visited Satkhira, a southwestern district to see for themselves the challenges of implementing the Pathways to Prosperity project. It is an area that is already bearing the brunt of climate change.
It was their first visit in the project area after the program took off in April 2019 with funding from the DFID and the EU.
During the 3-day visit from 4-6 February 2020, the delegation also explored the challenges of extreme-poor household selection, linking the extreme poor people to public and private service institutions, and creating a congenial environment for optimum use of the potentials of these people.
They also explored various income generating activities around the Sundarbans, which is already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change.
On the first day of the field visit, the delegation had a meeting with a number of participants of ‘Programmed Initiatives for Monga Eradication (PRIME)’, an earlier flagship project implemented by PKSF from 2006 to 2016. During the meeting, a number of participants said how the PRIME interventions had changed their lives for the better.
The DFID officials in the team were John Warburton, Team Leader, Extreme Poverty, Resilience and Climate Change; ABM Feroz Ahmed, Livelihoods Adviser; and Tasneem Rahman, Programme Management Adviser. From the EU, Maurizio Cian, Minister Counsellor & Head of Cooperation; and Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary & Team Leader, Food Security, Nutrition & Livelihood Development, took part in the visit.
PKSF General Manager Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury, Sector Coordinator (Community Mobilisation) Sadar Arif Uddin and other PKSF officials accompanied the delegation.
POTENTIAL VALUE CHAIN OF CRAB, EEL FISH (KUCHIA)
On 5 February 2020, the delegation of the development partners visited a crablet hatchery established and operated through Nowabenki Gonomukhi Foundation (NGF), a partner organization of PKSF in Shyamnagar of Satkhira. They explored the potentiality of crab rearing and its value chain in the light of the Prosperity project, which aims to lift some 1 million people from about 2,50,000 households out of extreme poverty by 2025. The team also visited an eel farming project.
ASSURANCE OF SUPPORT
The team held two meetings with Satkhira Deputy Commissioner (DC) SM Mostofa Kamal and Shyamnagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) ANM Abuzar Giffary at their offices.
Both the DC and the UNO gave assurance of necessary support, and expressed hope that the project will improve the lives of the extreme poor people in the area.
PKSF Organizes a Seminar on ‘Equality and Inequality’
PKSF organized a seminar titled ‘Equality and Inequality’ on 29 January 2020 at PKSF Bhaban. Dr Selim Jahan, former Director, Department of Human Development Report and Poverty Alleviation Department, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was the key speaker of the program. It was presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF.
Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF offered the welcome remarks. He identified inequality as a major hurdle to ensure sustainable development.
Dr Selim Jahan noted that we should not confuse diversity with discrimination. He also focused on the multidimensional aspects of inequality. Dr Jahan emphasized on addressing inequality in all kinds of opportunities including education, healthcare and rights to justice.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad asked to work together to eliminate inequality and ensure human dignity of the people, as reflected in the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh.
University teachers, researchers, PKSF officials and representatives from various government and non-governmental organizations attended the seminar. The program became very lively and interactive with an open floor session.
A series of meeting with JICA held at PKSF
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) will shortly implement a new project titled “Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction (IRMP)” with the technical assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
In designing the project the JICA expert team led by Mr. Yojiro Fujiwara, exchanged views in a series of meetings from 26th January to 29th January 2020 with PKSF. Mr. Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director introduced the contents of mutual deliberation. Executive Directors and Heads of Microfinance of the POs primarily selected for the project participated in the meetings. Besides, JICA expert team also discussed with the officials of Program, Training & Research departments of PKSF for future collaboration in realizing IRMP. The Risk Mitigation team of PKSF facilitated the meetings.
Impact of Lumpy Skin Disease on Livestock Production and
its Controlling Measures in Bangladesh
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a workshop titled ‘Impact of Lumpy Skin Disease on Livestock Production and its Controlling Measures in Bangladesh’ on 23 January 2020. Mr Kazi Wasi Uddin, Additional Secretary (Livestock-2), Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock was the Chief Guest of the program, presided over by Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF. Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF delivered the welcome remarks. Dr Md Gias Uddin, Scientific Officer and Departmental Head, Bangladesh LivestockResearch Institute (BLRI), presented the keynote paper.
Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury, General Manager of PKSF gave his presentation on ‘PKSF’s Role in Livestock Production for Sustainable Development’.
Dr Nathu Ram Sarkar, General Director, BLRI and Dr Abdul Jabbar Shikder, Director General, Livestock Department, BLRI were discussants at the workshop.
Mr Kazi Wasi Uddin, the Chief Guest of the workshop, informed the house that the Animal Research Institute is working on a vaccine to prevent the ‘Lumpy Skin Disease’ of cattle. Currently, the department concerned is using ‘Goat Pox Vaccine’ to prevent the disease. Around 5 lac vaccines have already been distributed at the field-level, added the Chief Guest.
Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF, emphasized on raising awareness on ‘Lumpy Skin Disease’ of cattle to minimize its adverse impacts. He also explored the potentials of livestock sector in poverty alleviation.
Concerned stakeholders shared their opinions in the open discussion session of the workshop. A total of 275 persons — 37 from concerned ministry and governmental organizations, 160 from PKSF’s Partner Organizations and the rest from PKSF – attended the program.
Pathways to Prosperity project
PKSF MD inaugurates 2-day meeting with POs
The top management of PKSF has held a two-day meeting with all the 20 Partner Organisations that are implementing the Pathways to Prosperity project on the ground, to share the lessons learned during the piloting phase and also to give them a set of general guidelines for the project’s Implementation Phase.
The Project Implementation Unit (PIU) established at the PKSF level organised the meeting at the PKSF Bhaban on 22-23 January 2020. PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah was the Chief Guest of the opening the session.
The meeting came at a crucial time for the project, with the one-year Inception Phase expected to end in March 2020 and the five-year Implementation Phase due to begin in April 2020.
The project, jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU), aims to lift some 1 million people out of extreme poverty by 2025 by creating wage-based employments as well as self-employments through a range of multidimensional interventions.
Acknowledging that Pathways to Prosperity is indeed a challenging project, the PKSF Managing Director said both PKSF and its partners have decades of experience of implementing challenging projects successfully. “There is a general perception that the people in Bangladesh start many things, but never finish them. But in PKSF, we do finish whatever we start,” he added.
PKSF Deputy Managing Directors Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Mr Golam Touhid and Mr AQM Golam Mawla moderated different technical sessions of the meeting, participated by the Executive Directors of the POs or their representatives as well as other senior officials.
Other senior PKSF officials, including Senior General Managers, General Managers and PPEPP’s Sector Coordinators, were also present.
During the two-day meeting, PKSF officials held several technical workshops, including on extreme-poor household selection process, fraud management and project fund management.
They also delivered presentations on the project brief, initial findings from the piloting phase, and lessons learned during this phase.
Each of these sessions was followed by an open discussion and question-answer session in which participants raised various issues and challenges they face on the ground.
Presenting the initial findings during the piloting phase, Mr AQM Golam Mawla, also the Project Director, underscored the importance of accurate data collection for identifying the poorest of the poor in the project areas.
The project is being implemented in 15 districts of three poverty-prone geographical regions, namely Northwest Region, Coastal Belt and Northeast Haor Region. The piloting, which began on 1 October 2019, is being implemented in 17 Unions of 10 districts covering all the three regions.
Closing the session on 23 January, PKSF Deputy Managing Director Mr AQM Golam Mawla said that the project would have to find those sitting at the bottom rung of the ladder and work for them. “If we can do that, if we can lift them out of poverty, it will be a big achievement for us all.”
A World Bank Delegation Calls on Managing Director of PKSF:
Talks held on various aspects of Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)
A World Bank delegation led by Mr. Christophe Crepin, Practice Manager, Environment Natural and Blue Economy, had a courtesy meeting with the Managing Director of PKSF, Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah on 14 January, 2020 at PKSF Bhaban. Ms. Suiko Yoshijima, Task Team Leader (TTL)-SEP, the World Bank; Dr. Nadia Sharmin, Co-TTL-SEP were the other members of the delegation Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1; Mr. Md. Rawshan Habib, Deputy Project Coordinator, Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) PKSF also attended the meeting.
The talks ranged on various issues relating to environmental concerns including future scope of financing. Mr. Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, MD, PKSF noted on the prospects of huge employment generation in the microenterprise sector and how this creates an increasing demand for credit. He stressed on PKSF’s need for extended technical and financial support for scaling up microenterprises’ interventions to ensure the country’s overall development.
Mr. Christophe thanked the Managing Director of PKSF and hailed the role PKSF is playing in achieving sustainable development through microenterprises. He commended the SEP project as a learning model for the stakeholders.
Mushroom Production in Bangladesh: Properties and Potentials
A workshop titled “Mushroom Production in Bangladesh: Properties and Potentials” was held at PKSF Bhaban on 14 January 2020. Dr Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, Additional Secretary of the Cabinet Division, Government of Bangladesh, gave the keynote presentation on importance of mushroom for human health.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF presided over the workshop and Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome speech. Specialists in mushroom sector, Executive Directors (EDs) of Partner Organizations (PO) and PKSF officials concerned were present in the workshop. Two mushroom farmers shared their experiences of production and marketing their produce. Dr Nirod Chandra Sarker, Deputy Director of Mushroom Development Institute, gave his expert opinion on mushroom production, processing and marketing.
During the workshop, the PKSF Chairman announced the formation of ‘Mushroom Group’, consisting of 12 participating EDs, that will provide recommendations for expanding mushroom production.
PKSF Managing Director visits field activities in Satkhira
Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), visited various activities implemented through PKSF’s Partner Organization Unnayan Procheshta and Satkhira Unnayan Sangstha (SUS) in Sathkhira from 11-12 January 2020. Deputy Managing Director Mr Golam Touhid and General Manager Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury accompanied him.
During the two-day visit, the PKSF Managing Director inspected a range of interventions — being implemented under PKSF’s Agriculture Unit, and Fisheries and Livestock Unit — that include summer tomato cultivation, high-value red cabbage and broccoli cultivation, cropping pattern activities, integrated crop management (ICM) and good agricultural practices (GAP), carp-prawn polyculture and year-round vegetable cultivation on pond dikes. He also talked to members about financial and technical aspects of these income generating activities (IGAs). The members said that they were earning a fairly good amount of income from the IGAs, and many were gradually emerging as entrepreneurs. The Agriculture Unit and the Fisheries and Livestock Unit of PKSF are providing necessary financial and technical support to these members. The PKSF Managing Director also inspected the activities of the Marketing and Service Centre for agro products of Unnayan Procheshta.
Unnayan Procheshta also showcased their Innovative Agricultural Initiatives (IAIs) namely, dairy clusters, milk value chain activities, buck service centers, and vermi-compost production and marketing activities. It Zialla village of Tala upazilas, the PKSF delegation also visited the various activities under the PKSF’s PACE project and some notable activities implemented under PRIME project, a flagship programme of PKSF that ended in 2016. The PKSF Managing Director expressed his satisfaction at the field activities.
‘Together we must work to build a Bangladesh free of discrimination’
Speakers urge in a special discussion at PKSF to mark the Victory Day 2019
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a special discussion meeting on 18 December 2019 to mark the Victory Day 2019. Mr Tofail Ahmed, MP, was present as the Chief Guest at the event presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech. The event was anchored by Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF.
Mr Tofail Ahmed, in his speech, highlighted different post-Partition events which, he said, paved way for the people of then East Pakistan to unite under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. They rose against the exploitation and deprivation of the West Pakistani rulers and eventually snatched independence through the Liberation War in 1971. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dedicated his life for the freedom and betterment of the Bengalis. Despite repeated imprisonment and oppression of the ruling class, Bangabandhu never relented. “Bangabandhu had two dreams. One, the independence of Bangladesh. And the other is the economic emancipation of the people of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu achieved the first dream with his strong leadership, while the other is being realized by his able daughter, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” Mr Tofail Ahmed added.
PKSF chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad recalled Mr Tofail Ahmed’s contribution as an organizer of the mass uprising of 1969. He said that the liberation which Bangabandhu called for in his historic March 7 speech has not yet been fully achieved. Independence has been achieved, but the struggle for economic emancipation of the people is still on. The eminent economist urged everyone to work unitedly build a poverty-free, prosperous Bangladesh in the spirit of the Liberation War.
In the welcome speech, Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, the PKSF Managing Director, said that the history of our Liberation War had in the past been distorted by the anti-liberation elements in the country. He hoped that this discussion will enlighten the audience about the true history of the Liberation War and thus it will be conveyed to the next generations.
As part of observing the Victory Day, a drawing and an essay competition were organized for the children of PKSF officials. In this event, prizes were handed over among the winners.
Curtains Drop on PKSF Development Fair 2019
Unprecedented response from buyers boost morale of micro-entrepreneurs
Amid festivity and enthusiasm, curtains dropped on this year’s weeklong PKSF Development Fair at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre (BICC) on 20 November 2019.
Planning Minister Mr MA Mannan MP was the Chief Guest of the Closing Ceremony, presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister for ICT Division, and Ms Habibun Nahar, MP, Deputy Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change were present as Special Guests. PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah delivered the welcome remarks and Deputy Managing Director Dr Md Jashim Uddin gave the vote of thanks.
At the closing ceremony, three POs of PKSF were given special recognitions in the ‘Best Stall’ category: Gram Bikash Kendra (first position), Grameen Jono Unnoyon Sangstha (first runner-up) and Unnayan Prochesta (second runner-up). Mozzarella cheese manufactured with support of Eco-Social Development Organisation, vertical crab culture model demonstrated by Paribar Unnayan Sangstha, and environment-friendly and sustainable building materials showcased by Dwip Unnayan Sangstha were recognised as ‘Most Promising Products’ displayed at the Fair.
An exclusive part of the closing ceremony was the launching of a book titled Perspectives on People-Centred Development: With Particular Reference to Bangladesh authored by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad.
Earlier on 14 November 2019, Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the grand PKSF Development Fair 2019 at BICC.Finance Minister Mr AHM Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP was present at the inaugural ceremony as the Special guest. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the event while PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah gave the welcome speech. At the opening ceremony, former Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury was honoured with ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her unparalleled contribution to the welfare of farmers, poverty reduction, agricultural development and establishment of human dignity. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over a crest, a letter of appreciation and a cheque to Begum Matia Chowdhury.
A total of 125 organizations including PKSF’s Partner Organizations (POs), government and non-government organizations, research and IT institutions and service providers showcased different kinds of products in 190 stalls. In the fair, there was a huge demand of the wide range of products manufactured or processed by the grassroots participants of different PKSF programmes implemented in the field-level by its POs. The fair witnessed sales amounting to BDT 4.15 crore. On an average, 45,000 visitors flocked to the fair every day.
The vibrancy of the fair was compounded by the organization of five seminars held alongside the fair at BICC. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the first four seminars while PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah chaired the last one. Cabinet members, distinguished personalities as well as government high-ups participated in these seminars on issues related to various development aspects of Bangladesh.
The first seminar titled ‘Promoting Microenterprise in Bangladesh: Current Status and Future Prospects’ was organized on 13 November. State Minister for Information Dr Md Murad Hasan, MP was the Chief Guest of the event and Bangladesh Bank Governor Mr Fazle Kabir was the Special Guest.
On 14 November, the second seminar titled ‘Establishing Human Dignity through ENRICH Programme of PKSF’ took place with Former Finance Minister Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith as the Chief Guest and Mr Md Muslim Chowdhury, Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh, as the Special Guest.
The third seminar styled ‘Implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh: Current Status and Future Prospects’ was organized on 15 November. Foreign Affairs Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP was the Chief Guest and Ms Sultana Afroz, Additional Secretary of the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, was the Guest of Honour.
On 16 November, the fourth seminar titled ‘Employment Generation in Rural Bangladesh in the Context of Technological Advancement’ had Dr Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, as the Chief Guest. Mr Md Ashadul Islam, Senior Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, was the Special Guest.
The last seminar, held on 17 November, was on ‘Livelihood Enhancement through Modern Agricultural Practices: PKSF’s Experiences’. Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, MP was the Chief Guest and Mr Md Nasiruzzaman, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, was the Special Guest.
To add to the festivities and colours of the mega event, PKSF organised fascinating cultural programmes every evening, from 14-18 November, at BICC. Cultural groups of different POs of PKSF and renowned artistes of the country performed in these cultural evenings.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurates PKSF Development Fair 2019
Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 14 November 2019 opened ‘Development Fair 2019’, organised by the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
The week-long fair has been organised to help micro-entrepreneurs of the country to expand the market for the products they make with financial and technical assistance the PKSF under its various programmes.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, FCA, MP was present at the inaugural ceremony as the Special guest. PKSF Chairman Dr Kazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the event while PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah gave the welcome speech.
Advisers to the Prime Minister, cabinet members lawmakers, foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka, distinguished personalities as well as top government and army officials were also present at the ceremony that began at 10:00am. Development workers of PKSF’s Partner Organisations from across the country also attended the event.
At the ceremony, former Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury was honoured with ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her unparalleled contribution to the welfare of farmers, poverty reduction, agricultural development and establishment of human dignity. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over a crest, a letter of appreciation and a cheque to Begum Matia Chowdhury.
Speaking as the Chief Guest, Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government had always taken up development programmes for the welfare of the general people of the country. Her government has all along given highest importance to poverty alleviation.
As a result of the various multidimensional programmes taken up by the government, poverty rate has come down to 21 per cent in 2018 from 41.5 per cent in 2006, she said.
She expressed hope that the poverty incidence would fall below 15 percent during the current tenure of her government.
Sheikh Hasina also noted that the PKSF has come out of the purview of microcredit programmes and has directed its focus on the overall development of the people instead.
The Prime Minister expressed her hope that the Development Fair for exhibition and marketing of the products made by the members of PKSF’s programmes and projects will take an institutional shape in future.
In his address as the Special Guest, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said that PKSF’s efforts to connect the marginalised people with the mainstream economy had been largely successful. When PKSF was established by the government in 1990, the poverty rate in the country was 58.8 per cent, which has now come down to 21.8per cent, he said, adding that PKSF made a huge contribution to this success.
Addressing the ceremony as its Chair, Dr Kazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that the PKSF, having broken out of microfinance-only programmes on instructions of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has evolved into an appropriate financing organisation in line with the Declaration of Independence and Vision-2021of the government.
Alongside poverty reduction, PKSF has been able to create around 1.8 million micro-entrepreneurs, he noted.
PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said PKSF’s operations complement the government’s poverty reduction efforts, including its target to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. He also expressed his hope that the overall government support to PKSF programmes for poverty reduction and sustainable development of the poor will increase in future.
The Development Fair is open for all from 9:00am to 8:30pm till 20 November 2019.
A total of 190 stalls of 125 organisations including PKSF’s Partner Organisations from all over the country, government and non-government organisations, research and IT institutions and service providers are taking part in the fair.
PKSF Managing Director visits field-level activities in Joypurhat and Nilphamari
PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah visited various activities implemented by Partner Organizations JAKAS Foundation in Joypurhat and Self-Help and Rehabilitation Program (SHARP) in Nilphamari during 5-6 October 2019. Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director-3; Mr Mohammad Hasan Khaled, Senior General Manager; and Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury, General Manager of PKSF accompannied him during the visit.
In Joypurhat, the PKSF Managing Director inspected various activities implemented through the Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Unit of JAKAS Foundation namely, Pekin duck rearing, ornamental fish culture, buck service centre and vermi-compost cluster. He discussed financial and technical aspects of each demonstration implemented by the members. It was evident that the memebers are earning a handsome amount of money from the Income Generating Activities (IGAs) and many of them are gradually emerging as entrepreneurs. To make their IGAs viable, the Agriculture Unit, and the Fisheries and Livestock Unit of PKSF are providing necessary financial and technical services. Mr Moinuddin Andullah also inspected the livestock insurance activities and an ENRICH school under JAKAS Foundation.
On 06 October 2019, the PKSF Managing Director visited various activities implemented by SHARP namely, Black Bengal goat farming, turkey rearing and vegetable sapling production using coco-dust, high value fish culture in tanks, carp-tilapia polyculture, kuchia (mud eel) farming, and mola fish culture. He also visited a Black Bengal goat breeding farm and a turkey parentstock farm of SHARP. Both the farms have been established with funds from the LIFT program of PKSF. Farmers are getting benefited by using modern technologies and following better management practices in implementing these IGAs.
Mr Moinuddin Abdullah expressed his satisfaction at the field operations.
PPEPP project’s piloting launched
The Palli Karma-Shayak Foundation (PKSF) is going to implement a new challenging project — Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP) – targeting some of the extreme poor of the country.
The piloting of the project was formally launched at a programme at the PKSF Bhaban on 1 October 2019.
Initially, the project will be implemented over a period of six years (2019-2025) with funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU).
Md Ashadul Islam, senior secretary of the Financial Institutions Division under the finance ministry, was the chief guest at the launching programme, with PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah in the chair. Judith Herbertson, head of DFID Bangladesh, and Maurizio Cian, EU Bangladesh Head of Cooperation, were special guests.
In his speech, the senior secretary said the Government is determined to bring extreme poverty down to 8.9 percent by 2020. He also identified the Rohingya refugee crisis and climate change impacts as two serious hurdles against the economic program of Bangladesh.
He expressed his hope that the PPEPP project will play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal-1 of eliminating poverty by 2030.
Judith Herbertson noted that economic growth does not always reflect the real picture of development. Inequality, malnutrition, and climate change impacts are some of the acute problems facing Bangladesh today. UK will continue to support Bangladesh in these areas.
Maurizio Cian of EU said discrimination is one of the biggest challenges for Bangladesh economy.
PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said the PKSF supportes at least six crore people of the country directly or indirectly.
Earlier, PKSF Deputy Managing Director AQM Golam Mawla gave a presentation on the project. The official website of the project, www.pksf.ppepp.org, was also launched.
The project will be implemented through 20 Partner Organisations for the sustainable development of 10 lakh people in 150 unions under 13 districts at an estimated cost of Tk 673 crore.
World Bank Delegation Called on Honorable Managing Director of PKSF
Discusses various aspects of Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)
On 18 September 2019, Ms Magda Lovei, Practice Manager, Environment Natural and Blue Economy of the World Bank, had a courtesy meeting with the Managing Director of PKSF, Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah at PKSF Bhaban. Mr Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1; Mr Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP), PKSF; Dr Nadia Sharmin, Task Team Leader (TTL)- SEP, the World Bank and Ms Suiko Yoshijima, Co-TTL- SEP, the World Bank were also present at the meeting.
A range of issues concerning SEP and future financing scopes were discussed in the meeting. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF informed that there is huge unmet demand for credit in microenterprise sector which is the biggest employment generating sector of the country. He also expressed that PKSF will need extended technical and financial support in future for scaling up the economic activities of the microenterprises and to ensure overall development of this sector.
Ms Magda Lovei thanked Managing Director of PKSF for making time for the meeting. She expressed her expectation of continued support to PKSF for the development of sustainable microenterprises and wish to visit the field level activities on her next visit. She also praised PKSF for its dynamic approach of implementing its programs and projects.
Another 183,000 families pulled out from extreme poverty
Finds final evaluation of UPP-Ujjibito Project
In continuation of PKSF’s effective interventions to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh, its recently completed and highly acclaimed project — Food Security 2012 Bangladesh-Ujjibito — has helped 183,000 poor households successfully graduate from extreme poverty. This was revealed in the Final Evaluation Report, presented by Dr Baqui Khalily, Professor, Dhaka University, in the closing ceremony of the Project at PKSF Bhaban on 15 September 2019.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), was the Chief Guest at the event chaired by PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah. Mr Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh (GoB), and Mr Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, were present as Special Guests.
Representatives from the European Union (EU) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), PKSF’s Partner Organizations (POs) and the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) of GoB were present in the programme.
Funded by the European Union, the ‘Food Security 2012 Bangladesh-Ujjibito’ project was jointly implemented by PKSF and LGED from November 2013 to April 2019, with two basic components: 1) cash for work, and 2) skills and capacity development as well as awareness raising activities for the extreme poor. LGED implemented Component 1 styled as ‘Rural Employment and Road Maintenance Programme-2 (RERMP-2), while PKSF realised Component 2 titled ‘Ultra Poor Programme (UPP)-Ujjibito’.
The UPP-Ujjibito has been implemented in 1,724 Unions of Bangladesh through 36 POs. The working areas include all unions of Barisal, Khulna and Rajshahi divisions, and the coastal Unions of Lakshmipur, Noakhali, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar districts of Chattogram division. The project focused on reduction of hunger and poverty in Bangladesh in a sustainable manner. PKSF took various initiatives (e.g. agro-based, non-agricultural, technical training, technical assistance, awareness development, risk management fund etc.) for sustainable progress of approximately 325,000 extreme-poor households of the areas noted above through ensuring nutrition security, developing capacity of purchasing power of non-food products, resource generation as well as improvement of social status.
The Final Evaluation Report states that apart from the successfully graduated households, the remaining 142,000 extreme poor households have been enabled to enjoy sustainable and decent means of living, sustainable development of health and nutrition and increased participation in social activities and increased social empowerment.
The realistic and effective innovative activities of the project can be replicated in other projects. These activities include ‘1000-day Special Health and Nutrition Service for antenatal, neonatal and child care, Ujjibito Adolescent Clubs to increase health and social awareness, Alor Karkhana libraries for community-based knowledge sharing and social development at the local level, disability-friendly mobile training facilities, livelihood activities suitable for trans-gender for social inclusion, Ujjibito Primary and Secondary School Forums, and Ujjibito Nutrition Villages to raise the health and social awareness for children and adolescents.
The Final Evaluation Report also concluded that self-employment training, technical assistance, and skill development training significantly accelerate the process of graduating from extreme poverty. Access to financial services makes a more effective impact when skill development training is tied to it. Multi-dimensional interventions like dietary diversity and women empowerment will make lasting impacts on sustainable poverty alleviation.
Assistant Manager Recruitment
Dates for the Psychological test and Viva Voce announced
Following the written examination held on 02 August 2019, successful candidates are requested to participate in the Psychological test and Viva Voce as per the schedule below:
Schedule for Psychological Test:
Schedule for Viva-voce:
‘Collaboration is key to ensuring health and wellbeing in Bangladesh’
Speakers say in seminar on SDG-3
Strong collaboration is a must for ensuring good health and well-being for all, commented experts. They were speaking in a seminar on ‘SDG-3: Good Health and Well-being’ organized at PKSF Bhaban, Dhaka on 11 September 2019.
Hon’ble Foreign Affairs Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP was the Chief Guest, and Medical Education and Family Welfare Division’s Secretary Mr Shaikh Yusuf Harun was the Special Guest at the event presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, the PKSF Managing Director, delivered the welcome speech.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, in his speech, said the Government is implementing every development agenda diligently in line with the core essence of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) –‘Leaving No One Behind’. All Goals of the SDGs are interrelated and poverty alleviation, ensuring education and empowerment of women are particularly essential for achieving the Goal of Good Health and Well-being. Terming financing as a major challenge to implementing the SDGs, Mr AK Abdul Momen stressed on the need for a bolstered public-private partnership to deal with this hurdle.
Special Guest Mr Shaikh Yusuf Harun emphasized on the importance of institutional capacity development to achieve SDG-3. The Secretary said alongside adequate financing, capacities of the health ministry must be improved and skills of people, particularly of the youths, be enhanced. He informed that an action plan is being formulated to achieve SDG-3.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said creating skilled manpower, preventing corruption, adopting proper and realistic action plans and ensuring proper utilization of resources are pre-requisites to ensuring health and well-being for all. Engagement of private sector in the government initiatives and well planned, pro-environment industrialization will ensure sustainability of the interventions, he added.
Earlier, in the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said PKSF is playing a supporting role in SDG implementation in Bangladesh. Highlighting various PKSF initiatives to realize SDGs, he expressed the hope that Bangladesh will be able to achieve SDGs successfully by the 2030 deadline, and PKSF will have a notable contribution to this achievement.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, gave the keynote presentation titled “SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being — Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. Dr Niaz Ahmed Khan, a Professor of Development Studies at the University of Dhaka, discussed on the occasion.
Special discussion to mark National Mourning Day
To mark the National Mourning Day 2019, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a discussion meeting on 22 August 2019. Speakers at the event spoke on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s pivotal role in the birth of Bangladesh and reconstructing a post-liberation war-ravaged nation.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was the Chief Guest of the program chaired by Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director of PKSF. Lt Col (retd) Kazi Sajjad Ali Zahir, Bir Protik, was the main discussant.
The event began with a minute of silence in commemoration of Bangabandhu and his family members who were brutally assassinated on 15 August 1975.
Deputy Managing Director of PKSF Dr Md Jashim Uddin delivered the welcome remarks, and PKSF Governing Body Members Dr Toufic Ahmad Choudhury and Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad delivered speeches. All employees of PKSF were present at the event.
On the occasion of the National Mourning Day, an essay competition on “Bangabandhu, Liberation War and Bangladesh” was organized for the children of PKSF employees. Prizes were distributed at the program among the winners of this competition.
To pay tribute to the Father of Nation, all employees of PKSF wear black badges and giant drop-down banners hang from the top of PKSF Bhaban throughout the month. The national flag remained hoisted at half-mast on 15 August 2019, and special prayers were offered. Besides, the Partner Organizations of PKSF arranged elaborate programs to observe the National Mourning Day.
PKSF observes National Mourning Day
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has observed the National Mourning Day 2019 in a befitting manner.
To pay tribute to the Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, all employees of PKSF wore black badges, which they will throughout the month. Giant drop-down banners from the top of PKSF Bhaban remind all onlookers about the intensity of mourning.
The national flag remained hoisted at half-mast on 15 August 2019, and a special prayer session was held.
A special discussion titled “Bangabandhu, Liberation War and Bangladesh” will be held on 22 August 2019. Also, an essay-writing competition on the life of the Father of the Nation for school-going children of PKSF staff has been arranged. Two groups of students (1. Class VI-VIII and 2. Class IX-X) are participating in this competition.
Besides, the Partner Organizations of PKSF organized various programs to observe the National Mourning Day 2019.
Workshop on piloting under PPEPP project
A brainstorming workshop on the planned piloting under Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP) project held on 01 August 2019 at PKSF Bhaban. Mr Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF inaugurated the workshopand delivered the welcome address. The session was moderated by Mr AQM Golam Mawla, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF.
Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury, General Manager, PKSF & Advisor of PPEPP project, delivered a presentation on project’s background, objectives, milestones and possible activities during the piloting period. Dr A.K.M. Nuruzzaman, General Manager, PKSF shared his experience and learning on successful completion of UPP-Ujjibito project. The Executive Directors/representatives from 10 Partner Organisations (namely, TMSS, RDRS-B, ESDO, SHARP, NGF, Unnayan, CODEC, GJUS, POPI & GBK), which are expected to carry out the piloting, were present at the workshop.
Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury described that the focus of PPEPP project shifts away from the ‘Graduation’ to ‘Pathway out of Poverty’ by applying more tailored support package including grants and soft loans with a longer intervention timeframe. He explained how the model for ‘Pathways to Prosperity’, based on which the ‘Theory of Change’ has been developed, is an upgraded approach than the traditional ‘Graduation’ model.
PPEPP project, funded by the DFID and EU, sets its goal to enable 0.25 million extremely poor households (up to 1 million extremely poor people) to exit extreme poverty and make significant progress along a pathway towards prosperity by 2025. PKSF, as the main implementing partner of PPEPP, will cover selective unions from riverine chars and banks in the northwest, coastal belt in the southwest, Haor region in the northeast and some other extreme poverty prone areas especially focusing on ethnic minorities and dalit communities.
The planned piloting will be carried out in 10 unions, selected by random sampling, from the northwest, southwest and northeast (Haor) region of the country. Two other upazila was selected intended to piloting for the ethnic minorities and dalits. The purpose of the piloting is to evaluate the anticipated challenges to experiment PPEPP project in a smaller scale in the selected unions from remote areas prone to extreme poverty and finalize programme placement modality by assessing the reality in the field level.
Ethiopian Central Bank Delegation Visits PKSF
Mr Tirunrh Mitafa, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, visited Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 01 July 2019. He was leading a 7-member Ethiopian delegation. A half-day orientation program was arranged for them.
During the orientation, a vast range of topics including apex mechanism for development and appropriate financing, graduation programs for the extreme poor, suitable livelihoods for the poor, skill development training and entrepreneurship development were discussed. Two Deputy Managing Directors and other senior officials of PKSF participated in discussions with them. The delegation took keen interest in the PKSF’s activities dedicated to alleviating poverty and ensuring human dignity for all.
The event was part of the Ethiopian delegation’s visit to Bangladesh to gather experience on poverty alleviation through inclusive financing and development.
National Anti-Tobacco Platform awarded “Tobacco Control Award-2019’’
National Anti-Tobacco Platform (NATP) and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) jointly organized a seminar on 12th May 2019to mark World No Tobacco Day that falls on May 31. NATP’s `Tobacco Control Awards 2019’ was also given out at the program. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF and Convener, NATP presided over the program.Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, MP, honorable minister, Ministry of Agriculture joined the program as the chief guest, whereas National Professor Brig. General (Rtrd) Abdul Malik, founder and president, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh joined the program as the special guest.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad discouraged tobacco export in his speech saying we should not only think of our health rather we should think about the global health issues. Tobacco is a curse to the whole world, he added. “The government should increase monitoring system on tobacco. Cigarette prices should be hiked further. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the goal of having a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040. We are ready to support the government to make a tobacco-free Bangladesh,” he said. He also mentioned about the pilot project of PKSF, titled “Production of Alternative Crops and Multiple Income Sources to Control Tobacco Cultivation”. This project is encouraging farmers to leave tobacco cultivation and start alternate profitable crops, such as cucumber, garlic, brinjal, tomato, corn etc. Later he added, NATP’s objectives are to discouraging the use of tobacco in any form, raising consciousness among people against tobacco and doing advocacy at policy level to get rid of this curse. He expected NATP will act as a coordinator for tobacco free Bangladesh.
Dr. Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, Coordinator, NATP and Project Manager,Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh depicted the recent activities and future goals of NATP.
Dr. Sharif Ahmaed Chowdhury, General Manager (Programme), PKSF gave a presentation on “Tobacco Free Bangladesh by 2040: PKSF’s Steps”. In his presentation he discussed on the misconception that tobacco has great contribution to our economy as well as the myth that cultivation of tobacco is highly profitable. Rather he focused on how tobacco destroys our economy, society, health and environment silently. He draws everyone’s attention on recent studies that shows revenue from tobacco cultivation is much less than the cost of health problems caused by tobacco use and agricultural hazards. He described how the pilot project “Production of Alternative Crops and Multiple Income Sources to Control Tobacco Cultivation”, initiated by PKSF, is motivating tobacco farmers to come back to traditional crop cultivation instead of tobacco cultivation. He explained, to replace tobacco with year-round high-value crop farming, PKSF is using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Intensive livestock production as supplementary income source. Besides, through this project PKSF provides necessary financial, technical, input and marketing services to the farmers, linking them (farmers) with extension services of DAE, DLS. He informed, currently PKSF runs this project in Kustia, Lalmonirhat, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban by the assistance of its Partner Organizations Desha Kustia, ESDO and YPSA respectively, where 682 farmers replaced 1052 bighas of their land from tobacco cultivation to high-value crop cultivation.
National Professor Brig. General (Retd.) Abdul Malik appreciated the role taken by PKSF in alternative cultivation where former tobacco cultivators transformed their lives. He asked everyone to remember the religious cause of standing against tobacco. He urged all to come forward to control tobacco use, saying it is not possible for the government alone.
Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, MP, honorable minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh Government said tobacco consumption is not on the decline, although all know about its adverse impact. He regretted that union or upazila parishad election candidates distribute cigarettes to young people to gain their support. He recognized that although around Tk22,000 crore is earned as revenue from the tobacco sector, about Tk30,000 crore is lost by its bad impact in healthcare and more. Dr. Razzaque put emphasis on farming agricultural products instead of tobacco. “The domestic market should be expanded. Bangladesh is a country with a lot of potential. We can export a lot of agricultural goods if we can further modernize the sector”, he said. He also emphasized on proper allocation and collection of revenues from other internal sectors so that revenue earned from tobacco sector can have less impact in our national budget. Marketing and providing moderate profits to the farmers is still a challenge, he pointed out. “If we cannot find greater domestic and international markets, we would not be able to make profit from agricultural products. And if we cannot make our agricultural products profitable, we cannot stop tobacco cultivation. The farmers will continue to engage in tobacco cultivation”, he explained. At the end, mentioning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s goal of having a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, the minister said: “I think we will be able to achieve the target much before that time if we can create awareness among people, enforce laws, and commercialize agricultural goods properly.”
“Tobacco Control Award 2019”
In this program, NATP has given “Tobacco Control Award 2019” awards in three categories: 1) Organizational Category, 2) Personal Initiative Category, and 3) Research/Publication category in this program.
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) received the award in Organizational Category. YPSA plays a great role in anti-tobacco activities in Chattogram area. YPSA developed a model of smoke free guideline for Local Government Institutions. It contributed in local fund mobilization by the local government institutions for tobacco control activities. Besides, YPSA has been facilitating Cox’s Bazar Municipality and Chattogram City Corporation to be a model of Tobacco free city since August 2017.
Professor Dr. Pran Gopal Datta received the award in Personal Initiative category. Professor Datta has significant contribution in tobacco control activities. He was not only an active participant in making the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), Fire Service and Civil Defense, the polling station smoke-free; also met with the heads of the organizations for follow up and update the issues. Under his initiative and leadership, delegation team of Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance met with Chief Election Commissioner and requested to ban tobacco use in the election campaign and declare the polling centers smoke-free. He played active role for tobacco control law amendment as well.
Bangladesh Cancer society accepted the award in Research/Publication category. They have conducted fundamental research work to reduce tobacco use, titled “Cost of tobacco use in Bangladesh- health cost study (July 2017- March 2019)”. The project was carried out jointly by Bangladesh Cancer Society, University of Dhaka, American Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK in three successive phases of data collection, analysis and writing, and dissemination and policy advocacy. Bangladesh Cancer Society was the team leader of this study.
There was a “Special Award” to encouraging young researchers in anti-tobacco activities. This year NATP gave this award to Ms. Syeda Sajia Afroz Rumpa, who worked on her research paper titled “Land Degradation and Marginalization from Tobacco Cultivation in Bangladesh: a case Study of Alikadam Upazila, Bandarban”. The aim of this research was to explore scientific knowledge for tobacco control.
Concluding seminar of UPP-UJJIBITO project held
After five years of addressing ultra-poverty, the UPP-UJJIBITO project implemented by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has recently completed its run. To mark this, a concluding seminar was held on April 28, 2014 at PKSF Bhaban.
The concluding event of UPP- UJJIBITO, a component of “Food Security 2012 Bangladesh” project funded by the European Union, was presided over by PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim. Eminent economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF, was the Chief Guest and Mr Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh was the Special Guest.
Dr QK Ahmad in his speech said that human-centric integrated efforts are needed to effectively address the multidimensionality of poverty.Referring to the country’s progress in the last decade, he emphasized on the need to combat the climate change fallout to sustain this development stride. All development activities should have the motto of ‘leaving no one behind’, he commented.
Special Guest Mr Manfred Fernholz said that Bangladesh has graduated into a lower-middle income country and the European Union’s support will continue to help the country progress further.
Mr Md Abdul Karim highlighted that UPP-UJJIBITO made a tremendous impact at the grassroots. He encouraged the Partner Organizations (POs) to continue the activities with their own fund. “PKSF is mainstreaming the impact making activities implemented under the project through its core programs,” he added.
PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Mr Golam Touhid also spoke on the occasion, and General Manager Dr AKM Nuruzzaman made a presentation on the project. EU officials, representatives of POs and PKSF officials were present at the seminar.
The €11.05 million UPP-UJJIBITO project was implemented from November 2013 to April 2019 in 1,724 unions through 36 selected POs of PKSF with the objective of ensuring sustainable graduation of nearly 325,000 vulnerable and women-headed households from ultra-poverty.
First phase of Micro Enterprise (ME) Loan disbursement of PKSF under the World Bank financed “Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
First phase of Micro Enterprise (ME) Loan disbursement of PKSF under the World Bank financed
“Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
PKSF handed over cheques worth BDT 57.0 crore to 11 (eleven) Partner Organizations (POs) under the World Bank financed Sustainable Development Project (SEP) on 25 April, 2019 at PKSF Bhaban. This was the first phase of loan disbursement to PKSF’s partner organizations under “Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)” that initiated the field implementation of this project.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF presided over the event. The event was moderated by Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1, PKSF. Dr. Nadia Sharmin, project Task Team Leader, the World Bank; Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, SEP; the Executive Directors of 11 Partner Organizations (POs) and other high officials of PKSF were also present at that event.
At the beginning of the event, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader briefly discussed the key issues relating to effectiveness and significance of the project on global environmental and climate related problem mitigation perspectives. Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, SEP shared the overview and progress of SEP. Later, Dr. Nadia Sharmin from the World Bank discussed about the World Bank’s environmental vision related to microenterprises which resembles to the project initiatives. Finally, the Managing Director of PKSF expected increased environmentally sustainable practices at microenterprise level through active participation of the partner organizations. He also hoped that this project would be a pioneer project in terms of its potential contributions to the development of environmentally sustainable microenterprises.
Only love and care can better the life of people with dementia
Speakers say in a seminar on dementia
The number of people with dementia is increasing day by day across the world. In order to raise awareness among people about dementia, PKSF in association with Bangladesh Dementia Friends Committee, Bangladesh Medical Students Society and Alzheimer’s Society of Bangladesh organized a day-long seminar titled ‘Dementia: Care, Love and Hope’ on 18 April 2019 at the PKSF Bhaban.
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Murad Hassan, MP, attended the seminar as the Chief Guest while Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the opening session. Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF made the opening remarks.
State Minister Dr Murad Hassan said awareness about dementia in Bangladesh is not up to the mark yet. As a result, it is very difficult to ensure proper healthcare for patients with this condition. He commented that the government-run hospitals alone cannot solve all the problems, awareness must be raised. The government however will take effective measures to ensure the better health services for people suffering from dementia, the Chief Guest added.
“Dementia is not curable and requires awareness and necessary healthcare,” commented PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. PKSF is working for betterment of people, including the elderly ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and will continue its efforts to build a dementia-friendly society, he added.
PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim said that in Bangladesh, dementia patients are neglected in the society and the root cause of it is the lack of awareness. Referring to the growing number of elderly people, he stressed on the need to ensure expansion of old-age healthcare services and increasing awareness on dementia.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF delivered the welcome speech at the seminar. Former MP Mst Selina Jahan Lita; Mr Sarwar Mahmud, Director General, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC); and National Professor Brig Gen (Retd) Abdul Malik, also President of Bangladesh Network for NCD Control and Prevention, were present as Special Guests.
In 2013, the number of people with dementia in Bangladesh was 460,000. The number is feared to reach 834,000 in 2030 and 2,193,000 by 2050.
Scholarships awarded to 5,603 meritorious students
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), under its Programs-Support Fund, awarded scholarships to 5,603 students of Higher Secondary level. The scholarship cheques were handed over at a program organized at the PKSF Bhaban, Agargaon on 11 April 2019.
The scholarship was launched in 2012. This year, the amount scholarship stood at BDT 6.73 crore and each recipient got BDT 12,000.
PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was the Chief Guest at the event chaired by Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF. Deputy Managing Director Dr. Jashim Uddin gave a special speech highlighting the context of the Programs-Support Fund of PKSF.
Children of the participants — especially of disadvantaged communities such as Dalit/Harijana, small ethnic groups, Bedes etc — of various PKSF programs are eligible for the scholarship. Chief executives of PKSF’s Partner Organizations received the cheques on behalf of the recipients.
A total of 3,100 female and 2503 male students, including 725 students from various minority groups, got scholarship this year.
Over the last eight years, PKSF has awarded scholarships amounting to over BDT 27 crore to 20,132 students.
Youth Conference held with calls for an inclusive society
Amid festivities and fanfare, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized two-day ‘Youth Conference 2019’ on 7-8 April 2017 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka. More than 1,600 youth representatives selected from the grassroots through various competitive events participated in this gala event.
This colorful event was comprised of five sessions. Hon’ble Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud, MP was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF delivered the welcome remarks. PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin gave a speech highlighting the background of the event.
Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said youths of Bangladesh played a big role in the country’s stupendous economic growth over the past decade. Commenting that the government is working to build a humane society alongside the country’s infrastructural development, the minister hoped that PKSF, through its program, will help youths at the grassroots become responsible and dutiful citizens.
PKSF Chairman Dr. QK Ahmad highlighted PKSF’s interventions to ensure the ethical and leadership skill development of the youths and generate sustainable employment opportunities for them at the grassroots. PKSF will continue its efforts in building a prosperous and just society in the spirit of the Liberation War.
In the welcome address, PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md. Abdul Karim described the youths as “national capital”, and said PKSF will continue its work at the grassroots for youth development. “Poverty will never create obstacles to the advancement of youths,” he added.
Two seminars were held on the opening day. Social Welfare Minister Mr. Nuruzzaman Ahmed, MP, was the Chief Guest in the first seminar, and Agriculture Minister Dr. Md. Abdur Razzaque, MP graced the second seminar as the Chief Guest. Joler Gaan, a popular folk band of Bangladesh, performed in the evening to close the activities of day one.
The closing day of the conference consisted of a seminar and a closing ceremony. Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change was the Chief Guest and Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Chief Coordinator (SDG), Prime Minister’s Office was the Special Guest at the third seminar. A total nine papers on ‘Bangabandhu, Liberation War and Bangladesh’, ‘Education System in Bangladesh’, ‘Skills Development and Employment’, ‘Social Ills: Child Marriage, Dowry, Eve-teasing and Drug Abuses’, ‘Violence and Terrorism’, ‘Equality and Human Dignity’, ‘Socio-Economic Discrimination’, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ were presented at the seminars by the participating youths.
The Closing Session saw Advocate Fazle Rabbi Miah, MP, Deputy Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, as the Chief Guest.
Two anthologies of poems by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad — Bangladesh Amar Thikana and Oi Mohamanab — were released during the conference.
Grand reception for PKSF Chairman on his receiving Swadhinata Puroshkar
PKSF accorded a grand reception to its Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad on his receiving the highest State civilian honour. The eminent economist, a proponent of human-centred development was awarded the Swadhinata Puroshkar (Independence Award) 2019 by the Government of Bangladesh in recognition of his lifelong service for the welfare of the people. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the Award to him at a gala event on 25 March 2019.
To celebrate his achievement, PKSF and its Partner Organisations (POs) organised the reception on 27 March 2019 at PKSF Bhaban.
Former Finance Minister Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith chaired the event while Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome speech. Celebrated litterateur Ms Selina Hossain spoke as a Special Guest on the occasion.
Dr QK Ahmad was greeted with flowers and showered with praises for his lifelong service for the betterment of people, especially the disadvantaged ones. Members of PKSF Governing Body and General Body and other officials, Executive Directors of POs and representatives of various government offices and social organisations attended the programme.
PKSF Observes International Women’s Day 2019
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), in observance of International Women’s Day, organized a seminar at PKSF auditorium on 24 March 2019. The seminar was presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. Mr Nuruzzaman Ahmed, the Minister for Social Welfare, was the Chief Guest and PKSF Governing Body Member Dr Pratima Paul-Majumder was the Guest of Honor at the event attended by high officials of PKSF, its Partner Orgnizations and various government offices.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” puts innovation at the center of efforts to reflect the needs and viewpoints of women and girls and to resolve barriers to public services and opportunities.
In his welcome address, PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim highlighted various initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government to accelerate the empowerment and progress of the women. He hoped that the Partner Organizations of PKSF will initiate a social movement to change the social viewpoint towards women.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad stressed on the need for establishing human dignity in society to remove gender inequality. “A mutual co-existence in all spheres of society is the key to establishing a society where human dignity will prevail,” he commented.
Social Welfare Minister Mr Nuruzzaman Ahmed said, “The country’s development won’t be possible by holding back women from progressing, as they constitute half of the country’s total population.” He highlighted the Government’s women-friendly measures which are “effectively reducing” the gender disparity and ensuring advancement of the women. He further stressed on the need for work unitedly to build a pro-women society.
On the occasion, PKSF Honored Ms Nasima Begum, Executive Director of Shishu Niloy Foundation, for her special contribution to women empowerment and socio-economic development at the grassroots. Besides, PKSF General Manager (Program) Dr AKM Nuruzzaman presented the key notepaper titled ‘Accelerating Women Empowerment & Gender Integration through Access to Basic Services, Public Resources and Work Opportunities: PKSF Experience’. Dr Sanzida Akhter, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies, Dhaka University, discussed on the keynote paper.
Policy Dialogue on EHS guideline for Microenterprises
A policy dialogue on updated Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) risk for Microenterprise was held on 13 March 2019 at 10:30 am at PKSF. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF’s governing body presided over the event. Managing Director of PKSF Mr. Md. Abdul Karim was present on the occasion. Additional Secretary of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Dr. S. M. Munjurul Hannan Khan attended the policy dialogue as the reviewer of the EHS guideline. Deputy Managing Director Mr. Fazlul Kader and other senior officials of PKSF participated in the dialogue. Apart from a number partner organizations, representatives from different government and private sector organizations including a number of microentrepreneurs also attended the event and take part in the discussion.
Managing Director of PKSF Mr. Md. Abdul Karim in his opening speech, mentioned the background of updating the PKSF’s EHS guideline for microenterprises. He mentioned that this guideline is very important at this moment as PKSF is expanding its Microenterprise Program rapidly. Currently, PKSF is providing financial services to around 1.4 million microentrepreneurs with a loan outstanding of 9300 crore. PKSF is implementing special projects to promote microenterprise sector under which various services and technical support are being given to microenterprises. PKSF is committed to promote this sector in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The policy dialogue was organized to discuss PKSF’s ‘EHS guideline for Microenterprises’ which was recently updated under the IFAD supported PACE project. Mr. Maksudul Amin, Consultant gave a presentation on the updated guideline. The guideline covered EHS issues relating to various microenterprise activities under four major economic sectors: farming, processing, service and trade and suggested necessary measures to minimize environmental health and safety risks in these activities. The related regulations of different economic activities have been included in the guideline.
Reviewing the updated guideline, Dr. S. M. Munjurul Hannan Khan suggested incorporating some areas regarding public awareness in the document. In general, he praised the guideline as a very useful document for managing microenterprises in an environment friendly manner. He also stressed the need for translating it in Bangla with adequate pictorial illustration to make it more user friendly. The participants gave their suggestions to improve the guideline from their own point of views.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad mentioned that PKSF is committed to take necessary measures for promoting microenterprise sector in an environment friendly sustainable manner. He assured that all suggestions given by the participants will be incorporated in the guideline. Like other activities of PKSF, progress of implementation of this guideline will also be monitored. For excellent accomplishment, concerned people will be rewarded. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad thanked all for their active participation and valuable suggestions.
The Role of PKSF as Direct Access Entity to Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a workshop on ‘The Role of PKSF as Direct Access Entity to Green Climate Fund (GCF)’ at PKSF Bhaban on 7 March 2019. Mr Shahidul Islam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, was the Special Guest of the workshop, presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF delivered the welcome speech.
Additional Secretary Mr Shahidul Islam referred to different development activities of PKSF which are complementing the initiatives of Government to enlarge social safety net sphere. He also hoped that PKSF would play a leading role in countering the adverse impacts of climate change.
PKSF Chairman Dr QK Ahmad asked the NGOs to step out from the traditional microfinance activities and to redesign and implement their programs according to the needs of the poor. He also suggested to undertake projects aligned with the government policy so that the funding and collaboration can be ensured.
Mr Md Abdul Karim, MD of PKSF, informed the house that being an accredited organization of Green Climate Fund (GCF), PKSF has already submitted proposals of four projects to the GCF.
In the workshop, Mr Nur Ahmad, Deputy Secretary of the Economic Relations Division and NDA Focal Person gave a presentation on ‘Access to Green Climate Fund (GCF): Role of NDA’ Dr Fazle Rabbi Sadek Ahmed, Director (Environment and Climate Change) of PKSF presented on ‘Access to Green Climate Fund (GCF): Role of PKSF’.
“Day-long workshop on Detailed Sub-project Proposal for Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
Following an evaluation process, selection of sub-projects from the received concept notes under Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) is going on. So far, eleven concept notes of eleven Partner Organizations (POs) have been approved. A day-long workshop on “Preparing Detailed Sub-project Proposal (DSPP) for SEP” was held on 7th March 2019 at PKSF Bhaban.
The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam, General Manager, PKSF. The welcome speech was delivered by Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, SEP, PKSF. The event covered five sessions on rules, regulations and guidelines relating to submission of DSPPs. Project Management Unit (PMU) officials of SEP conducted these sessions. Two representatives from each of the eleven POs participated in the workshop. In the closing remarks, Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam thanked all the participants for their active participation in the event.
PPEPP Project: Subsidiary Grant Agreement signed with GoB
A Subsidiary Grant Agreement (SGA) was signed between Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh (GoB) on 5 March 2019 for the ‘Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP)’ project.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF and Mr Shirajun Noor Chowdhury, Joint Secretary of Finance Division, Ministry of Finance signed the agreement. PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director Mr AQM Golam Mawla, Deputy Secretary of Financial Institutions Division Ms Mursheda Zaman and Deputy Secretary of Finance Division Mr Mohammad Saidul Islam were also present during the event held at Ministry of Finance. Earlier, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for this project was signed between the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Ministry of Finance, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on 17 December 2018.
The inception phase of the PPEPP project is expected to start from April 2019 after the signing of another MoU between PKSF and DFID. It will be implemented for sustained alleviation of poverty of extremely poor people including various disadvantaged communities of Bangladesh. The project targets 250,000 thousand extremely poor households in the poverty-stricken and climate-vulnerable northwestern region, southern coastal belt and haor area of Bangladesh.
PKSF, as the Core Implementing Partner, will implement Livelihood, Nutrition and Community Mobilization components of the project through selected Partner Organizations (POs). The other three components of the project — Market Development, Policy Advocacy and Life Cycle Grant Pilot — will be implemented by other stakeholders of PPEPP. Three issues — disaster and climate resilience, disability, and women’s empowerment leading to gender equality — will cut across the PKSF part of PPEPP components.
The total grant made available by the DFID and the European Union for the PPEPP will be up to 109.6 million Pound Sterling for a period of six years (including one-year inception phase) from 2018 to 2024. Of the amount, up to 63.5 million Pound Sterling will be made available as grant for PKSF.
Subject to the progress and performance of the first phase, the project may have second phase from 2024-2028 to support additional 250,000 extreme poor households.
Honorable Chairman of PKSF Visited RRF, Jashore
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Honorable Chairman of PKSF, visited Rural Reconstruction Foundation (RRF), a Partner Organization (PO) of PKSF on 28 February 2019. During the visit, he exchanged views with the trainees of SEIP project in a discussion meeting. Then, he was the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of ‘Automobile Service Center’ and ‘Floriculture Lab’ under PACE project. Dr Ahmad also inaugurated the ‘RRF Institute of Hospitality and Hotel Management (RIHM)’.
PKSF Chairman, Dr Ahmad also visited ‘Carp-Prawn Mixed Culture’ project and attended an experience sharing meeting with fish farmers under PACE project at Sundoli Union of Abhaynagar upzila, Jashore. There, he also visited an ‘Adolescent Girls’ Club’ under UPP-Ujjibito project. During the visit, he handed over certificates to the children of RRF officials for good academic performance and also distributed the keys of motor-cycles to the field officers of RRF under interest free loan scheme of RRF. Apart from these, he also participated in a TV Documentary (film shooting) focusing on ‘Grassroots Economy’. Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director and Mr Md Abul Kashem, General Manager of PKSF accompanied Dr Q K Ahmad during the visit.
Dr Q K Ahmad visited ongoing training activities of SEIP
‘Automobile Service Center’ under PACE project inaugurated by Dr Q K Ahmad
Call for nomination for ‘Tobacco Control Award 2019’
National Anti-Tobacco Platform (NATP), an alliance of anti-tobacco organizations, is inviting nominations for ‘Tobacco Control Award 2019’.
The Award will be given in three categories:
- Research/Publication in the field of tobacco control
In the third category, nominations can be submitted both by individuals or organizations.
Individuals or organizations, with luminous past records of working in anti-tobacco campaigns, can either nominate themselves or have other individuals or organizations to do it for them. The nominee must have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the policies and measures contained in the Tobacco Control Law in Bangladesh as well as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its guidelines.
The ‘Tobacco Control Award’ was launched last year and the award was given in two categories – Organization, and Publication/Research. Dhaka Ahsania Mission received the award in ‘Organization’ category and Dr M Mostafa Zaman in ‘Publication/Research’ category.
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a partner of the network plays an integral role in achieving the goal of making Bangladesh tobacco-free. Renowned economist and Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad is currently serving as the convener of the platform while Dr Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, Project Manager, RESOLVE To Save Lives, Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute, is acting as the coordinator.
‘Increase internal capacity to combat climate change fallout’
Speakers urge at seminar on ‘SDG 13: Climate Action’
Experts have called for increasing national capacity to address the adverse impacts of climate change. They expressed this view at a seminar on ‘SDG 13: Climate Action’ at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka on 10 February 2019.
Mr Shahab Uddin, the Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, was the Chief Guest at the program presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim delivered the welcome speech.
The chief guest said his ministry is relentlessly working to combat climate change fallout, keeping in focus the main notion of SDGs –“Leave no one behind”. Mr Md Shahab Uddin stressed on the need for working together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, and for actively engaging local government bodies in climate initiatives by non-governmental entities.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad expressed his fear that the country’s booming economy may suffer a major setback if immediate initiatives are not taken to tackle climate change impacts. Well-planned initiatives, further developing internal capacity, proper utilization of internal resources alongside skilled manpower, proper coordination and monitoring are important for achieving the targets under Goal 13.
In the welcome speech Mr Md Abdul Karim said PKSF is playing a complementary role in the government’s initiatives to achieve the SDGs in Bangladesh. It thus has a vast range of SDGs-specific projects and programs, including on climate change, he stated.
Dr Sultan Ahmed, Director General of the Department of Environment, gave the keynote presentation titled ‘SDG 13: Climate action — Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact’. Dr Asaduzzaman, former director (research) of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), was the designated discussant while high-ups from different government and non-government offices and development partners took part in the open discussion session.
PKSF Deputy Managing Director-2 Dr Md Jashim Uddin gave the vote of thanks to mark the conclusion of the seminar.
Microenterprise Development: PKSF, ADB sign deal for new project
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is all set to launch a new project for microenterprise development in Bangladesh. The ‘Microenterprise Development Project (MDP)’ will extend financial assistance to 40,000 micro-entrepreneurs, of which 70 percent will be women.
A Loan Agreement and a Project Agreement in this regard was signed in NEC-2 Conference Room of Economic Relations Division (ERD), Ministry of Finance, Dhaka on 6 February 2019. ERD Secretary Mr Monowar Ahmed and Mr Manmohan Prakash, Country Director, Bangladesh Residence Mission of ADB signed the Loan Agreement, while PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim and Mr Manmohan Prakash of ADB signed the Project Agreement.
Under the Loan Agreement, ADB will provide US$ 50 million from its Ordinary Capital Resources to PKSF through the Government of Bangladesh for implementation of the MDP. The main objective of the project is to promote development of microenterprises for inclusive economic development and rural poverty reduction. This will also help PKSF upscale its existing microenterprise program that has an entrepreneur outreach of 1.40 million.
Ms Farida Nasreen, Additional Secretary of ERD; Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1 of PKSF; Mr Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Joint Secretary of ERD; Dr Akond Md Rafiqul Islam, General Manager of PKSF; Ms Mst Rabeya Akter, Deputy Secretary of ERD; Mr Md Mesbahur Rahman, Deputy General Manager of PKSF and other senior officials from ERD and PKSF were present during the agreement signing ceremony.
Mr Md Abdul Karim, the PKSF Managing Director, mentioned that almost 20% of the 13 million participants of PKSF’s inclusive financial programs are eligible for microenterprise loans. PKSF has so far covered less than 50% of them through its existing microenterprise lending program.
The project will support improving access to finance for microenterprises through PKSF and its Partner Organizations (POs). The overall project fund comprises a loan of US$ 50.0 million and a technical assistance grant of US$ 500,000 for capacity development.
This two-year project will be implemented through 80 POs of PKSF with a particular focus on the identified microenterprise business clusters.
300 Primary Schools see positive changes
Joyful and activity-based environment in schools increases quality of education and substantially decreases the dropout rates. This was revealed in the findings of a pilot project titled ‘Reaching all Children in Education (RACE)’ implemented by Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) with financial support from PKSF. A presentation was made on the outcomes of RACE project that was in place from July to December 2019. The event was organized at PKSF auditorium on 24 January 2019. International Day of Education was also observed in view of this occasion.
Eminent economist and Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad attended as the Chief Guest of the event while Ms Rasheda K Chowdhury, Executive Director, CAMPE presided over it. Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF and Dr Md Helal Uddin, Director, NGO Affairs Bureau were also present at the ceremony as special guests.
Dr Ahmad, in his speech, expressed satisfaction regarding the project and said that he would like to explore the possibilities of integrating the outcomes of RACE project into ENRICH education services. Quality of primary education must be ensured, he added.
Ms Chowdhury thanked PKSF and the Partner Organizations for their cooperation.
Mr Karim remarked on how the lessons of the pilot project could be combined with the ENRICH interventions.
Professor Shafi Ahmed, Senior Editorial Advisor, PKSF spoke about his field-level observations. He said, RACE needed to be taken forward. He emphasized on the efficient role of the teachers.
Dr Md Helal Uddin spoke highly about the project and requested the NGOs to try to increase remuneration of the teachers employed in their education related projects.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF delivered the welcome speech and spoke about the inception of the project.
Mr K.M. Enamul Hoque, Deputy Director, Research, CAMPE presented the outcomes of RACE project. He mentioned that the project was a combined effort of 17 Partner Organizations in 21 Unions of 12 districts. It included students of class III to V of 300 Government Primary Schools. He mentioned that a series of education fairs were arranged at the end of the project in 21 Unions. More than 10 thousand students and teachers took part in those fairs. Many participants shared their views and observations in the open floor session.
Seminar on ‘SDG 5: Gender Equality’
Speakers call for empowering women for sustainable development
With a call for ensuring gender equality to steer the country toward sustainable development, a seminar titled ‘SDG 5: Gender Equality’ was organized at PKSF Bhaban on December 23, 2018 by the ‘People’s Voice: Strengthening Implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh’ platform. Ms Nasima Begum, NDC, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs was the Chief Guest and Additional Secretary Ms Sultana Afroz of the Economic Relations Division
(ERD), Ministry of Finance was the Special Guest at the event presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim gave the welcome speech while Executive Director of Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad Dr Nilufar Banu gave the keynote presentation styled ‘Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls’. Professor Salma Akter, Department of Social Science, University of Dhaka spoke as a panelist. PKSF’s Deputy Managing Director-2 Dr Md Jashim Uddin gave the vote of thanks.
Highlighting various pro-women steps of the government, the Women and Children Affairs Secretary said proper coordination between government and non-governmental initiatives is a must for eliminating discrimination against women and girl children. Ms Nasima Begum also said stringent legal measures are on the cards to more effectively combat the curses of child marriage, violence against and harassment of women, and other social ills.
Ms Sultana Afroz, the Special Guest, said, Bangladesh is considered as a role model in successfully realizing the Millennium Development Goals and is all set to repeat the success in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stating that discrimination against women has still been a major concern for Bangladesh, the ERD Additional Secretary said people are being made aware of this and they are playing increasingly pro-active roles in protecting the rights of women and girl children, thereby paving the way for their robust contribution to sustainable development.
PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said the country is experiencing commendable economic growth “but this growth, this pace of development has to be human-centered”. He emphasized on the need for appropriate coordination as well as proper supervision and skill enhancement of people to achieve the SDGs.
Mr Md Abdul Karim, the PKSF Managing Director, highlighted various initiatives taken by PKSF to ensure empowerment of women. PKSF believes, he said, that gender equity is a pre-requisite to sustainable development and all PKSF interventions are designed and implemented keeping this in mind.
Also in the seminar, two Bangla publications titled ‘Tekshoi Unnayan O PKSF’ and ‘Haorer Chalchitra’ were unveiled.
Representatives of government and non-government organizations, and high-ups of PKSF and its Partner Organizations took part in the open discussion session of the seminar.
Inclusive development: MoU signed for new project PPEPP to help 0.5 million HHs to graduate from extreme poverty
Inclusive development: MoU signed for new project
PPEPP to help 0.5 million HHs to graduate from extreme poverty
PKSF is set to launch a new project, titled ‘Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP)’, with a view to ensuring inclusive development of the disadvantaged and ultra-poor communities. In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Economic Relations Division (ERD), Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Bangladesh on 17 December 2018. ERD Secretary Mr Monwar Ahmed and Mr Jim McAlpine, Country Representative, DFID Bangladesh signed the MoU.
PKSF – an apex development agency founded by the GoB – will be the lead implementing partner of PPEPP, to be jointly financed by DFID and the European Union. The project will be implemented in two phases. The budget for the first phase amounting to 109.6 million Pound Sterling (GBP), of which 63.5 million Pound Sterling is earmarked for PKSF as grant. Upon evaluation of the first phase’s outcomes, the project can be extended for another five years in the second phase.
The project aims to enable over two million people to graduate from extreme poverty and to place them on sustained pathway to prosperity. To achieve this, PKSF will implement three major components, i.e. Livelihood (including value chain development), Nutrition and Community Mobilization. The issues disaster and climate resilience, disability, and women’s empowerment leading to gender equality cut across PKSF’s components of PPEPP. The other components, to be implemented by other entities, are Market Development, Policy Advocacy and Life Cycle Grant Pilot.
The project will contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty by addressing multidimensional poverty and building capacities to ensure inclusive financial development of the target communities. The services to be delivered encompass training, financial and technical assistance, technology transfer and market linkage activities. Nutrition interventions for pregnant and lactating mothers, babies and adolescent girls, and social development services will also be in place. The project, the interventions of which will cut across various Sustainable Development Goals, will be implemented in poverty-stricken and climate-vulnerable northwestern region, the southern coastal region, Chittagong Hill Tracts and the haor basin of Bangladesh.
The MoU between PKSF and DFID Bangladesh is likely to be signed by March 2019 and PKSF is expected to start the full-on implementation of the PPEPP project via its Partner Organizations in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
ERD Press Release:
Online complaint box added to PKSF’s Website
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is committed to maintaining good governance practices in its operations. As part of this, a window for submitting complaints has recently been added on its official website (pksf.org.bd). The addition of the button entitled “Complain Box” is part of PKSF’s relentless efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in its activities.
Anyone can visit the official website and submit their complaints, if any, through this box. The PKSF Management will take cognizance of the issue and take appropriate actions.
The following link will lead you to the “Complain Box”:
EDs of PKSF POs Meet, Interact and Share Views in a Strategic Meeting LivelyMoments, Smiling Faces, Vows to Achieve
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a meeting titled ‘Strategic Meeting with Partner Organizations of PKSF’. This was the first of its kind that took place to exchange views with all who realize at the field-level what the Board and Management of PKSF conceive at the decision-making level. The meeting was held on 29 November 2018 at PKSF Bhaban. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the meeting while PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim delivered the welcome remarks.
Highlighting the rapid expansion of the activities of PKSF and its POs, PKSF Chairman Dr QK Ahmad focused on efficient program management including finance to ensure sustainable development of the poor. He also emphasized on adopting new programs to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, he referred to the ENRICH program of PKSF that seeks to ensure human dignity for all through inclusive and sustainable development. He hoped that PKSF and its POs will work more diligently in future.
Mr Md Abdul Karim, MD of PKSF, in his welcome speech, said that the responsibilities of the POs are increasing with the expansion of their activities. He also made a presentation on ‘Three Decades of PKSF’s Journey: The Paradigm Shift’. In the presentation, Mr Karim demonstrated the diversification of the activities of PKSF. Moreover, he also referred to PKSF’s journey from a microfinance organization to a human-centered development organization.
In the meeting, the three PKSF Deputy Managing Directors gave three presentations — Mr Md Fazlul Kader on ‘Scaling up Economic Activities’, Dr Md Jashim Uddin on ‘Good Governance’, and Mr Golam Touhid on ‘Capacity Building’.
Different issues were discussed in the meeting to make the development programs of PKSF more dynamic and effective to ensure sustainable development human dignity for all. Representatives of the POs of PKSF also gave important feedback on PKSF activities and the challenges ways out to implement them in the field.
Issue Based Meeting with General Body Members Discussed “One District One Product” Concept
A discussion meeting with honorable members of the General Body of PKSF was held on 28th November, 2018 at PKSF as per the decision of 7th Annual General Meeting of PKSF. The topic of the 1st meeting of its kind was the concept note of “One District One Product” a new initiative of PKSF to develop geographical branding of different potential farm and non-farm products of the country.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the Honorable Chairman of PKSF presided over the meeting.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF attended the meeting and delivered his welcome speech. Dr. Pratima Paul-Majumder, Mr. C.M. Shafi Sami, Professor Shafi Ahmed, Dr. Ramanimohon Debnath, Dr. Toufic Ahmad Choudhury,Ms. Nazneen Sultana were present at the meeting. Professor M.A. Baqui Khalily, Dr. Momtaz Uddin Ahmed, Dr. Jahangir Alam Khan also attended the meeting as invited guest. Other higher officials of PKSF were also present on the occasion and took part in the discussion. Besides, Senior Officials of PKSF also attended the meeting.
Deputy Managing Director-1 of PKSF Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader presented the concept note on “One District One product”. In his presentation, Mr. Kader mentioned that a good number of business clusters have been grown in the country naturally based on the comparative advantages of different geographical regions. He emphasized on developing umbrella branding of these business clusters so that the products of these clusters can reach wider national and international markets. Although each district of Bangladesh has more than one potential product, the most promising one can be chosen as an iconic product from each district to promote geographical branding. PKSF may continue to provide its assistance to all business clusters that have growth potentials in terms of upscaling of economic activities and generation of sustainable productive employment. However, special focus will be given to the iconic ones for their branding.
The participants welcomed the “One District One product” concept and provided their valuable suggestions regarding this innovative idea. The participants stressed the need for market assessment, market linkage, use of e-commerce service and adequate financial services to materialize the concept.
Honorable Chairman of PKSF, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad in his closing remarks informed that the financial services provided by PKSF, is no longer called microcredit, rather it is inclusive financing that includes people ranging from ultra-poor to micro entrepreneurs. The credit ceiling is now BDT 1.0 million which may be increased further. He also informed that PKSF has already introduced an e-commerce service exclusively for microenterprises. He advised that the most promising product can be chosen as an iconic product from each district while other business clusters will also get assistance from PKSF in accordance with their growth potential and ability to generate sustainable employment. He also gave instruction for focusing on export oriented microenterprise sector. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad expressed his commitment to initiate different innovative programs to expedite the economic progress of the country. He thanked all the participants for attending the meeting.
Training on Nutrition for the Health Officers of ENRICH
Organized by PKSF, a 5-day training session took place from 14 to 18 November 2018 at Padakhep Institute of Development Management (PIDM), in Dhaka. The program, titled ‘Training on Nutrition’ was facilitated by Ms Pham Thi Hong, Executive Director, Center for Education and Community Development (CECD), Vietnam. The training program was designed and arranged to equip the Health Officers of ENRICH Program with better knowledge and skills on nutrition.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF inaugurated the training program as the Chief Guest on 14 November 2018. The Managing Director of PKSF Mr Md. Abdul Karim presided over the inaugural session while Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director-2 of PKSF spoke as the Special Guest. Senior General Manager of PKSF Mr Mashiar Rahman and the Executive Director of Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra were also present at the inauguration. The chairman of PKSF, in his speech highlighted the importance of nutrition for good health and well-being.
‘Health and Nutrition’ is one of the major components of the ENRICH program. All Partner Organizations (POs) are relentlessly working to maintain good health of population in the 201 ENIRCH unions of 64 districts. Under ENRICH, total of 374 health officers, having 4-year diploma degree, work closely with the members of ENRICH program to better facilitate their access to medical and healthcare services.
The training program was divided into 10 different sessions focusing on different areas of health and nutrition. Ms Hong discussed on the importance, sources and value of sundry nutrients in different sessions. She also made the participants aware of some techniques of preparing balanced food for people of different age groups.
32 female participants from 32 POs took part in the training program. The participants will share their learnings and experiences with the health visitors working closely with them.
The training concluded with a formal ceremony on 18 November at the same venue. It started with the welcome speech by Mr Md. Mashiar Rahman, Sr. General Manager (Program). Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF spoke as the Chief Guest and handed over certificates to the participants. Mr Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director-1 and Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director-2, PKSF also attended the session as special guests while Mr Iqbal Ahmed, Executive Director, Padakkhep Manobik Unnoyon Kendra presided over. Ms Pham Thi Hong presented on her evaluation regarding the training program.
PKSF organized International Conference titled “Pathways to a Sustainable Economy: Vision 2041 Agenda for Bangladesh”
PKSF organized International Conference titled “Pathways to a Sustainable Economy: Vision 2041 Agenda for Bangladesh”
“Bangladesh needs to ensure a society which will be free from corruption and inequality to achieve the vision 2041”, Speakers urged at the International Conference titled “Pathways to a Sustainable Economy: Vision 2041- Agenda for Bangladesh” held at Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Dhaka on 30-31 October 2018.
In addition to the opening and closing sessions of the two-day International Conference, six breakout sessions were held where papers on different emerging development issues of Bangladesh, relevant to the ‘Vision 2041’, had been presented & discussed.
Chairman of PKSF Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the inaugural session of the conference, while University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Abdul Mannan Delivered a speech as the Chief Guest. Managing Director of PKSF Mr. Md. Abdul Karim also delivered the welcome speech.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that Bangladesh has already had a good number of economic and social attainments. All difficulties, including those with manpower, terrorism, corruption and political stability, need to be addressed properly to consolidate these achievements. In order to overcome obstacles, everyone should be included in development process. He also added that no-one would be left behind and the spirit of the Liberation War of Bangladesh would get prioritized to achieve SDGs.
Professor Abdul Mannan said that Bangladesh made a significant progress in economic development. But the biggest challenge is sustainability. To achieve sustainability, we need political stability and the government needs to concentrate various potential areas for further development. If corruption is ceased, then it is possible to increase the current GDP by 2%.
In the welcome speech the PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md. Abdul Karim highlighted the comparative picture of the economic growth of Bangladesh, saying that 4% growth of 1990 has reached at 7.86 in the year 2018. Referring to the expectation and achievement of the people of Bangladesh, he focused on ensuring sustainable economy, minimizing the gap between region-based unequal developments and eventually the development of the financial institutions.
Local and foreign experts presented a total of 15 papers on a few policy directive topics such as industrialization, agriculture, food security, public health, nutrition, and climate change at the conference which ended on 31 October 2018. The conference was organized jointly by the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Dhaka School of Economics, Jagannath University, Griffith University of Australia, University of Bath, UK, and Bremen University, Germany.
Bangladesh Adolescents’ Conference 2018 Held
‘Bangladesh Kishore-Kishori (adolescents) Shommelon 2018’, a national conference of adolescents, was held at Bangabandhu International Conference Center on 21 October 2018. Finance Minister Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, MP, was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session of the conference organised by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). Presided over by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the inaugural session was graced by Ms Naznin Sultana, a member of the PKSF Governing Body, as the Guest of Honour. Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF gave the vote of thanks while Deputy Managing Director (Program) of PKSF Mr Md Fazlul Kader spoke on the future plan on developing the cultural values of the youths of the country.
The Finance Minister, in his speech, said though the poverty rate in Bangladesh has decreased significantly, there are still 30 million people in the country living below the poverty line and 10 million of them are ultra-poor. To ensure the development of these people and to bring down the poverty rate below 10 percent, the Government should continue with its development activities for the next 7 to 10 years, stated Mr Muhith. He also said that the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman emphasized on proper utilization of the human resources of the country to rebuild a war-torn country. The adolescents of today will uphold the spirit of Bangabandhu to help Bangladesh continue the development march and emerge as a developed nation by 2041, the Finance Minister added.
Terming inclusiveness as a pre-requisite to sustainable development, PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said PKSF programs and projects are designed and implemented in such a way that no one is left out of the development purview. ‘Dignity for all’ is the overarching objective of the PKSF interventions. ‘Bangladesh Kishore-Kishori Shommelon 2018’ has been arranged as part of its inclusive development programs, he said, adding that this particular program will help to build a nation enriched in its own traditions and cultural values.
Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, said that PKSF has taken up various programs to address the life-cycle-based needs of people. As part of inclusive development program for sustainable poverty alleviation, PKSF is implementing ‘Cultural and Sports Program’, designed in light of the grand initiative of Bangabandhu to build future leadership through formulating the Children Act. The PKSF Managing Director hoped that today’s adolescents will take forward the unprecedented achievements of Bangladesh in economic, social and human development indices
Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program) of PKSF said that there is no alternative to developing cultural values for sustainable socio-economic development of the country. He shared the future plans of PKSF’s ‘Cultural and Sports Program’ to equip the adolescents with necessary values to cope with the challenges of the days ahead. Mr Md Fazlul Kader also highlighted the tremendous responses the program received at the grassroots level within just two years of inception, and said that this program will create a strong foundation to materialize the dream of Bangabandhu’s Sonar Bangla, a prosperous Bangladesh.
A total of 710 adolescents — selected from 100,000 participants from 11,000 educational institutions across the country — participated in the conference. They took an oath to work for the welfare of the country as well as for humanity. PKSF Chairman Dr QK Ahmad administered the oath. An adolescent girl, a boy and a teacher also spoke in the program. A workshop on leadership skills and ethics was held in the second session of the daylong conference.
Mr Md Ashadul Islam, Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, was present as the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony of the conference while eminent litterateur Selina Hossain was as the Special Guest.
The conference ended with a cultural program in the presence of, among others, Hon’ble Cultural Affairs Minister Mr Asaduzzaman Noor, MP. Adolescents from different regions of the country performed in the cultural evening.
Signing Ceremony of Record of Discussions (R/D) between PKSF and JICA
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has signed Record of Discussions (R/D) with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for “The Project for Developing Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction” in Bangladesh on September 26, 2018. The main objective of the project is to provide financial & non-financial services to the poor households of Bangladesh to mitigate financial risk and increase resilience against irregular behavior in climatic environment including natural and personal disasters.
Mr. Yasuhiro Kawazoe, Senior Representative of JICA Bangladesh Office and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF signed the R/D on behalf of their respective organizations. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF was present on the ceremony. Mr. Keisuke Sawada, Project Formulation Advisor, JICA Bangladesh Office, Ms. Syeda Sadia Hasan, Deputy Program Manager from JICA and Mr. Md. Hasan Khaled, General Manager and other officials of PKSF were also present during the signing of the R/D.
Postponement of Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) and Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) project e-recruitment process
All the e-recruitment process under Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) and Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) of PKSF have been postponed due to some technical difficulties. PKSF will re-advertise for the recruitment of Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) and Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) through daily newspapers soon.
PKSF Observes National Mourning Day
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) observed the National Mourning Day on 15 August 2018 with due reverence and solemnity. On this fateful day in 1975, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, along with most of his family members, was brutally assassinated in his residence by a group of wayward military men.
A discussion meeting chaired by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was held and special prayers were offered during the observance program at PKSF Auditorium. PKSF Board members Dr Pratima Paul Majumder, Ms Nazneen Sultana and Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, and Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim spoke during the discussion attended by all the employees of PKSF.
Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program), Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Administration) and Mr Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director (Finance) also spoke at the event.
At the beginning of the program, all participants stood in solemn silence for one minute, displaying respect to the great leader and prayed for the peace of departed souls. Later, food was distributed among children in two orphanages.
From a speech
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad
High Cost High Profile Seminars/Workshops on Poverty Eradication Vs Poverty Action on the Ground:
“For poverty eradication, there is no need to waste resources by arranging seminars/workshops at 5-Star hotels or travel long distances to attend high profile conferences at huge costs.
What is necessary is political and institutional commitment and action at the household level. But it is crucially important first to understand the true circumstances of the households and then stand by them with a package of services including education, training, health services, social capital formation and other specific services needed by the particular households. Trained and motivated change agents deployed by dedicated institutions are needed to implement such a package.
The cost incurred in one seminar with about 100 participants at a 5-Star hotel in Dhaka can support at least five extremely poor households to move up above the poverty line.
It is known what to do and how to do it to remove poverty in Bangladesh. Further learnings should emerge as action progresses. Sensible thing to do is to avoid fancy and expensive talk shops and promote action.
Anyone interested to see the efficacy of this approach on the ground may visit one of the 200 unions under the ENRICH programme of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).”
Workshop on Implementation Strategies of Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme
Workshop on Implementation Strategies of Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme
A workshop on Implementing Strategies of Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme was held on August 12, 2018 at PKSF Bhaban. A total of 260 Focal Person and Programme Officers from 98 Partner Organisations were present in the day-long workshop. From July 1, 2018, the Elderly People Programme has been extended to 234 Unions from 100 Unions.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the honorable Chairman of Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) inaugurated the workshop. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, honorable Managing Director of PKSF gave speech as special guest. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) was present at the inaugural session of the workshop.
In his speech Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that in old age, people become incapable in many ways. “These neglected, destitute elderly people should not rehabilitate in old home rather they should be served at their own homes”.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim in his speech emphasised the importance of inclusive development in sustainable poverty reduction process. Referring to the necessity of the workshop he asked the participants to contribute the workshop effectively. Mr. Karim urged the programme officers to ensure transparency and accountability while implanting the programme in field level. Mr. Abdul Karim said that the elderly programme empowered the local elderly people since all the elderly committees are given the authority to select the beneficiaries of receiving special assistances from the programme.
Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader discussed the background and perspective of the Elderly People Programme. He welcomed the workshop participants and gave necessary guidance to them. Mr. Abul Hasan Md. Abdul Qaiyum, Deputy General Manager (Program), PKSF gave a presentation and discussed on under taken strategies for Uplifting the quality of the Lives of Elderly People Programme at field level. In the workshop, the respective officials gave chapter wise presentation on the Guideline to Implement the Elderly People Programme. There was also a separate session from PKSF Audit Division, where the participants were briefed about budget and re-imbursement procedure.
Subsidiary Loan and Grant Agreement (SLGA) Signing Ceremony of “Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
Subsidiary Loan and Grant Agreement (SLGA) Signing Ceremony of “Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is going to implement ‘‘Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)” supported by the World Bank. The World Bank has approved to finance USD 110.0 million from its International Development Association (IDA) window to implement the project. The main objective of the project is to promote environmentally sustainable microenterprises of Bangladesh.
Subsidiary Loan and Grant Agreement (SLGA) of SEP has been signed between ‘Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)’ and Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, on August 02, 2018. Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Shirajun Noor Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Finance Division (FD), Ministry of Finance signed the SLGA on behalf of their respective side. Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam, General Manager of PKSF and Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, Project Coordinator, SEP, PKSF were present in the contract signing ceremony.
With the completion of SLGA signing, Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP) is going to be effective officially. This project will be implemented within next 05 years through the designated Partner Organizations of PKSF in selected business clusters of the microenterprises.
Training Completion Ceremony Held under SEIP
Start-up capital, appointment letters, certificates handed over
Bangla-German Sampriti (BGS), a training institute working with the SEIP project of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), organized a training completion ceremony at its Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Tangail on 16 July 2018.
Eminent economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, also the Chairman of PKSF, was the Chief Guest at the ceremony. Mr Muhammad Nesar Uddin Jewel, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Tangail, Mr Md Abul Kashem, Deputy General Manager of PKSF, and Mr Md Abdul Hamid, Deputy Director at the Tangail office of the Department of Social Welfare, were present there as Special Guests at the event chaired by Mr Md Jahurul Islam, Executive Director of BGS.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad handed over cheques of start-up capital, amounting to BDT 3,00,000, among four female and one male program participants who successfully completed the training and now wish to start their own enterprises.
A total of 75 youths participated in the training on different trades in three batches and 56 of them received recruitment letters from various business entities — including Pran-RFL, Energypac, MyOne-Minister, and Standard Group — during the ceremony. Besides, all the participants received training completion certificates.
Also during his BGS visit, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad inspected the training classes at the VTC and talked to the trainees, who expressed their gratitude to the PKSF Chairman and said this visit was very inspirational for them.
Visit of field level operations of PKSF by Ms. Aparna Subramani, Executive Director (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal), The World Bank
Visit of field level operations of PKSF by Ms. Aparna Subramani, Executive Director (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal), The World Bank
Ms. Aparna Subramani, Executive Director (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal), The World Bank visited field level activities of PKSF on July 02, 2018. Ms. Aparna Subramani along with the officials of PKSF and Economic Relations Division (ERD), visited Brass product cluster, Safe Vegetable production, Vermi compost production and OBA Sanitation Project of ‘Society for Development Initiatives (SDI)’, a Partner Organization of PKSF, at Dhamrai upazila, Dhaka.
After visiting the field level activities, Ms. Aparna Subramani met eminent economist Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director (Ex Principal Secretary) and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) of PKSF in its office. Other officials of PKSF and ERD were also present there. During the meeting, Ms. Aparna Subramani praised the human centric activities of PKSF.
MoU signed to implement Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP)
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh signed a renewal of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, June 26, 2018, to implement the 2nd phase of the Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) project. In the presence of Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF (Former Principal Secretary) and Mr. Jalal Ahmend, Additional Secretary and Executive Project Director (SEIP), Finance Division; Mr. Abdur Rouf Talukdar, Additional Secretary and National Project Director (SEIP), Finance Division, and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program) of PKSF signed the MoU in PKSF.
The goal of the project is to develop demand-driven workforce through skills training and thereby placing at least 60% of the participants in more productive self and wage employment at home and abroad, which eventually will help improve their livelihood. The project is financed jointly by the Government of Bangladesh, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The totalprojected budget of PKSF for this phase is BDT 62.84 crore. PKSF will receive the total amount as grant through the government. Under this agreement, PKSF will provide skills training to 12,000 new entrants by 2020. Participants, after completion of their training will also be offered job placement services. The project will be implemented across the country through recognized training institutions. PKSF will select program participants from the disadvantaged youths under its microfinance programs through its Partner Organizations. The 2nd phase of the project will be completed within three years. In the 1st phase of the project implemented from 2015 to 2017, 10,000 participants received skills training in different trades and 71% of them secured jobs already. Out of this job recipients, 34% are self-employed.
Mr. Md. Kamal Hossain, DPED (Public), Mr. Md. Rafiqul Islam, DPED (Fund Management) and Mr. Md. Fazlul Bari, DPED (Private) of SEIP project, Ministry of Finance and Mr. Md. Abul Kashem, Project Coordinator of SEIP, PKSF among others, were present in the MoU signing ceremony.
Seminar on ‘Sustainable Livelihood and Inclusive Development of the Bedey Community in Savar Upazila’
Seminar on ‘Sustainable Livelihood and Inclusive Development of the Bedey Community in Savar Upazila’
PKSF on 05 June 2018, arranged a seminar over a baseline study titled ‘Sustainable Livelihood and Inclusive Development of the Bedey Community in Savar Upazila‘ chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. A presentation was made on the study by Dr. Tapash Kumar Biswas, Director (Research), PKSF. On the occasion, a total of 37 personnel from different Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF and other related institutions attended the seminar along with 26 of the PKSF’s senior officials.
At the beginning of the Seminar, Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Admin), PKSF made a brief on the background of the study. Dr. Jashim said that the Bedeys are mostly concentrated in Savar, Dhaka region and are a special group of population stricken with severe poverty. PKSF conducted a comprehensive study through its Research Division to assess the Bedey people’s occupational pattern, status of education, socio-cultural status and vulnerabilities with a view to finding the way out of poverty for them.
Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program) put emphasis on capturing the anthropological perspective of the Bedey community. Other participants also provided valuable opinions and made propositions. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF acknowledged the study highly and conveyed his thanks towards the Director (Research) and the Research Division of PKSF for conducting such study. Hon’ble Chairman of the PKSF Dr. Ahmad remarked that it is necessary to know about the Bedeys since they are left behind and are left off from the mainstream development activities. Dr. Ahmad opined that the findings of the study would be applicable for other Bedey concentrated areas of Bangladesh. He hoped that this study would be useful for initiating development activities for mainstreaming the Bedey communities. He also appreciated the study to be very timely and stated that it can be published.
National Anti-Tobacco Platform awarded “Tobacco Control Award-2018’’
An award giving ceremony; “Tobacco Control Award-2018” was organized by National Anti-Tobacco Platform (NATP) on 24th May 2018.
The program was presided over by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman, PKSF and convener, NATP. He mentioned that NATP has been working mainly in three areas; discouraging the use of tobacco in any form, raising consciousness among people and doing advocacy at policy level. He mentioned that many anti-tobacco organizations have taken different interventions, but due to lack of proper coordination expected outcomes have not been achieved. He expected NATP will act as a coordinator for tobacco free Bangladesh.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF, in his welcome speech, mentioned that Tobacco control is very essential to attain the 3rd goal of SDG where healthy lives for all can be ensured. He said that NATP has been working for a healthy nation to substantiate the development process in Bangladesh. Moreover, he emphasized that social awareness and all-out efforts are necessary for tobacco control.
Mr. Zahid Malik, State Minister for the Health and Family Welfare attended the program as the Chief Guest. He praised PKSF’s interventions of alternative profitable cultivation replacing existing tobacco cultivation. He indicated it as one of the best ways to reduce tobacco production. He also suggested NATP to carry out campaigning programs throughout the country to eliminate the risk of tobacco and drug addiction especially among the youth.
National Professor Brig. (Retd.) Abdul Malik attended the program as the Special Guest. He appreciated the role taken by PKSF in alternative cultivation where former Tobacco cultivators transformed their lives. He urged that anti-tobacco movement should be duly sensitized and made into a social movement for a safe public health.
NATP has given awards to two categories in this year for outstanding contribution in tobacco control activities. ‘Dhaka Ahsania Mission’ has been awarded in Organization category for the quality, expansion and impact of their tobacco control activities.
On the other hand, Dr. M Mostafa Zaman, has been awarded for ‘Publication/ Research’ category for his contribution in non-communicable diseases and quality of publication in national and international journals that contributed in anti-tobacco movement.
Agreement Signing Ceremony of ‘‘Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)”
The World Bank has approved to finance US$110.0 million from its International Development Association (IDA) window to implement ‘‘Sustainable Enterprise Project (SEP)” by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). The main objective of the project is to promote environmentally sustainable microenterprises of Bangladesh.
The Financing Agreement and Project Agreement of SEP have been signed in NEC-2 Conference room of Economic Relations Division (ERD), Dhaka on 16th May, 2018. Mr. Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and Mr. Qimiao Fan, Country Director of the World Bank Dhaka Office signed the Financing Agreement on behalf of their respective side. While Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Qimiao Fan, Country Director of the World Bank Dhaka Office signed the Project Agreement.
Ms. Mahmuda Begum, Additional Secretary of ERD; Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF; Dr. Akond Md. Rafiqul Islam, General Manager of PKSF; Ms. Nadia Sharmin, Task Team Leader of SEP of the World Bank; Mr. Mirza Ashfaqur Rahman, Deputy Secretary of ERD; Mr. Nazrul Islam from Financial Institutions Division (FID)and other senior officials from ERD, FID, and PKSF were also present at the signing ceremony.
Project Coordinator of SEP Mr. Zahir Uddin Ahmed made a short presentation on this project at the beginning of the ceremony.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF mentioned that SEP is one of the fastest negotiated projects of the World Bank. He thanked the ERD, FID, the World Bank and the PKSF officials for completing the project formalities within such a very short period of time. He also mentioned that like other projects, PKSF will maintain high quality of implementation of this project. He said Chairman of PKSF Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad is very keen on supporting environmentally sustainable microenterprises in Bangladesh.
Mr. Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary of ERD recognized PKSF as a renowned organization of the country and said that ERD will provide full support to implement this project. He wished all the successes of this project.
In the signing ceremony, Mr. Qimiao Fan, Country Director of the World Bank thanked the Government of Bangladesh, PKSF and the World Bank staff for completing the project formalities within a very short period of time. He also said that most of the countries follow ”do first and clean later” practice which creates nothing but damage. He also mentioned that, through this project Microenterprises of Bangladesh will be supported to adopt environment friendly practices.
On March 29, 2018, the World Bank has approved USD 110.0 million for the project. Total budget of the project is USD 130.0 million; of which the World Bank will finance USD 110.0 million and PKSF will contribute USD 20.0 million. This project will be implemented within next 05 years through the designated Partner Organizations of PKSF in selected business clusters of the microenterprises.
The officials of PKSF and its Contractor firm Concord Engineers & Construction Ltd joined a Dua Mahfil Ceremony with fervor on may 15, 2018 for Earth Breaking of construction work of 13 storied with 4 basements Display & Sale Centre (Bhaban) of PKSF at Shyamoli, Dhaka. The function was chared by Dr. Jashim Uddin, DMD (Admin), PKSF. The honorable MD of PKSF Mr. Md. Abdul Karim was the Chief Guest in the occasion. Besides MD of Concord Group, Mr. Shariar Kamal, Dr. Abdul Jalil, Consultant, BRTC-BUET, Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, DMD (Program), Mr. Golam Touhid, DMD (Finance) and Professor Shafi Ahmed, Senior Editorial Adviser of PKSF were also present in the inaugural session. Apart from those, other top rank officials of PKSF & Concord Group also participated in the Mahfil.
A national platform titled ‘Bangladesh Jatiya Prabin Mancha (Bangladesh National Forum for the Elderly)’ has been launched under the initiatives of Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). Mr. Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, has been pro-active to the formation of the Forum.
The platform will take up various programs in light of the National Policy on Older Persons 2013. The platform, comprising different organizations and individuals working for the welfare of the elderly, is expected to play an effective role in building a senior citizen-friendly society as well as in ensuring sustainable socio-economic progress by bettering services to the elderly people.
Social Welfare Minister Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, MP, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Health and Family Welfare Secretary Mr. Foyez Ahmed was the Special Guest at the launching ceremony. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the program held on 14 May 2018 at PKSF Auditorium.
In his speech, Mr. Rashed Khan Menon said the experience and wisdom of the senior citizens can guide the youth towards a better and more prosperous future. Mentioning that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved leaving anyone behind, he commented that empowering senior citizens is as important as ensuring their welfare. “I hope this Forum will play a vital role in ensuring inclusive development and social dignity of the elderly.”
Stating that the average life expectancy of the Bangladeshis has reached 72 years, the Health and Family Welfare Secretary said ensuring collective welfare of the elderly is becoming a growing challenge, and this Forum is a “praiseworthy initiative” for addressing that challenges.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the PKSF Chairman, said inclusion of the elderly in the development process is a must for achieving the SDGs. During his speech as the program’s Chair, the eminent economist also announced the Advisory Committee (bn) (eng), the Executive Committee (bn) (eng) and the General Body (bn) (eng) of the newly floated Forum.
PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md Abdul Karim said PKSF is carrying out its Elderly programme in light of the National Policy on Older Persons 2013 and the Parents’ Maintenance Act 2013.
He said PKSF is conducting a comprehensive pro-elderly program titled ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People’ that ensures social and financial security, healthcare, empowerment, entertainment of elderly people. The new Forum will hopefully formulate its working strategies in line with the experiences of PKSF, he said.
Mr Abdul Karim, a former Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, stressed on the need for the expansion of health services for the elderly at the grassroots, incorporation of a dedicated chapter in textbooks for creating social responsibility and awareness among people, and introduction of a national pension scheme for all.
A separate ministry or department can be established for expediting the pro-elderly measures of the government, suggested the former top bureaucrat of the State. “Bangladesh National Forum for the Elderly will hopefully act as a model platform for the welfare of older persons”, Mr. Abdul Karim added.
Earlier, PKSF Deputy Managing Director (Program) Mr. Md Fazlul Kader, who spearheads the implementation of the Foundation’s innovative ‘Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People’ programme, presented on different pro-elderly interventions and achievements of PKSF.
Ms Rabeya Sultana, Country Director of HelpAge International Bangladesh, Mr. Abul Hasib Khan, Director of Resource Integration Centre (RIC), and Ms Monowara Begum, Executive Director of Prottyashi, also spoke at the program. PKSF Board Members, members of PKSF’s elderly interventions and officials of the Partner Organizations concerned, among others, were present at the launching ceremony of the new platform.
To mark the International Women’s Day, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized a seminar on 27 March 2018. This year the theme was “Time is Now: Rural and Urban activities Transforming Women’s lives.
The seminar was presided over by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, and Advocate Tarana Halim, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Information, as the chief guest. Mr. Md. Zillar Rahman, Secretary of Social Welfare Ministry, was the Guest of Honor and Litterateur Ms. Selina Hossain was present as special guest.
PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said social, economic and educational development of women is essential for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He expressed the view that ensuring the equal opportunities and establishing human dignity for all will enhance the pathway of women towards prosperity.
State Minister for Information Advocate Tarana Halim said that elimination of discrimination against women can be achieved by changing the mindset of people of all walks of society. The current government is a women-friendly Government and due to this, Women are marching ahead in all spheres today. She emphasized on ensuring women’s political development alongside their economic development to ensure women’s empowerment.
Secretary of the Social Welfare Ministry Mr. Md. Zillar Rahman spoke about the initiatives taken by his ministry. The purview of social safety net has already been expanded and further expansion is underway with priority on women, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, renowned litterateur Ms Selina Hossain expressed her hope that the society will advance through equality of male and female. She emphasized on the need for creating equal opportunities for everyone by removing gender discrimination in society.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF delivered welcome speech at the seminar. He mentioned about the initiatives taken by the government to pave way for women’s development. At the same time, he highlighted the initiatives taken by PKSF for the empowerment of women at the grassroots.
In recognition of her contribution in the field of socio-economic development for women, the PKSF honored Ms. Begum Rokeya, Executive Director of Swabalambi Unnayan Samiti. Muhammad Shahid Uz Zaman, Executive Director, Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO) presented the keynote paper at the seminar. Ms. Nilufar Banu, Executive Director, Bangladesh Unnayan Parisad, also spoke at the seminar.
Success in extracting royal jelly from honey bee!
Extraction of royal jelly has been successfully done through a value chain intervention under IFAD supported PACE project. This is the first ever success in extracting royal jelly in Bangladesh. This Royal Jelly was extracted under the Value Chain sub-project under PACE project named “Income Generation of Beekeepers through Sustainable Beekeeping and Honey Production” implemented by Bangladesh Association for Social Advancement (BASA), a partner organization (PO) of PKSF. Royal jelly is a secretion of honey bee, which is considered as the ‘super food’ for queen bees and it is used for developing bee larva and queen. This extract enables a queen bee to maintain a highly productive life. Royal jelly has many health benefits for humans. Apart from improving immunization system and boosting energy, this extract has good impact in controlling blood pressure and other diseases. Bee keepers will now be able to extract royal jelly applying this technology transferred under PACE project. We are congratulating and appreciating all institutions concerned including farmers on this ground breaking success.
It can be mentioned that PACE project has achieved successes in other economic sub-sectors which includes establishment of the country’s first ever crab hatchery, establishment of Halda river research Institute, export of mung bean, establishment of Tissue culture lab and other common service centre and transfer of technologies for high value fruits and crops cultivation and so on.
The Baul Shah Abdul Karim Memorial Museum is going to be built at the residence of Baul Shah Abdul Karim at Dirai upazila of Sunamganj district. On 19 March 2018, the Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad laid the foundation stone of the Museum, in a ceremony organized on the premises of the baul’s home. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was the Chief Guest and PKSF Managing Director Mr. Md. Abdul Karim was present as Special Guest. Partner Organization TMSS will oversee construction of the museum with the financial assistance from PKSF.
Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Admin), PKSF, and senior officials of PKSF and TMSS were present at the ceremony.
Ekushey Padak recipient Baul Shah Abdul Karim was born on February 15, 1916 in sunamganj District. He died on September 12, 2009.
Initiatives to achieve Sustainable development in haor areas face multilevel challenges. In order to create a strategy to involve the marginalized people of the Haor region in the mainstream development process, a conference was organized in Shantiganj of South Sunamganj upazila in Sunamganj district on 18 March 2018.
The conference was comprised of two sessions. The opening session was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. Honorable State Minister of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr. M. A. Mannan, M. P. was present on the occasion as the Chief Guest while Advocate Shamsun Nahar Begum, MP, Mr. Moazzem Hossain Ratan, MP, Dr. Jaya Sengupta, MP, Mr. Muhibur Rahman Manik, MP, and Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF were present as Special Guests. Mr. Md. Sabirul Islam, Deputy Commissioner of Sunamganj gave the welcome speech at the conference.
Two presentations were made on the initiatives taken by government and non-government entities for the development of haor people. Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Administration), PKSF gave a presentation titled “Sustainable Development of Haor People: Non-government Initiatives” and the other presentation titled ‘Sustainable Development of Haor People: Government Initiatives’ was presented by Mr. Md. Ruhul Amin, Director (Wetlands), Directorate of Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development.
In the second part of the day, a technical session held on “Sustainable Development of the Haor People through Collaborative Initiatives of the government and non-governmental bodies: Challenges and Prospects”. In this session, four articles on sustainable development of haor people were presented. Four presentations were made respectively by Dr. Fazle Rabbi Sadeque Ahmed, Director (Environment and Climate Change), PKSF, Mr. Zakir Ahmed Khan, Head of Urban Program, Concern Worldwide, Bangladesh, Mr. KAM Morshed, Director, Advocacy, Technology and Partnership, BRAC, and Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, Executive Director, Padakkhep Manobik Unnayan Kendra.
Mr. Ziaul Haque Mukta, General Secretary, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), Professor AKM Mazharul Islam, Department of Anthropology, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet and Dr. M. Mokhlesur Rahman, Executive Director, Center for Natural Resources Studies (CNRS) were panel discussant in the session. PKSF Chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad was the Chief Guest and Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF was the Session Chair. PKSF organized this conference to get a glimpse of the challenges regarding sustainable development initiatives for the Haor People and identify ways to ensure better and stronger collaboration among different government and non-government initiatives.
Presentation in Haor Conference 2018 (Concern Worldwide)
Presentation in Haor Conference 2018 (BRAC)
Presentation in Haor Conference 2018 (Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra)
Presentation on GCF Proposal in Haor Conference 2018
Human Rights Human Dignity and Sustainable Development
– Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad
(This paper is based on the speech delivered by the author as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the 7th World Edu Summit, organized by MTC Global at Bangalore, India on 9 September 2017.)
Thank you very much, Professor Bholanath Dutta. I am here, because of Professor Dutta. I was not ready to travel. I don’t travel these days very much. And I am due to travel again on the next 13th September, a rather long journey to the USA. But Bholanath persuaded me to be here today. He is very persuasive. I say this, because noting his persuasive power, I can state with confidence that, with him at the helm, the MTC Global will go very far. I thank him and congratulate him and his associates.
I heard the comments of Professor R S S Mani with interest and he made some very pertinent points. Professor Golam Samdani Fakir, from Bangladesh, has talked about sustainable development. In fact, this is the in-thing now, but it is not going to be easy to translate all the talks and proposals into action. And Professor Ratnalekar has given a list of don’ts: don’t do this, don’t do that; yes, he has also provided a list of do’s. This reminds me that we all are equal human beings, with the same set of universal human rights. Everybody, all of us here and everywhere, including those who are not fortunate enough to even come near this community, i.e. those who work physically in fields, factories, and streets. Everybody is entitled to pursuing their rights as vigorously as possible. But, nobody must do one thing and that is to encroach upon the rights of others. And this is something I try to put across in Bangladesh. I travel to rural areas all over Bangladesh as much as I can; and one key message that I try to give is: we’re all equal as humans; we have the right to expand our horizons, but nobody has the right to undermine anybody else’s rights. This is something that if we, all of us take unto ourselves and follow through, we can surely contribute to the evolving of a fair society. One can try to be whatever they want—rich, highly educated, highly placed in society, economy or any other sphere of life—but they must do it in a manner that does not encroach upon anybody else’s right. In my judgement, this is one of the most basic things that the educationists should put across to their students. I try to do it.
I have been introduced as Chairman of Dhaka School of Economics which is a higher educational institution and also as Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) which works with the downtrodden, the poor and the extreme poor, for their socio-economic progress. I think we have so far talked about higher education a lot in this session, and also about sophisticated skill training and entrepreneurship development, geared to making large profits. Sustainable development has also been mentioned. But we have not talked about the downtrodden at all. In the context of sustainable development, one key element is: nobody is to be left out, everybody has to be included. Indeed, the society cannot go forward sustainably, leaving any segment of population, even an individual, behind. And my understanding is that in India, depending on the poverty lines used, 25-30 percent of the total population is still poor. In Bangladesh, the proportion is about the same. But in terms of numbers, the poor account for 40-45 million in Bangladesh and here, in India, it may be 250 million plus, perhaps 300 million or more people who are poor. So we have to think about poverty eradication if we are talking about sustainable development or just sustainable education. And we’ve heard Professor Samdani say that basic education is included in SDG4 which is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals; and basic education is surely for everybody. However, we don’t have to talk about the basic education of our children, i.e. children of those of us who are here in this room and others like us or more accomplished than us, because we are very aware of that and we make sure that our children get the best possible education. But it is the children of the poor, who do not have the resources and do not have access to good, even any educational institutions, should be a critical focus. They are an integral part of sustainable development paradigm. We do a little bit of that at Dhaka School of Economics. It is a post-graduate institute mostly, although we have also recently started an undergraduate programme. We facilitate economically less fortunate students to study at the School. One of the major programmes we teach is environmental and resource economics, and environment is one of the pillars of sustainable development.
Sustainable development, all of you may be aware, is socially acceptable, environmentally sound economic growth. In other words, it has three pillars: economic, social, and environmental. If you look at the definition given in the Agenda 21 adopted in 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, sustainable development has been defined with reference to economic development, social development, and environmental protection with the human being placed at the centre of the process. And that has been repeated in the outcome document, The Futurre We Want, of the 2012 Rio+20 conference. This time, the definition starts with the human being. In Rio 1992, it was economic, social, and environmental concerns and then the human being; and, in 2012 Rio+20, it is said that all development is for the human beings, which consists of an integrated economic, social, and environmental progress.
We are now aware of the mind-boggling inequalities in the world a lot more than before. There is a study (2016) by Oxfam that has found that the richest 1% of the world population owns half the world’s wealth, and the other 99% owns the other half. This is not a sustainable world. I think it is the inequality that is at the heart of unsustainability. From education to economic to social development to political participation, everywhere there is inequality. And that’s social exclusion. In fact, inequality in education sustains the other inequalities. I think it’s time we focus on inclusiveness. When we consider skill training, employment generation, enterprise and entrepreneurship development, we should include all segments of society having regard to their differential circumstances and views. I do.
I know that economic growth is essential, but it is not enough for sustainable development. And we have to get out of the fold of neo-classical economics which is focused on profit for the producers and satisfaction for the consumers, with everybody making decisions rationally. That’s the essence of neo-classical economics. Rationality can be taken to any extent in relation to self interest. But such thoughts as I don’t recognize anybody else’s interests and rights, I only want MY rights and progress can’t be humanly rational. If we pursue such thoughts and actions, we are acting against social cohesion and peaceful social progress; and that is what is happening around the world. We now have the neo-classical economic paradigm ruling around the world, where everybody pursues their own purposes regardless of what happens to anybody else. And that’s why the world is now what it is—sharply divided in terms of social, economic, and political participation across and within countries. This is basically true in India and in Bangladesh and all over the world.
We talk a lot about poverty reduction; and there are many programmes in Bangladesh, in India, and in other countries focused on the poor. But, these programmes don’t go far in terms of sustainable removal of poverty. These anti-poverty efforts are often undermined by the powerful and selfish interests.
That is basically the framework that prevails. The social formation or the class formation remains highly stratified.
The prevailing sharp contradiction between the rich and the downtrodden (the under-classes) is, to me, the crux of the matter from the point of view of sustainable development. Neo-classicism has led to neo-liberalism in terms of attitude, prescriptions, and actions. That’s the perspective that rules today. And it causes and enhances disparity and perpetuates and sharpens socio-economic and power distinctions.
In this context, please recall something I have said earlier that as human beings we are all equal and nobody has any right to undermine anybody else’s rights and interests. But, what is going on is contrary to this inherent demand of humanity. Also, Professor Ratnalekar has said in so many words that we’re not supposed to do certain things, which harms and hurts others.
Let me now come back to the issue of sustainable development: Here, two of the slogans, shown in the documents you have distributed, I like very much. One is ‘Educate, Empower, Elevate’. The other is ‘Educate, Empower and Employ’. Thus, you educate and train people to empower them. Very good first step. But empowerment is not only education and training, it also depends on health services. We, who are present here in this room and people like us and those who are in stronger socio-economic or political positions, can access health services as required, but there are people, particularly the downtrodden, who cannot; and therefore facilitation of health services for them is important, along with education and skill training. Education, skill training, and health services including access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation lead to genuine empowerment of the people concerned. Empowered, they are ready to achieve and move forward. Now, when they are empowered, they may be expected to find jobs, but in many cases they can’t. And many may not wish to work for others. These people have to be assisted to set up enterprises to create their own jobs. The PKSF now assists people of little means, by providing credit, supporting access to technology and market information and marketing assistance, to set up enterprises at scales that they can manage properly.
While introducing me, Professor Bholanath Dutta mentioned micro-credit. It is now known, through authentic research activities, that microcredit is of little avail in the context of poverty removal. Indeed, PKSF was a microcredit organization when (November 2009) I took over as its Chairman. It provided money to the partner organizations (POs)—carefully selected well-run NGOs; and they extended microcredit to poor and even non-poor people on an annual basis, and collected it in weekly installments with interest during the relevant year. It was not much of a consideration as to what was happening to the people who took microcredit. The main consideration was whether the money could be collected back. But, in the Memorandum of Association (MoA) of the PKSF, which is a Government established Foundation, microcredit is not even mentioned. The purposes of PKSF as mentioned in its MoA are education, health services, skill training, employment creation, livelihood improvement, and credit—not microcredit. Credit does not mean microcredit, it can mean any amount of credit. Now, we call it appropriate credit and it goes up to Taka 10 lakh, the equivalent of about US$12,800. The amount given to a household depends on what it wants and can do. The credit is now given for up to two years or even longer periods. The repayment is monthly, three monthly, or, in the case of agriculture, after the harvest. In fact, the repayment schedule is determined in consultation with the particular borrowers. We have also changed the approach from project approach or credit approach to human being-centered development. So all our programmes are developed taking into account the circumstances of the people, their interests and expectations, their understanding of how they want to go forward, and so on.
Also, credit is now given as one service in a package of services which also include skill training, assistance in accessing necessary technology and market information, and marketing assistance. This package, it has been seen, tremendously improves the ability of the people to succeed and our experience is that they usually move forward and soon get out of poverty and move on to beyond poverty sustainable socio-economic progress.
The PKSF is, thus, solidly contributing to poverty eradication and sustainable development. One of the key elements in the changed PKSF approach is to help empower the downtrodden to enable them to take control of their own destiny. The basic idea is to focus on the human being and empower them through education, skill training, and health services along with assurance of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. And I have mentioned before that when somebody is empowered, they may find wage or salaried employment or establish their own businesses.
In the second case, they need a few other things, which should be provided. Some of those (training, technology, market information and marketing assistance, and finance) I have already mentioned. But, for a solid base for them to build their forward movement on, there are some other things they are best helped to gain access to. One such factor is social capital. Going alone is very difficult. Hence, we first try to ensure social capital formation within the family. In the existing practice, there is usually a lack of coordination of family efforts. ‘The head of the family knows best’ is the guiding principle. Others, particularly women, have little or no say. So, we try to make sure that all members of the family come together. Within the framework of the multidimensional, integrated, human-centred approach, the ENRICH (Enhancing resources and capacities of households for the eradication of their poverty), the PKSF and PO officials sit down with all the members of each downtrodden family in ENRICH areas to prepare a family development plan for the family. The family is then assisted on that basis towards eradication of their poverty and beyond poverty sustainable progress. All members of the family contribute to the process in an integrated fashion. The PKSF stands beside them and help them move forward on the basis of that plan, which is adjustable on the basis of experiences gathered along the way. So, social capital formation in this approach starts with the family or household. At the community level, we focus on each ward of an ENRICH union—usually there are 8 wards in a union. In a ward, there are about 30,000 people. An ENRICH Centre is established in each ward, where people of the particular ward come to socialize, discuss issues, take decisions regarding community level issues, and take possible actions to address them.
The PKSF also tries to work in close cooperation with other institutions and service providers, both government and non-government, working in the area. Resources are limited and available resources from different sources should go further as a result of working together like this. Indeed, social capital is extremely important. Social capital can be more important under certain circumstances than other forms of capital. In addition, there are few other things that they need to have access to, so that they can go forward solidly. Finance through appropriate credit arrangement, I have mentioned earlier, but the financial service of insurance, which ensures that they have something to fall back on if a disaster (e.g. flood, cyclone) strikes, is another service they need.
Their socio-economic situation plunges when such an event strikes and without insurance they find themselves in economic quagmire. Recovery and rehabilitation become a nightmare. But, on grassroots level insurance, not much progress has been achieved yet in Bangladesh. There are administrative and legal issues. But, there are efforts to resolve them so that insurance (livestock, crop, health, etc.) can be provided at the grassroots level. Our pilot activities show strong prospects.
At the same time,it is necessary to arrange for the people concerned necessary skill training, which MTC Global is doing for higher levels of skills. Skill training can be at various levels, from rudimentary to a very high level, involving modern technology, depending on who the trainees are. Training on ICT, for example, can be from low to mid or high level. The PKSF starts with the lower level skill training for the downtrodden, often with little or no basic education; and as they go on, their skills are upgraded, as appropriate. Then their access to technology needs to be ensured and the PKSF facilitates their access to appropriate technologies. They are also supported, as I have indicated before, to gain access to market information and assisted in the marketing of their outputs. Armed with this support package, they turn around quickly. As they go forward, they can borrow up to Taka 10 lakh from the PKSF sources if they have an appropriate project, along with other services as appropriate. But, our experience is that people usually borrow Taka 3 to 5 lakh at a time. With such an amount, they can set up their own businesses and, in 3 to 4 years, by using the borrowed money and some of the profits generated and other services received, they can and usually do achieve a level of living which is humanly dignified.
Our long term goal is for everybody to enjoy universal human rights and live with human dignity. So, we are trying to stand by the downtrodden and help them to move towards that goal. There is much more, in this context, in the approach followed by the PKSF that I can talk about. But, given time constraint, let me finish as quickly as I can; Let me just say that it is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary approach. Human living is multidimensional. It’s not only economic. So we bring in all the dimensions into the programme, which include various social, economic, cultural, and political aspects as well as climate change issues. To address all these aspects, a multidisciplinary approach is followed. People from various disciplines are needed. So we bring them all together. Our focus is on the individual, on the household, and then on the neighbouring areas. The area we now focus on is the union—the lowest administrative unit in Bangladesh,where, on average, about 3 lakh people live. Once the union is selected, all the households therein are surveyed and then, using a set criteria, the downtrodden are identified, who have turned out to make up 50-60% of the total households of an average union, considering the 153 unions in which the ENRICH is currently being implemented. But health and education are provided to all the households in a union, while economic and financial and other services are provided to the downtrodden in addition to education and health services. The total population is 4.5 million in the 153 unions. Internal and external evaluations show that the approach and action programmes work effectively and the people are moving forward satisfactorily. We are under tremendous pressure for extending the ENRICH programme to other areas of the country, but the resources at hand, as of now, do not permit large-scale expansion. However, we have initiated the process of expanding the ENRICH programme to cover other areas to a limited extent.
The ENRICH in fact addresses all important aspects of people’s living. It’s not a project for a few years. We have replaced the project approach by human-being centered approach. A project is for 3 or 5 years. A project is implemented as designed to generate a certain internal rate of return. If that is achieved, it’s fine. Money has been well spent. Usually, it is not investigated as to what happens on the ground, i.e. how have the targeted people fared. If the allocated money has been spent and the target rate of return has been achieved, the project is successful, highly successful. But, the missing link, not usually evaluated is whether or not the targeted people have overcome poverty sustainably and moved on to a sustainable pathway of progress. A project finishes after 3/4/5 years and the project implementers go away. Unsupported, the people go back again. They relapse. That’s the usual picture. We have changed it. Not only that we focus on the human being but also we stay by the side of the people for as long as necessary for them to be on a sustainable development pathway. It’s a programme approach, not a project approach. When, as is the PKSF’s, the purpose is to work with the downtrodden to help them get out of poverty and, then, improve their living conditions on a sustainable basis, we believe the just outlined approach is the right way to go.
We do not need to be concerned about those young people who are fortunate in having parents, who are rich or highly educated or high government officials or high private sector functionaries. They can take care of themselves. What is necessary is that there must be high quality institutions for education, health, and other services and they will usually take advantage of those. However, in their case, there is a possibility that some of the young people may degenerate into drug addiction and may take up anti-social activities. I know one young man, who argued: “My father is rich so I don’t have to work. I shall own all the money when my father will die and I can then spend it anyway I like. It’s mine! And therefore I start spending it now. I don’t have to study, I don’t have to work hard the way my father did. Everything is fine for me.”He, in fact, degenerated into a chaotic life. Also, these days, we see young people getting into such social evils as drug addiction, tobacco addiction and teasing of girls. They so degenerate regardless of their educational backgrounds—general, technical, and highly respectable educational institutions. As parents are too busy making more and more money for themselves or for their children or in climbing more and more social or power related ladders. They have no time for their children. Their children, therefore, are neglected. While these children are provided with all amenities and facilities and private tuition arrangements, they receive little or no parental care and supervision. Social cohesion formation within the family is not given necessary importance. The children, therefore, do whatever they think best. Through Facebook, they make friends; and all these facebook friends are not good or of noble pursuits. There are those who are ill-motivated and of evil pursuits, who may seek to influence them to follow what they are doing. Frustrated some of these young people become easy prey to persuasion by those evil friends and recruitment by terrorist godfathers for terrorist activities. This is happening in Bangladesh, we have seen, regardless of the educational background of the young people. In Bangladesh, it was generally believed earlier, and I also believed, that terrorists usually come from among the students of Madrassas. Now, we find it’s not true.
This process has to be stopped and the young people likely to degenerate should be rescued and those who have already degenerated should be found and rehabilitated. The parents, teachers, the government, and civil society, all have roles to play in this context. Efforts are afoot by the Government and other institutions/networks in Bangladesh trying to impress upon the parents that they should take care of their children.It may be mentioned that the policy of the Government of Bangladesh on terrorism is one of zero tolerance and has been very successful containing the menace.
Also, poverty is another reason behind terrorism. The global terrorism has emerged as a major threat because many people in certain parts of the world have been done serious wrong to. Those who have been wronged—economically exploited, politically subjugated, militarily tortured and suppressed—have been devastated. With their back against the wall, they found that they had no future so that they, it appears,decided that they have to do something, however dangerous that may be for themselves. So they are doing, what they can—mounting terrorist attacks on chosen targets. It’s a response to the injusticesdone to them. Indeed, injustices cannot be sustained over a long term. Justice must replace injustice while time remains, otherwise there can be much more dangerous reaction (terrorism) than as at present. Indeed, perpetuated injustices will give rise to situations that no one may be able to manage. A huge threat to humanity.
There are at least two other menacing threats to humanity. One is climate change which has been caused by unprecedented destruction of the global natural wealth and emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The other is the nuclear threat. In the case of nuclear threat, these days there are some people in charge of nuclear arsenals, who are unpredictable to say the least. So one doesn’t know what might happen to the world.
A nuclear war can destroy the whole world but that will not, I expect, happen. On the other hand, climate change is occurring and worsening fast. On both counts, we, academics, may play a role, particularly in terms of contributing to national and international opinion formation against the former and for individual country and globally collective action to be taken to bring global climate change under control and for international cooperation in minimizing risks of and adaptation to climate change impacts. In relation to combating terrorism also, we can play a useful role in mobilizing public opinion and for the governments and other actors concerned to act decisively and fast, from their own vantage points and collectively by all actors within countries as well as regionally and globally.
Finally, let me conclude by saying that whatever responsibilities we have to carry out, we must concentrate on them, perform honestly and try to achieve the goals set; but we must, at the same time, work towards ensuring equitable and sustainable improvement in the circumstances of those who are now left behind for them to enjoy universal human rights and live in humanly dignified fashion. Sustainable development, I repeat,is not achieved if anybody is left behind. Thank you all very much.
Speakers stress the need for inclusive development of the marginalized people at PKSF discussion program with UP Chairmen of ENRICH Unions
A daylong discussion program was held to exchange views with the Chairmen of 200 Unions where Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is implementing its flagship program ‘Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of Poor Households towards Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH)’. Social Welfare Minister Mr Rashed Khan Menon, MP, was the Chief Guest of the closing session of the program held at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka while Mr Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, was the Special Guest. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the event and Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome remarks.
The Social Welfare Minister said that the government is working relentlessly for the welfare of the marginalized people. A proposal has been made to increase safety net allowances, including those of the elderly and widows, by 10 percent and an initiative has been taken to introduce widow allowance in the urban areas. Mr Rashed Khan Menon praised ENRICH’s role in sustainable poverty alleviation and establishing human dignity. “Although many would disagree, I think there is no conflict between ‘rights’ and ‘development’ and PKSF’s ENRICH program is a perfect example of that.”
Terming poverty reduction as one of the greatest achievements of Bangladesh in recent times, State Minister Mr Shahriar Alam said there still are 11-12 percent ultra-poor people in the country and the government, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, is determined to bring down this rate close to zero. He expressed his hope that PKSF and its Partner Organizations would play an important role in this journey.
Eminent economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, also the Chairman of PKSF, said all the activities under ENRICH have been designed in light of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of Bangladesh, and the Vision 2021, all of which attach special emphasis to removing inequality, deprivation and poverty from the country and establishing human dignity for all. PKSF will play a vital role in the government’s strive for sustainable development in Bangladesh, added Dr QK Ahmad. “The goal is common – to eliminate poverty from the country forever, and to establish Bangladesh in a more dignified position in the world.”
In the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim said PKSF has stepped beyond the limited scope of microcredit and now ensures appropriate financing, necessary training, and technological and marketing support in all its programs. Describing ENRICH as a groundbreaking model of poverty alleviation and beyond-poverty sustainable development, the former Principal Secretary also said the program is implementing a range of activities to ensure financial and social inclusion of the marginalized people, and to establish human dignity for all.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Administration) of PKSF, gave the vote of thanks to end the program. He expressed his hope that PKSF will continue to receive all necessary cooperation from the government’s central level to the grassroots in implementing its programs including ENRICH.
Earlier on the day, PKSF Chairman and high officials exchanged views with the Chairmen of 200 Unions under ENRICH coverage and Executive Directors of 116 Partner Organizations that are implementing the PKSF flagship program. In this session, Dr Md Jashim Uddin, DMD of PKSF, gave a presentation titled ‘ENRICH Program: Achievement and Experience’.
Since 2010, PKSF has been implementing the ENRICH program, a brainchild of Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, for the inclusive human-centric development of the poor. Currently, the program is being implemented in 200 Unions of 64 districts.
PKSF signs agreement with Concord Engineers and Construction Ltd. for construction of ‘PKSF Display & Sales Centre
PKSF signs agreement with Concord Engineers and Construction Ltd. for construction of ‘PKSF Display & Sales Centre’
With a view to creating opportunities for promotion and marketing of products produced by entrepreneurs, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has taken an initiative to construct a 13-storey “PKSF Display & Sales Centre” on its own land in Shyamoli at the heart of the capital.
On 4 February 2018, PKSF Deputy Managing Director (Administration) Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin and the Managing Director of Concord Engineers and Construction Ltd, Mr. Shahriar Kamal, signed the agreement for construction of the building on behalf of their respective organizations. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, and other senior officials of PKSF and Concord Engineers and Construction Ltd. were present at the agreement signing ceremony held at PKSF Bhaban in Agargaon, Dhaka.
The Bureau of Research Testing and Consultation of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) will supervise the construction works in the capacity of consultants.
The foundation stone of the building was laid on 25 March 2017 by the Chairman of PKSF, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad.
HE Dieudonne Kalombo Nkole Badibanga, Principal Adviser to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), called on PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad on 7 December 2017.
PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) Mr Md. Fazlul Kader and other top officials were present during the meeting held at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka.
Mr Badibanga is in Bangladesh on an official visit to participate in the Ministerial Conference of Digital World 2017 taking place in Dhaka.
During the meeting, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad apprised the Congolese envoy for picking PKSF’s decades-long experiences in designing and implementing programmes and projects for poverty alleviation, access to fund and financial inclusion, skills and capacity building towards self and paid employment, and beyond-poverty development.
Mr Badibanga highly praised PKSF’s role in accelerating sustainable human development in Bangladesh, and said that the DRC Government had started formulating a national strategy for skills and enterprise development in the country with a view to strengthening the public-private partnership-led initiatives for sustainable growth. The DRC could use PKSF’s knowledge, experiences and capacities in its strive for achieving the overall development goals, the Congolese envoy observed.
Mr Nazir Alam, Honorary Consul of DRC in Dhaka, Bangladesh (proposed), was also present during the meeting.
PKSF on 26 November 2017 organised a workshop titled “People’s Voice: Strengthening implementation of SDGs-2030 in Bangladesh” with a view to helping strengthen accelerate effective realisation of the UN-sponsored Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Mr Rashed Khan Menon, MP, graced the closing ceremony of the workshop held at PKSF Bhaban as the chief guest while Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, and Mr Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary of Financial Institutions Division (FID) under the Ministry of Finance were the special guests. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the ceremony and Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim delivered the welcome address.
The Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister highly praised PKSF activities in sustainable poverty alleviation and beyond-poverty development. “All sorts of development have to be human-centred … and people of all levels, including the grassroots, should be included in the process,” Mr Rashed Khan Menon said, adding that PKSF will hopefully continue to play an effective role in helping the country achieve the SDGs within the 2030 deadline.
Senior Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan said Bangladesh might have to face some challenges in order to continue the current pace of development. “We however hopefully will overcome all the obstacles to realising the SDGs like we did in case of the Millennium Development Goals.”
The range of PKSF’s operations is so vast that its activities touch upon all the SDGs in one way or another, commented Additional Secretary Mr Arijit Chowdhury. He expressed his hope that PKSF would further strengthen its activities and help Bangladesh steer towards realising the SDGs.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad referred to the Declaration of Independence, and said, “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for liberation of people from economic deprivation, from inequity, from discrimination and from poverty. It is that vision that PKSF is relentlessly working to realise.”
In the welcome speech, Mr Md Abdul Karim highlighted how PKSF’s activities evolved from only microcredit to holistic development services. “Human dignity for all — this is the philosophy that drives PKSF activities as a whole.”
At the beginning of the workshop, two group discussion moots on Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), and Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) took place. Executive Director Mr Mohsin Ali of WAVE Foundation and SMA Rashid, Executive Director of NGO Forum for Public Health presented on the key outcomes of the discussions. High officials from govt and non-govt agencies, development thinkers, PKSF staff and representatives of its Partner Organisations attended the daylong workshop.
IRONMAN Title winner Arafat made Goodwill Ambassador of PKSF’s Cultural and Sports Program
Mohammad Samsuzzaman Arafat, a Bangladeshi IRONMAN title holder was accorded with a grand reception on 19 November 2017 at Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). In the event, he was made the Goodwill Ambassador of PKSF’s Cultural and Sports Program.
The Chairman of PKSF, Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, handed over a Crest and a sponsorship check of BDT one lakh to Mohammad Shamsuzzaman Arafat. The Managing Director of PKSF Mr Md Abdul Karim, three Deputy Managing Directors and other Senior Officials of PKSF were present in the reception ceremony.
At the outset of reception, Mr Arafat shared his experience gained in the IRONMAN contest, and specially thanked PKSF for patronizing him in this competition. The iconic IRONMAN is the largest participation sports platform which is organized by World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). This competition was to be completed within 17 hours, starting with a 3.8 kilometer swim. As soon as the swimming was completed, every participant had to ride bicycle through a distance of 180km followed by a full marathon race of 42.2 km. Mr Arafat took only 12:43:28 hours to finish the whole Triathlon.
Mr Arafat, a graduate from the University of Dhaka, had crossed the Bangla Channel thrice and went along a total of 1004 kilometer running from Teknaf to Tetulia under the banner of “The Great Bangladesh Run” with an aim to make Bangladesh a sporty nation. Social Service Officer, Mr Arafat, represented Bangladesh for the first time in the IRONMAN competition held in Langkawi, Malaysia on 11 November 2017.
Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Program) of PKSF spoke about the Cultural and Sports Program of PKSF at the ceremony and how the Program of PKSF encouraged such feats. Earlier on 2 November 2017 the Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad handed over the national flag of Bangladesh to Mr Arafat before he flew off to Malaysia to participate in the competition.
PKSF Development Fair 2017 held
Amid festivity and enthusiasm, the PKSF Development Fair-2017 was held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka from October 29 to November 03, 2017. Hon’ble Finance Minister Mr Abul Maal Abdul Muhith graced the fair as the Chief Guest and inaugurated the six-day mega event while Hon’ble Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury was present as the Special Guest on the occasion.
A total of 89 organisations showcased in 133 stalls a range of products manufactured or processed by the grassroots participants of different PKSF programmes implemented in the field-level by different NGOs, officially termed as Partner Organisations (POs). Also, some Government Agencies, Research Institutions and Non-POs took part in this usually biennial event.
Alongside the usual fair activities, five seminars on issues related to the development aspects of Bangladesh and PKSF were held. Cabinet Members, Government and Non-Government Officials, Development Thinkers and Eminent Academics, among others, participated in the seminars.
An exclusive part of the fair was the Book launching ceremony where three book authored by the Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad were unveiled. Hon’ble Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and the event was chaired by PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim. The titles of the books are: Sustainable Development and All That; Environment, Climate Change and Water Resources; and নানা সংকট একই দিশা (a collection of Bengali articles penned by Dr Ahmad).
The fair continued form 10am to 8:30pm had colourful cultural performances every day. Nationally acclaimed singers as well as local performers from different regions of the country participated in the cultural events.
The curtain dropped on the most successful of the five such fairs so far on November 03, 2017 through a closing ceremony chaired by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. HE Mr Tran Van Khoa, the Vietnam Ambassador to Bangladesh, was present as the Special Guest andMr Md Abdul Karim, the PKSF Managing Director, delivered the welcome speech.
At the closing ceremony, PKSF awarded three POs in the ‘Best Stall’ category. Basak tea, Cheowa Shutkee (one kind of dried fish) and sweet chilli were recognised as the most promising products displayed at the fair. Also, certificates and crests of special appreciation were given to the Centre for Education and Community Development (CECD) of Vietnam, and the Government Agencies and Non-POs that showcased their products at the fair.
PKSF Development Fair Kicks Off
The PKSF Development Fair 2017 has begun at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city from October 29, 2017. The aim of the fair is to exhibit the products of PKSF programme participants with a view to pulling them out of poverty.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith was present as the chief guest in the inaugural ceremony of the six-day fair. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury was present as special guest.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman, PKSF, chaired the opening ceremony and delivered the welcome speech while Mr. Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF gave the concluding speech.
In his speech, the finance minister said that Bangladesh will be a poverty-free country by 2024 if the current pace of development continues. He said currently 22 percent of the population live below the poverty line, which is quite unsatisfactory.
The finance minister said that about 60-70 percent areas of the country are developed and there is no difference between villages and cities. People have equal access to education, health, electricity and transportation around the country, he said. Mr. Muhith said the government has taken various measures to eradicate poverty and the PKSF is working as a helping hand by implementing the initiatives.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury appreciated the efforts of PKSF for diversifying their activities in health and education beyond microcredit. “The government has achieved more than its target in poverty eradication and child death prevention and the PKSF has played a vital role”, she said
Matia Chowdhury highlighted different development activities of the present government and said the country is achieving remarkable success because of the Prime Minister’s bold leadership and well-thought planning.
In the opening ceremony, Mr. Abul Hasib Khan, Director, Resource Integration Centre ( RIC), and Mr. Fakir Abdul Jabbar, Founder Executive Director of Kormajibi kallyan Sangstha (KKS), were awarded for their outstanding contribution to establish human dignity, poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Besides, programme participants of ENRICH, Uplifting the Quality of Lives of Elderly People, Sports and Cultural programmes shared their experiences in the opening ceremony.
A seminar on ” human -Centered Sustainable Development” was held in the noon at the same venue. Presided over by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman, PKSF, Mr. M.A Mannan, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning was present as chief guest. Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance was present as special guest.
Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF presented the keynote paper in the seminar. Dr. Dr. M.A. Baki Khalili, former professor of University of Dhaka and Dr. Md. Shahid Uz Zaman, Executive Director, Eco Social Development Organization ( ESDO) discussed in the seminar.
In the evening, there was an arrangement of colorful cultural show where performers of IDF and ESDO performed different traditional cultural events. Dinat Jahan Munni and Badsha Bulbul, two poepualr singers of the country also performed on the occasion.
Discussion Meeting Held on the International Day for Older Persons
To mark the International Day for Older Persons-2017, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and Forum of the Rights of the Elderly, Bangladesh (FREB) jointly organized a discussion in PKSF Bhabanon 14 October 2017. MrAsaduzzaman Khan, MP, Hon’ble Minister for Home Affairs was the chief guest at the programme chaired PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad.
In his speech, the Home Minister said the elders are never a burden. They can pass their knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations so that the latter can take the country forward. Mr Asaduzzaman Khan also highlighted different pro-elderly measures of the government.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that social values in the country are waning. But it is possible to turn things around through proper education. He also mentioned the programmes taken by the PKSF for the welfare of the elderly. “No one should be left behind — that’s the essence of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, calling for united moves to ensure human dignity for all.
PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim and FREB Vice President Maj Gen (Retd) Mr Jibon Kanai Das gave the welcome speeches.
Mr Kazi Reazul Haque, Chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh; Advocate Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia, MP; and Mr. Golam Sarwar, Editor of the Daily Samakal were the Guests of Honor.
PKSF gets Green Climate Fund accreditation
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has been accredited as the National Implementing Entity (NIE) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF approved the accreditationin its 18th Board meeting held in Cairo, Egypt, on 2 October 2017.
With this, PKSF joins the elite club of 59 globally reputed organisations/institutions, including UNDP, the World Bank, ADB and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which are accredited with the GCF.
The GCF is a financial mechanism set up by the 194 countries that are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It aims to deliver funding to mitigation and adaptation to ensure climate-resilient development in the countries affected by or vulnerable to climate change.
As the NIE of the GCF, PKSF will now carry out a range of activities that may include developing and submitting funding proposals for, and overseeing the management and implementation of projects and programmes; deploying a range of financial instruments within its capacities (grants, loans, equity, and guarantees); and mobilising private sector capital.
PKSF Signed MoM with JICA
On September 20, 2017 Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has signed a Minutes of Meeting (MoM) including Draft Record of Discussions with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This is to extend cooperation for “Developing Inclusive Risk Mitigation Program for Sustainable Poverty Reduction” project in Bangladesh.
The documents are signed by Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF and Mr. Kazuto Tsuji, Team Leader, Detailed Planning Survey, JICA. Mr. Oishi Kohei, Deputy Assistant Director; Mr. Daichi Hirose, Access Advisory Japan from JICA and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director and other officials of PKSF were also present on that occasion.
Seminar held on role of fisheries and livestock sector in sustainable development
In order to accelerate sustainable development by ensuring food and nutrition security for an ever-growing population, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 17 August 2017 organised a seminar titled ‘Fisheries and Livestock Sector in Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development.
Mr Narayan Chandra Chanda, Hon’ble State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, graced the seminar — held at PKSF Bhaban — as the chief guest while Dr Md Nazrul Anwar, Additional Secretary (Fisheries) to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, was the special guest. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the event.
Hon’ble State Minister Narayan Chandra Chanda, in his speech, highlighted different steps the government has taken accelerate development in the fisheries and livestock sector of the country. “But the government efforts alone cannot be enough in achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
He lauded different innovating interventions PKSF is making at the grassroots level, and urged it to come up with activities tailored to help micro-entrepreneurs sustain against big companies that are investing in fisheries and livestock sector in Bangladesh. “The government will provide necessary assistance if needed.”
Terming fisheries and livestock as a key sector in rural economy, Special Guest Additional Secretary Dr Md Nazrul Anwar said what PKSF is doing in this regard is highly praiseworthy. “If PKSF needs any assistance, we will be happy to help,” he added.
PKSF Chairman Dr QK Ahmad stressed the need for investing more in the sector. “Microcredit cannot be the answer to sustainable development. Hence, we are giving appropriate loans and continually increasing allocation for fisheries and livestock-related activities.”
“Leave no one behind — this is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goals. And we are making all efforts to ensure that our interventions reach all the disadvantaged groups in every corner of the country,” added the renowned economist.
Earlier, in the welcome speech, Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, highlighted how the PKSF is taking a holistic approach to address the multidimensionality of poverty. “We are diversifying our activities to the needs of the people. With this in view, our Fisheries and Livestock Unit and the Learning and Innovation Fund (LIFT) programme are working relentlessly at the grassroots.”
Deputy Managing Director (Administration) Dr Md Jashim Uddin then gave a presentation titled ‘Role of Livestock and Fisheries Sector in Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development: Efforts of PKSF’. He made an in-depth analysis of the country’s food and nutrition security status at the moment, the challenges in the days to come and what PKSF is doing to help people cope with their food and nutrition needs as well as their strive against poverty.
At the event, five micro-entrepreneurs narrated their stories of success in defeating poverty with financial and technical assistance from PKSF.
Top officials of different government agencies concerned, PKSF officials, Executive Directors of PKSF’ Partner Organisations and representatives of different development organisations attended the seminar.
MoU signed between PKSF and ERF
On the sideline of the seminar, PKSF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) of Bangladesh. Deputy Managing Director (Administration) Dr Md Jashim Uddin of PKSF and ERF General Secretary Mr Ziaur Rahman signed the MoU under which nine journalists — three each from electronic, print and online media — will receive ‘PKSF-ERF Award’ every year for outstanding reports on development activities. Also, PKSF will make arrangements for two ERF members to study Diploma in Economics at Dhaka School of Economics each year.
ERF President Saif Islam Dilal said this cooperation will usher in a new era in development journalism in Bangladesh.
Meeting held on bettering desalination plant services
The top officials of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on 24 July 2017 met representatives from 12 NGOs — officially termed as Partner Organisations (POs) — that are operating desalination plants installed in different salinity-hit coastal areas of Bangladesh under the PKSF’s ‘Learning and Innovation Fund to Test New Ideas (LIFT)’ programme.
Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Administration) of the PKSF, chaired the meeting held at PKSF Bhaban in Agargaon, Dhaka.
A range of issues including safe water supply situation in the target locations, rationalizing desalination plant technology, operational management and sustainability were discussed in the meeting.
The executive directors of different POs and their representatives highlighted the massive response of the people who avail services from the desalination plants run by his organization. “People are highly appreciative of the low-cost services we provide. Sometimes, our plants are operated at capacity to meet the demand,” said one of them.
They, however, stressed the need for providing training to the plant operators so that they can fix minor technical glitches without wasting time for bringing technicians from as far as Dhaka.
The coastal people are increasingly leaning towards using desalinated water instead of rainwater or water from other surface sources, said another PO representative. “They have understood the health benefits of desalinated water. However, more extensive Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) activities are needed to ensure wider coverage.”
One of the PO representatives spoke on the challenges regarding improvement of distribution channels, and ensuring sustainability of the interventions by building community ownership.
Guest of Honour at the meeting, Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, executive director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM), lauded the NGOs for their activities. “You are doing a noble job by providing safe water to the salinity-afflicted coastal people.”
The InM is currently conducting a study titled ‘Innovative Solutions to Sustaining Access to Safe Drinking Water’, for which they will survey the desalination plants installed by the PKSF. Dr Mujeri also discussed about different aspects of the study with the PO representatives.
Highlighting the PKSF’s strive to serve the distressed, the underprivileged and the extreme poor of the country, Dr Md Jashim Uddin urged the POs to ensure that the safe water interventions made by the PKSF operate not for profit, but to serve those in need.
“Ensure quality service and transparency. Be more proactive in dispelling any confusion or misunderstanding that may arise among people over any aspect of our services. The PKSF is committed to serving the poor and will extend all possible help to ensure uninterrupted supply of safe water to a wider number of people of the salinity-affected areas.”
AQM Golam Mawla and Dr Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury, both general managers (programme), and other PKSF officials concerned were present at the meeting.
The PKSF has so far installed 51 desalination plants, 20 of them under the LIFT programme, in the coastal areas where climate change-induced salinity ingress has created an acute dearth of freshwater. The water from the plants are sold at a minimum service charge, usually ranging between Tk 0.10 and Tk 0.50 per litre, to cover the operational cost only. However, the extreme poor and physically incapacitated people are provided the desalinated water free of cost.
Workshop on Field Level Implementing Strategies of Cultural and Sports Programme
A workshop on Field Level Implementing Strategies of Cultural and Sports Programme was held on July 24, 2017 at PKSF Bhaban. A total of 110 Focal Person and Programme Organisers of 60 Partner Organisations were present in the day-long workshop.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the honorable Chairman of Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation, Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, honorable Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) were present at the inaugural session of the workshop. The honourable guests discussed the background and perspective of the Cultural and Sports Programme. They welcome the workshop participants and gave necessary guidance to them.
In his speech, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that culture is a part of development. What we do, what we practices and our movements, all are the part of our culture. “Sports have a joy, it teaches discipline. A child, a teenager who exercisecultural and sports activities will neverinvolve in any illegal activity”, Dr. Ahmad added.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim said that to establish a poverty-free society, our youth need to be healthy and cultured. “Sports and cultural are essential to practice the artistic bent of mind.Mr. Abdul Karim said that implementation of this programme does not require a lot of money, but its impacts are far more and far-reaching.
Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader said that sports and cultural practices create a positive attitude towards the people. As a result, people learn to turn around. It’scall sportsman spirit”. We have to awaken the sportsman spirit toour youth. He said the children want heroes. If we fail to present a good hero before them, they will choose a terrified hero.
Mr. Abul Hasan Md. Abdul Qaiyum, Deputy General Manager (Programme), PKSF gave a presentation and discussed on strategies for Cultural and Sports Programme at the field level. The respective officials gave chapter wise presentation on the ‘Guideline to Implement the Cultural and Sports Programme’. There was a separate presentation from PKSF Audit Division, where the participants were briefed about budget preparation and re-imbursement.
In the workshop, the relevant Focal Person and Programme Organisers of three PO as IDF, ESDO and SKS Foundation shared their field level experiences.
Workshop on Field Level Implementing Strategies of Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme
A workshop on Field Level Implementing Strategies of Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme was held on July 23, 2017 at PKSF Bhaban. A total of 120 Focal Person and ProgrammeOrganisers of 52 Partner Organisations were present in the day-long workshop.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the honorable Chairman of Palli Karma- SahayakFoundation, Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, honorable Managing Director of PKSF and Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) were present at the inaugural session of the workshop. The honourable guests discussed the background and perspective of the Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme. They welcome the workshop participants and gave necessary guidance to them.
In his speech Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that in order to establish human dignity it is important to manifest the thoughts of grassroot people andrecognise theirinnovations. He said that in old age, people become ineligible in many ways. “These neglected, destitute elderly peopleshould not rehabilitate in old home rather they should be served at their own homes”.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim in his speech emphasised the importance of inclusive development in sustainable poverty reduction. Referring the necessity of the workshop heasked the participants to contributethe workshop effectively. Mr. Abdul Karim also urged the focal person and programmeorganisers of the respective partner organisationsto be the pioneer in uplifting the lives of the elderly people by implementing the programme at field level successfully.
Mr. Md. FazlulKader said that like the dispersion of lights during the sunset, elderly people enlightened us with their knowledge and experiences before their departure. Comparing the old social center to the lighthouse, Mr. FazlulKader said “by establishing a social center, we are establishing a lighthouse which will encourage the other people to establish more”.
Mr.Abul Hasan Md. Abdul Qaiyum, Deputy General Manager, PKSF gave a presentation and discussed on strategies for Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme at field level. In the workshop, the respective officials gave chapter wise presentation on the ‘Guideline to Implement the Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme’. There was also a separate presentation from PKSF Audit Division, where the participants were briefed about budget formation and re-imbursement.
In the workshop, focal person of three POs as RIC, Jagarani Chakra Foundation and Ghasful shared their field level implementation experiences.
PKSF MD stresses the need for global move for road safety
Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), has called for a united move to meet the global health target for road safety.
He made the call at an event, organised by the Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility and the G4 Alliance, during the annual United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) from 10-19 July 2017.
Hosted by the FIA Foundation at UN Headquarters in New York, envoys from different countries gathered to discuss their challenges and successes in reaching Sustainable Development Goals to achieve safe and sustainable mobility.
Md Abdul Karim — a former Principal Secretary to Government of Bangladesh and currently at the helm of the PKSF, an apex development agency of the country — took part in a panel discussion there.
This year’s theme of the HLPF was ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’.
Managing Director of PKSF attends the 5th HLPF
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has convened the fifth High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) from 10-19 July 2017. At invitation from the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Managing Director of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Mr. Md. Abdul Karim has left for New York on 8 July 2017 to take part in this global meet. Mr. Karim will attend other special and side events of this conference.
This year’s theme will be ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,’ as decided in UN General Assembly (UNGA). Seven of the SDGs will be reviewed in 44 Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). Ministers, Cabinet Secretaries, Deputy Ministers and Registered Stakeholder Representatives from around the globe will attend the HLPF.
National Water Convention 2016 ends with
Outcome Presentation on its 13 technical sessions
An outcome presentation ceremony on National Water Convention’16, held in December 2016, took place at PKSF Bhaban, Agargaon, Dhaka on June 07, 2017. It was jointly organized by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP), and NGO Forum for Public Health.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF warmly welcomed the guests with a call to mitigate water-related problems in Bangladesh.
Introductory remarks were made by Dr. Nilufar Banu, Executive Director, BUP. A presentation of the Convention outcome was given by Mr. S.M.A. Rashid, Executive Director, NGO Forum for Public Health.
Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, MP, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Water Resources was the Chief Guest and Mr. Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary, ERD, Ministry of Finance was present as the Special Guest of the ceremony.
A report was published based on the resourceful findings of the 2-day National Water Convention titled “Sustainable Water Regime in Bangladesh: Availability, Management, Access” on 28-29 December 2016. Thirteen keynote papers were presented by eminent water experts, renowned academicians, researchers, top government officials, international and national NGO professionals during the convention.
The Hon’ble Water Resources Minister praised highly of this publication and pledged to respond positively in light of the findings. Mentioning the recent havoc in the haor areas, he urged the water experts to display more sense of responsibility and objectivity in commenting on issues as critical as this.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF and Convener of the ‘National Water Convention 2016’ chaired the outcome presentation ceremony. In his speech, Dr. QK Ahmad placed importance on promoting integrated water-resource management in Bangladesh.
Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF delivered the vote of thanks at the end of the ceremony. he highlighted the background of the convention and expressed hope that the outcome of this convention will help formulate effective water-related policies to meet demands of the people.
Govt high-ups praise ENRICH achievements
Top officials of the PMO and the PKSF inspect ENRICH activities in Dhamrai
The Government’s top official on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has lauded the activities, supported by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), to drive positive changes in the socio-economic and cultural life of the rural people, particularly those usually ignored in traditional development interventions.
Md Abul Kalam Azad, Chief Coordinator on SDG Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, said proper coordination among the PKSF and other development agencies of the Government is a must for achieving the SDGS by the 2030 deadline.
He was among a high-profile delegation that visited different PKSF-supported activities implemented by SOJAG (Somaj o Jati Gathan) — a Partner Organisation (PO) of the PKSF — in Sombhag Union of Dhaka’s Dhamrai upazila on 02 June 2017.
Led by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, the delegation also included Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau Khandakar Rakibur Rahman, PKSF Board Member Dr MA Quassem, Managing Director Md Abdul Karim and Deputy Managing Director (Admin) Dr Md Jashim Uddin.
The visit started with a meeting at the SOJAG head office where its Executive Director Mr Abdul Matin apprised the delegation of the PKSF-supported activities in their working areas. In a presentation, he showed how effectively ENRICH, a flagship PKSF programme, was changing the lives of people who earlier had been left out of mainstream development activities.
“I used to work as a house help or day labourer even a couple of years ago. But now I myself have to hire people to work for me,” Asiya Begum, in her mid-50s, told the delegation that was visiting her ENRICH-ed house in Sombhag.
“Last year, I took an appropriate loan of Tk 5 lac from SOJAG. With that money, I bought cows, goats, poultry, ducks and pigeons, set up a biogas plant, started vegetable gardening on my homestead. I also was provided necessary training and other services for all those activities.
“I have more money now than I ever had in my life. Within just a year, I have managed to return Tk 1.72 lac of the loan. All my family members are well taken care of. I no longer have to worry about food or health services for me and my family,” said Asiya.
Asked about her future plans, she said, “First I want to repay the loan, and then leave as much assets as possible for my grandchildren before I die.”
The visiting delegation was full of praise of her success, which eventually represents the overall success of the ENRICH’s holistic approach to poverty alleviation and beyond poverty development.
The delegation then went to inspect different PKSF-buoyed activities including beggar rehabilitation, youth development, ENRICH Centres and Education Assistance Centres, Income Generating Activities with PKSF loan support, improvement of the quality of life of the elderly people, production and processing of quality crop seeds, artificial insemination centre for livestock, etc.
PKSF calls for an anti tobacco network
Marking the upcoming World No Tobacco Day, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) arranged a seminar at its auditorium in May 28, 2017. Different anti tobacco campaigners and institutions joined the seminar and agreed upon the proposition of working together in an anti tobacco network led by the Chair of the seminar, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. Board members of PKSF and executives from its Partner Organizations (POs), media journalists and government officials were present in the seminar.
In his welcome address the Managing Director of PKSF Mr. Md. Abdul Karim urged upon implementation of effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
Mr. Md. Golam Touhid, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF, delivered an informative speech through a presentation on negative impact of tobacco consumption over health and agro-economy. Mr. Touhid presented an overview of the PKSF. Then he made some suggestions for considerations of all parties concerned regarding tobacco issues.
The seminar got momentum and became vibrant with the recommendations from representatives of respective anti tobacco bodies who were present in the seminar.
The special guest of the seminar National Professor Brig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, President, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh justifying the root cause of tobacco problem in Bangladesh said that, nicotine is a highly addictive substance in tobacco products and tobacco companies are ran by influential people with ill-business motive. The government should levy higher tax rate in order to make them face a soaring price in their production.
The chief guest of the seminar Hon’ble State Minister of Finance, Mr. MA Mannan MP, stressed upon the current government’s mandate of making a tobacco-free Bangladesh within 2040. He further said that, the upcoming national budget could be reviewed if required and as an imminent issue, tobacco companies got no exemption in this regard.
PKSF Chairman Dr. Ahmad invited Hon’ble State Minister Mr. Mannan to unveil two anti tobacco posters. These posters would be distributed to disseminate knowledge and awareness building about anti tobacco issues.
PKSF Awards Scholarship to 3424 Meritorious Students of Poor Families
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) organized the ‘Scholarship Awarding Program’ at PKSF Bhaban, Agargaon, Dhaka on May 11, 2017. 3,424 poor and meritorious students were delivered cheques of financial assistance to continue their education. The total amount of scholarship of BDT 4.11 crore (approx.) was allotted from the Programmes-Support Fund of PKSF. Each student received an amount of BDT 12,000.
The programme was chaired by Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, while Mr. Mostafizur Rahman MP, Hon’ble Minister for Primary and Mass Education was the chief guest. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF delivered the welcome speech. Dr. Md. Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Admin.), PKSF made a presentation on ‘PKSF in Education’.
Mr. Mostafizur Rahman MP, Chief Guest, appreciated PKSF’s contribution to the cause of the underprivileged children.
Accesses to health care, education and social development activities are preconditions to establish human dignity of the poor. PKSF initiated the Programmes-Support Fund (PSF) in 2011 in order to ensure such accesses. Till now, a total of 8,671 students have been given scholarship worth BDT 8.57 crore from PKSF’s Programmes-Support Fund.
PKSF extends supports to flood-hit haor people
Palli-Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) has extended livelihood support to the flood-hit people of the haor areas who are severely affected by crop-damage due to untimely heavy-rainfall and onrush of water from the upstream. The PKSF has decided to disburse an emergency interest-free loan of BDT 200 million to the disaster-hit farmers through its Partner Organizations (POs). The terms and conditions of loan repayment will be very flexible.
This interest-free loan will be disbursed in the most affected areas of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Kishoreganj and Netrakona districts via eight POs working in those areas.
The loan is intended to be used for ensuring safe drinking water, first-aid treatment, shelters for vulnerable ones and safe guarding livestock. The PKSF has urged all of its POs working in those areas to temporarily suspend collecting regular installments from the flood-affected members.
Moreover, under the PKSF programme titled Learning and Innovation Fund to Test New Ideas (LIFT), BDT 297 million has been disbursed as loans and grants to 22,038 ultra-poor people in Kishoreganj, Habiganj and Sunamganj districts.
Foundation Stone Laid for PKSF’s Display and Sales Building at Shyamoli
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) celebrated the foundation stone laying ceremony for its second office, a new commercial building at Shyamoli, Mohammadpur, Dhaka on March 29, 2017. It would be a modern architecturally designed 13-storey green commercial building with 21-storey foundation, in which ten floors will be left for branding and marketing the products produced by the marginalized poor members of the Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF.
Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF unveiled the foundation stone of the building. Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF presided over the event. Two Board Members of PKSF’s Governing Body, Dr. Pratima Paul Majumder and Mr. Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled were also present as honorable guests. PKSF’s high officials and other staffs attended this event and took part in “Dua Mahfil” on the occasion.
International Women’s Day Observed in PKSF
Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), in observance of International Women’s Day, organized a seminar at PKSF auditorium on 28th March, 2017. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF chaired the seminar. Dr. Selina Hayat Ivy, Hon’ble City Mayor of Narayanganj, graced the seminar as the honorable guest.
A number of female officials from PKSF as well as those from its Partner Organizations (POs) gathered on the occasion. Moreover, PKSF’s high officials and other staffs took part in the seminar.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF, in his welcome address, mentioned that, the women of our country are now performing important responsibilities in different sectors including the administration of the government.
Begum Rokeya, Executive Director, Sabalamby Unnayan Samity (SUS) presented a resourceful essay in the seminar emphasizing on gradual development of the status of women in Bangladesh. Also Dr. Pratima Paul Majumder, a member of PKSF’s Governing Body, addressed the audience of the seminar.
Chairman of PKSF, Dr. Ahmad highlighted that though Bangladesh is making significant progress in many global indexes regarding the issue of women empowerment, women repression and child marriage are yet to root out. Dr. Ahmad also moderated an open discussion. Later, he handed over a crest to Mayor Dr. Selina Hayat Ivy for her excellent contribution towards women empowerment. He acclaimed Ivy for her courageous role she had played and not to bow down in the face of all difficulties to attain her incumbent position.
Mayor Dr. Selina Hayat Ivy stated that, men and women should step forward together for sustainable development. When a woman is educated, nothing can stop her to expose her potentials. So female education should get more importance for women empowerment in the days ahead.
A National Convention on PKSF’s Cultural and Sports Programme
Amid festivity and a sportive mood, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) arranged a daylong national convention on its Cultural and Sports Programme on March 23, 2017 at PKSF Auditorium.
Mr Asaduzzaman Noor MP, Hon’ble Minister for Cultural Affairs, graced the programme as the chief guest, and Dr Shree Biren Sikder MP, Hon’ble State Minister for Youth & Sports, as the special guest. The convention was chaired by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF. Many government high-ups, officials of PKSF and its Partner Organizations (POs), officials of development agencies, journalists and other stakeholders attended the convention.
The convention started with a presentation by Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) on the PKSF’s Cultural and Sports Programme. Following that, a documentary film on PKSF’s Cultural and Sports Programme was displayed.
The chief guest Mr Noor, in his speech, stressed on the importance of cultural and sports activities of school-going children. He said that nurturing such activities can create a good citizen in future Bangladesh.
Dr Sikder, the special guest, said that sportsmanship shapes our mentality towards a prosperous life and well-being of all.
Representatives from the POs and young participants from schools under the PKSF programme shared their experiences in the convention. Later, the chief guest awarded the Programme implementing POs with crests for successful implementation of the Programme at the field level.
The chair Dr Ahmad said that cultural and sports activities teach us to stand beside one another in times of need and these activities can lead the nation towards making a just society. Dr. Ahmad also moderated an open discussion among the participants.
A colorful cultural show performed by youths, coming from different parts of the country, made the closing of the programme very delightful.
Delegates from University of Oxford Visit PKSF
A 22-member delegation from the University of Oxford paid a visit in Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) on March 22, 2017. They met Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF and other high officials of PKSF and held discussion on the management and operational strategy of PKSF. The discussion meeting and question-answer session was chaired by Mr. Karim. A video documentary on PKSF’s activities was shown to the delegation.
New Accolade for PKSF Chairman
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF and concurrently the Chairman of Dhaka School of Economics (DScE) has been bestowed with a new laurel. Management Teachers Consortium-Global, an India-based voluntary non-profit group and known across the world as a top level global think tank in higher education has conferred upon Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad MTC Global Rooshikumar Panday Life Time Achievement Award. MTC Global has selected Dr Ahmad as a leading economist of Bangladesh, a renowned development thinker and a dedicated activist. To recognize the excellence of persons in different areas of education, MTC instituted few awards from 2010. These awards are rated very high by the academia at the global level. Many top leaders in the academia and the corporate sector have earlier received this MTC Global award.
Changing lives in the hills
Chairman all smiles after inspecting PKSF development activities in CHT
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), has expressed satisfaction at the development activities carried out by the PKSF and its Partner Organisations (POs) in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
“It was so heart-warming to see how the people in the hills, who used to be by and large left out of development activities, are now coming out of extreme poverty, and how the PKSF is standing by them in this journey,” said the renowned economist after concluding his 6-day visit to the hill districts — Chittagong, Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati.
Dr QK Ahmad — who took over as the PKSF Chairman in 2009 and has since been leading the apex development institution established by the Government of Bangladesh towards making more human-centric interventions aimed at eradicating poverty and ensuring human dignity for all — was accompanied by Deputy Managing Director (Admin) Dr Md Jashim Uddin and General Manager (Programme) Mr Mashiar Rahman during the 16-21 March 2017 visit.
He attended a range of programmes and inspected a number of PKSF-supported activities implemented by Integrated Development Foundation (IDF), Centre for Integrated Development Programme (CIDP) and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) — all POs of the PKSF.
On the first day, the PKSF chairman first went to Satkania Union of Chittagong where he inaugurated an ENRICH centre.
The ENRICH, a brainchild of Dr QK Ahmad, is a flagship programme of the PKSF that works for sustained poverty eradication and beyond-poverty development for the extreme-poor households in rural Bangladesh. The programme adopts a ‘One Union-One PO’ approach to effectively deliver a range of activities to ensure ‘total development’ of the downtrodden. Each ENRICH union, like Satkania, has ENRICH Ward centres that serve as a hub of socio-economic, cultural and educational activities of the local communities.
From there, the PKSF Chairman and his entourage inspected a Red Chittagong Cattle (RCC) farm in the same union. The farm, established by the IDF under the financial support from another highly successful PKSF programme titled ‘Livelihood and Innovation Fund to Test New Ideas (LIFT)’, promotes rearing high-yielding RCC. Dr Ahmad also exchanged views with a group of locals who had gathered at the farm to take training on RCC rearing.
The day passed amid tightly scheduled programmes that included inauguration of a few more ENRICH centres and discussions with the leaders and representatives of different ethnic groups living in the hill tracts of Bandarban.
The day ended with a colourful cultural programme in Sualok Union of Bandarban where members of local Mro community showcased their rich cultural heritage through musical performances.
The next day, the PKSF Chairman inspected IDF-implemented ENRICH activities in Rangamati’s Wagga Union under Kaptai Upazila. He also inaugurated an ENRICH Social Centre for the Senior Citizens, inspected a health camp for the underprivileged ethnic groups there, and took part in a number of discussion programmes.
Defying intermittent rains and treacherous roads, Dr QK Ahmad — who is reverently termed as ‘Mr Forever 25’ by the PKSF employees for his tenacity and vivacity — then went to Sapchhari Union in Rangamati where the CIPD is implementing the ENRICH activities. The locals welcomed him and his entourage with a warm reception in their indigenous way.
After inauguration of a couple of ENRICH Centres and discussions with the locals, it was time for him to inspect the PKSF-supported activities implemented by the YPSA in Panchhari union of Khagrachhari.
On the last day of the visit, the PKSF Chairman inaugurated a convention of people with disabilities (PWDs) in Sitakunda of Chittagong. The YPSA in association with some local organisations of the PWDs organised the programme on the premises of its Human Resources Development Centre, established with financial support from the LIFT programme of the PKSF. The researchers there walked the PKSF top boss through their innovations that facilitate access of the PWDs to different resources.
Dr QK Ahmad addressed a rally of around 2,000 PWDs and handed over grant cheques to some of them. “The PKSF will continue to work for rehabilitating the PWDs and including them in the mainstream workforce so that they can contribute more to the national development,” he said at the convention.
As the hectic yet exhilarating six-day tour came to a close, the PKSF Chairman was all smiles. “Never stop believing in these people. With a little support, they can do miracles,” he said to a delighted Dr Jashim Uddin, who leads the implementation of both the LIFT and the ENRICH programmes from the forefront.
The Chairman, PKSF Briefs on SDGs’ Implementation in Bangladesh
Following the country’s remarkable progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF delivered a knowledge disseminating lecture in a meeting with a good number of PKSF officials on various critical development issues to be pertinent for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh.
In his lecture, arranged on March 16, 2017 in PKSF Bhaban, Dr. Ahmad shared his experiences and thoughts with PKSF officials by putting forward some of the basic socio-economic development issues of Bangladesh in the context of its macro and meso-economy. Besides, this lecture has referred some future directives for PKSF to carry out the responsibility in response to the government’s initiatives for SDGs implementation in the days ahead.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF delivered a concluding remark on this occasion and thanked Dr. Ahmad for his invaluable directions on SDGs’ implementation in Bangladesh. The lecture meeting ended with a lively discussion among the participants.
PKSF Convenes a National Conference on its Programme for Elderly People
Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) convened a National Conference with festivity on its Programme for Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People on 2 March 2017 in PKSF Auditorium. Mr. A. M. A Muhith, Finance Minister, Government of Bangladesh, was present at the Conference as the Chief Guest. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF presided over the Conference. An open discussion was followed by a spectacular documentary presentation on PKSF’s initiatives for elderly people. An exhibition took place at the premises of PKSF Bhaban displaying facilities and services provided by PKSF to the aged people.
PKSF is providing both financial and non-financial services in enabling disadvantaged people to take part in diversified livelihoods. In January 2016 PKSF, in persuasion of National Policy on Older Persons 2013, started its Programme for Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People concentrating on the well being of aged persons.
Mr. Md. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF, applauded the Government of Bangladesh for enacting the Parents’ Care Act 2013. He remarked that, elderly people of Bangladesh are in much favorable position compared to the global scenario.
Finance Minister Mr. A. M. A Muhith thanked PKSF for initiating such a programme on elderly people of Bangladesh. He said, as longevity of people is increasing, the need for this programme is getting more and more concentration throughout the country day by day.
Dr. Ahmad, the Chair of the Conference, announced that programme for elderly people will be extended to another new fifty unions of ENRICH, a new holistic PKSF approach, all over the Bangladesh through a special budget allocation from PKSF.
Earlier, Mr. Md. Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme), PKSF, made a short presentation on PKSF’s programme for elderly people. Programme for Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People is being implemented in 20 Unions of 18 districts through 19 selected Partner Organizations (POs) of PKSF. A total of 31,807 elderly people have been identified as probable programme participants of the programme after a demographic and socio-economic survey. The activities being implemented are establishments of social centers for the elderly people, provision of old age allowance, special savings programme and pension fund, recognizing elderly persons’ contribution to society, providing awards to the best children for serving their parents, creating appropriate credit and training facilities, training up para-physiotherapist to provide geriatric nursing and creating special social facilities for the elderly people. 279 village committees, 174 ward committees and 20 Union committees of elderly people have been formed in 18 districts and they are being provided with training on leadership, communication and social awareness.
The Government officials, the officials of PKSF and its Partner Organizations (POs), development agencies, journalists and other stakeholders attended the Conference. Noted dignitaries from institutions like BAAIGM, BUP, Orbis Intl, BWHC, BPA, Aging Support Forum, HelpAge Intl, CDF, Mousumi, Sir William Beveridge Foundation, etc were also present at the Conference. The conference ended with a magnificent cultural programme performed by Proyash, one of the POs of PKSF, and Spondon, a cultural academy.
Time to Champion Women’s Empowerment: Implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh
By Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad
The year 2015 was highly significant in relation to global convergence on ways forward towards achieving sustainable development at local, national, regional, and global levels.
Global leaders reached four groundbreaking agreements that year, the first of which was the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the first major agreement crucially important in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
Then in July came the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, which has dealt with how finances can be mobilised for global sustainable development. In September, the world leaders adopted the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ with 17 goals, known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
The other momentous development was the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in December that year. Not that everyone will agree with the contents of these agreements and certainly there are deficits in each in relation to what needs to be achieved, but these documents provide a strong basis to moving forward.
Of these, the SDG 2030-Agenda essentially integrates the core objectives of the other three agreements along with other relevant issues, and focuses on the inclusion of everyone in the development process, with particular emphasis on gender equality (Goal-5) that men and women must be equally endowed with opportunities and facilities. This is a key Goal that catalyses actions to carve out an appropriate forward movement of society, overcoming gender discriminations and other hurdles.
Despite the fact that women’s empowerment takes the centre stage of sustainable development, they face discrimination in different aspects of their lives, one of which is wage discrimination.
Even in the United States, women working full time in 2015 typically were paid just 80 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 20 percent. The same can be found in Bangladesh where women get 21.1 percent less hourly wages than men, according to a recent study by the International Labour Organisation.
Bangladesh has come a long way in empowering women and closing the gender gap. Women are joining and making their mark in all branches of the development and society including education, health services, administration, banks, entrepreneurship, military and law enforcement forces, and politics.
In terms of political empowerment, Bangladesh not only leads the region but also beats many developed countries in the world. The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 published by the World Economic Forum testifies to the significant progress women have achieved in Bangladesh.
The Report that covers 144 countries ranks Bangladesh 72nd with an overall score of 0.698 (1 means parity), well above the average global score. The country leads the South Asian region in all four indicators – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Bangladesh’s closest performer in the region is India, lagging 15 spots behind.
What is notable is the progress made in Bangladesh in reducing gender gap over the past one decade. Ranked 91st among 114 countries, Bangladesh jumped 19 spots ahead in just 10 years, even though 30 more countries were included in the exercise this time.
This noteworthy progress, along with the very significant socio-economic advancement achieved by the country in recent years, has been possible mainly because of a conducive policy environment provided by the government, and the indomitable spirits of the people of this country to move ahead against all odds and achieve changes for the better. It is also to be recognised that facilitating support at the local spaces has been provided by many civil society and non-government entities.
The Constitution of Bangladesh clearly states that “the State Shall endeavour to ensure equality of opportunity and participation of women in all spheres of national life” and “women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life”. The country also has the National Women Development Policy 2011 and a set of laws to prevent violence and discrimination against women and to ensure empowerment of women, and their equal rights and opportunities.
In conformity with the constitutional dictates as well as the policy and legal obligations and the political will to ensure women’s legitimate progress, the Sheikh Hasina-led government introduced the Gender Budget in the 2009-10 fiscal year. Seven fiscal years later, the Gender Budget now has jumped almost 3.5 times. This amount is allocated directly to promote women’s progress in relation to various issues faced by them. But, the issue of improvement of women’s status also features directly or indirectly in various other programmes.
Despite the advancements women in Bangladesh have made, they still are paid less than men for equal work, as mentioned above, and are facing violence both inside and outside their homes. A 2015 study of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics shows that 80.2 percent women in Bangladesh suffer domestic violence at some point of their lives.
Girl students account for over 50 percent of the number of students at primary and secondary levels, but their proportion at the tertiary level is now around 40 percent. Though more women are joining the mainstream workforces in the government and corporate sectors, their presence in the top echelons is not yet very encouraging. Harassment of women and girl students in their workplaces and educational institutions respectively, and child marriage, remain major challenges.
The Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), which is a government-established foundation, has been trying to empower women in terms of human capability as well as economic and social opportunities. It currently offers financial and non-financial services to over 10 million households or about 45 million people throughout the countr