An ice-breaking presentation on communication work between Rupantar’s communication team (RCT) and Rupantar’s communication focal points (RCFPs) was presented by Advisor communication and outreach on Sunday 29 January 2023. The purpose of the presentation was to get to know all program specific focal, maintain a smooth flow of information between area office and communication team by focal, assist in various communication materials and make use of Rupantar’s social media platforms. The presentation was attended by Rupantar’s ED, program directors and heads and all respective focal points from programs.
Rupantar cultural programmes and activities promote and consider these priorities and propose to develop GO-NGO collaboration and coordination around these. These priority agenda are as creation of social awareness, scientific and liberal outlook will be emphasized with a view to resisting communalism and narrow vested interests. Rupantar thought about development in greater perspective including anthropological views so far it has been trying to transform people culturally through implemented different cultural activities as folk theatre, Pot song, drama etc. Rupantar has a strong unit of RIFT comprising 45 skill and creative cultural activists to carry on the program successfully. In the reporting year Rupantar has implemented a total of four projects across the country with the grant support of Canadian High Commission, We Can Secretariat-Oxfam, UNDP, LGED, UNESCO Commonwealth learning program etc. The issues were stop child marriage, stop domestic violence, stop sexual harassments, community learning, stop violence against women, human rights, labor law, women rights etc.
Child protection and development a precentral to the mandate of Rupantar. It plans to develop an intervention that informs adolescents and adults on child development with a strong focus on adolescence from a rights perspective. Rupantar undertakes advocacy for change of social attitudes and norms, strengthened capacity of the community to respond towards child protection and the establishment of protective mechanisms against child abuse, violence, exploitation and child rights violations.
Rupantar is germinated at south-west coastal belt adjacent of world’s largest mangrove the Shundarban with the mandate of environmental sustainability. Moreover, these larger communities are in vulnerable situation due to rapid change of climates. Frequent and several forms of disasters destroy the sanitation structures. Furthermore, the communities have also less attention on this issue due to engage in fulfilling more fundamental needs. Scarcity of safe drinking water is one of the vital issues of these coastal belt communities. Considering these Rupantar has indented to operating projects in the reporting period in Koyra and Dacope Upazila at Khulna district, Assasuni Upazila at Satkhira district and Shamnagar Upazila at Satkhira district focusing WASH and climate change.
PEACE is not merely the absence of war. It is much more than that since peace means harmony. More people from different nations, cultures, religions and lifestyles are working together and living in the same neighborhoods than ever before. Tolerance of each other’s’ differences is a very important key to keeping peace among co-workers and neighbors.
As the time advances, countries with inclusive and accountable governments and fair and predictable legal systems have delivered infinitely more on the promise of development. And it’s not just a question of aggregate, long-term progress. Indeed, social progress taken in aggregate does not necessarily mean inclusive and sustainable development. Without specific attention to political and legal inclusion, it will be impossible to realize the aspirations of the sustainable development to end the tyranny of poverty and protect our planet for future generations. At this time, peace and tolerance is the key to ensuring that progress and prosperity are widely shared, and that those most in need can claim and exercise their rights as global citizens.
Taken together, justice, rule of law and accountable and inclusive institutions are the linchpin of shared social progress and our ability to realize human flourishing. The success of all the UN declared Sustainable Development Goals rests on ensuring that the full potential of UN declared Goal 16 – Peace and Justice to catalyze social transformation is unlocked.
To contribute in achieving this, envisioning a violence free society fostering peace and harmony has appeared as the first and foremost priority. It has turned out one of the foremost duty of us to clearly inculcate every individual in the way of exploring their own respective faiths in peace building.
With the learning from the experience, it has been clearly stated that tolerance needs to be cultivated inclusively and spontaneously from individual to group and gradually to community. When the space for promotion and practice through self-criticism is enabled, the resilient community will be able to endure opponents’ provocative behavior and response with calm and re-assessing attitude. Resilience, the positive cycle of endurance and resistance against extremism led conflict and violence needs to be developed spontaneously within the community to get rid of this alarming threat.
Rupantar has been executing a total of 4 projects in 5 Districts (Khulna, Satkhira, Rajshahi, Dhaka, & Chapai-Nawabganj) to achieve the above objective with the grant support of GCERF & USAID’s Obirodh- Road to Tolerance Program.
Rupantar Strengthening local governance is a central government priority and various legislations have been enacted or reformed to this end, which presents opportunities for organizations working on strengthening governance and social accountability. The 2009 Pourashava Act provides for people’s participation and involvement in planning and budgeting. More importantly, this legislative reform has enabled local citizens to have their say in the UP affairs more directly thus creating a formal basis for institutionalizing social accountability within UP governance. LEBs are not too aware of their roles and do not always recognize an advantage in operating with increased transparency. Citizens are not sufficiently informed and organized to engage with UPs in participatory planning and budgeting. Citizens also continue to have difficulties accessing resources and services of various line departments, CSOs and private sector service providers. The participation and representation of the poor and women remains unsatisfactory. In exploiting this opportunity, it is important to ensure that the voices of the poor and poor women in particular, are heard. Rupantar has been executing a total of 4projects in 8 districts (Khulna,Bagerhat, Satkhira, Jashore, Chuadanga, Pabna, Barishal & Pirozpur) to achieve the above objective with the grant support of Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation & Democracy International.
Dialogue among Law and Order committee and Peace club members held on 14th March 2021 at City Inn Restaurant and Hotel, Khulna City Corporation.
Speakers: Superintendent of Police Md. Sajjadur Rahman Rusel, Additional Commissioner of Police Sardar Rakibul Islam (Khulna Metropolitan Police), Honorable Dean of the Department of Law, Khulna University, Professor. Md. Waliul Hasanat, Additional Divisional Commissioner of Police Khulna Syed Rabiul Alam, Prithish Mandal President of No. 27 Ward Peace Club, Afia Sultana Rain President of No. 19 Ward Peace Club, Md. Rabiul Islam Parash President of No. 16 Ward Peace Club
Chair: Honorable Mayor khulna City Corporation Talukdar Abdul Khaleq
In Bangladesh, PVE interventions through state and non-state actors are being implemented for the last couple of years in addressing different drivers of VE. Above 90 non-state organizations along with the government actors have different types of engagement and the experience of working to address the drivers of violent extremism. But there is not any platform for sharing the knowledge among the implementers and the leading actors; resulting in creating lack of common and evidence-based understanding about the effectiveness of the intervention and coming up with the deficiency of any applicable knowledge as well insights to be replicated contextually in respective areas and, with strategic target groups.
In this context, many resources are not being utilized in the most effective means. Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit has experiences on preventing radicalization and violent extremism in various parts of Bangladesh showed that the most of state and non-state actors do not have evidence-based knowledge to fight extremist views, ideas and narratives. Additionally, they are not sufficiently equipped to mobilize their fellow people/community against radicalization/VE to contribute to the national C/PVE effort. The US State Dept. Country Report on Terrorism (2017) shows that Bangladesh’s lack of a publicly available strategy to counter violent extremism hindered sustained engagement with the United States and the international community.
In this recurring condition, Rupantar as the Secretariat of the Stop Violence Coalition (SVC) organized the National Preventing / Countering Violent Extremism Conference in Bangladesh for the very first time in the history of the country in December, 2019 with the support of CTTCU of Dhaka metropolitan police, USAID, and UN Organizations. Followed by the formation of the advisory committee and the steering committee with the participation of state and non-estate actors, researchers, development practitioners; the conference took place in the 09th and 10th December of 2019 in International Conference Centre of Bashundhara (ICCB), Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. While it was inaugurated by the Honorable Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament and the senior advisor of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the conference experienced the presence of ambassadors of various embassy in Bangladesh along with the UN organizations. It was wrapped up by the presence of the honorable Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police along with various distinguished guests.
The conference brought out people together and developed a platform to share knowledge in the unified platform. However, sharing knowledge of VE is not yet the norm since many are afraid what their acquired experience may bring upon themselves. In many countries only the government agency talks about VE and no one else dares share their knowledge. In Bangladesh this is the first-time people came together to let others know that they are not alone. People from different orientations have gathered different set of ideas as to why a certain individual turns to the dark path of VE. And sharing such stories might not have the same effect on everyone. Hopefully with the effect from this conference people would become more prompt to sharing their part of the story and be more lenient. Also, the government has their strategy to counter violent extremism. If they were to incorporate the ideas from PVE practitioners in their plan if would only benefit our society. The conference also experienced the 1st Draft of the National P/CVE Strategy presented by the designated CTTC where various recommendations are generated from the practitioner to be shared with them.
(Global Pluralism Award – https://award.pluralism.ca/2019-2/rupantar/)
“The jury was impressed by Rupantar’s creative approach of using cultural performances to address sensitive social issues. Rupantar is truly working at the grassroots – mobilizing the most vulnerable in Bangladesh, including women and youth – to help build a vibrant democracy.”
– Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Global Pluralism Award Jury.
For the very first time, the global pluralism award initiated the recognition of organizations and entities throughout the globe which is being organized and conducted by the Global Centre for Pluralism. It has been the very first time in 2019 that any Bangladeshi entity got enrolled and selected by the independent jury board to be in the finalist’s lists. Rupantar ended the competition as the honorable mention while it has been a great recognition for the hard work Rupantar had been conducting since their inception for promoting the diversity and pluralistic ideologies.
Pluralism to Rupantar means to protect, promote, respect, recognize, accommodate and value the inevitable human differences in order to foster belonging. Upholding pluralism involves multiple aspects: such as political empowerment for marginalized people, in the political sphere and rejuvenating social cohesion at the grassroots level. Rupantar is dedicated to unlocking human potential, empowering people, strengthening democratic practice, promoting cultural diversity and protecting the environment. By cultural diversity, Rupantar understands multi-faceted belief, faith and opinion.