Functionalizing UP-level government committees is crucial in reaching services to doorsteps: Speakers

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USAID’s Nobo Jatra Project keeps footstep in Khulna & Satkhira

Khulna, Tuesday, 22 November 2022:

Speakers at a workshop on significance and effectiveness of local level committees remarked that functionalizing Union Parishad’s standing committees and local government structures are must to reach services to people’s doorsteps for inclusive and sustainable development.

Md. Shohidul Islam, Director, Local Government, Khulna Division, was present as the Chief Guest at the daylong workshop, which was presided over by Mr Ashis Kumar Halder, Senior Operations Manager, Nobo Jatra Project (NJP) of World Vision Bangladesh (WVB) at CSS AVA Center in Khulna.

The event was attended by Deputy Directors of Local Government Division of Khulna and Satkhira districts; Deputy Director (Health) of Khulna Division; Civil Surgeons of Khulna and Satkhira districts; Deputy Directors of Family Planning of Khulna and Satkhira district; Upazila Parishad Chairman and Upazila Nirbahi Officers and 16 Union Parishad Chairman of Dacope, Koyra, Kaliganj and Shyamnagar Upazilas; and journalists among others.

The workshop shared findings of two qualitative studies on “Functionality of Local Level Government Committees to Improve Social Accountability and Sustain Service Delivery in the Community” and “Impact Mapping Analysis through GIS Survey.”

Ranak C. Mohanta, Senior Manager-M&E and Mehzabin Rupa, Manager, Knowledge Management, Communications and Advocacy of Nobo Jatra Project and Prof. Dr. Ahsanul Kabir, Khulna University shared the findings of two research conducted by World Vision Bangladesh.

Attending the event as the Chief Guest, Md. Shohidul Islam, Director of Local Government, Khulna Division, in his speech said “NJP is successful in activating standing committee in 4 sub-districts in Khulna and Satkhira.”

“Unless local government structure is strengthened, our dreams will never be fulfilled. There is no alternative of strengthening local government for sustainable development,” he added.

Attending the workshop, Mashrur Ferdous, Deputy Director, Local Government Division, Satkhira District, said “Union Parishads should find ways to raise funds. Some Union Parishad Chairmen think that if they collect tax, they will loos popularity. This is not correct.”

“Union Parishad chairmen should be engaged and sincere to activate the standing committees in local level,” she said.

USAID’s Nobo Jatra Project (NJP) ‘new beginning’ has been implementing in close partnership with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), Winrock International and World Food Programme in 40 unions under 4 Sub-districts in Khulna and Satkhira districts.

Aiming to improve gender equitable food security, nutrition and resilience of vulnerable communities, NJP reached 859,704 people with multi-sectoral interventions in Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Maternal Child Health and Nutrition, gender, agriculture and alternative livelihoods, disaster risk reduction and good governance and social accountability.

Nirmal Sarker, Good Governance and Social Accountability Advisor, moderated the workshop.

Functionality of Local Level Government Committees
The findings of the qualitative study on ‘Functionality of Local Level Government Committees to Improve Social Accountability and Sustain Service Delivery in the Community’ show that local government committees have been enhancing community people’s accountability & ownership in ensuring better services from community clinic and Union Parishad.

The community level committees ensure transparency of all service-related activities in local government institutions and people’s participation in development activities on the ground.

Community people’s voice and expectations reach to the authorities in different government levels through the standing committees at Union Parishad and Community Clinic.

Impact Mapping Analysis through GIS Survey
NJP’s Senior Manager of M&E Ranak C. Mohanta informed that NJP has conducted Impact Mapping Analysis through GIS Survey of various services provided in southwest coastal region in Bangladesh from 2015 to 2022.

NJP has provided safe drinking water by installing 3,319 waters service points and sanitation facilities among 93,000 people by establishing 19,674 sanitation points. New sanitation points have reduced open defecation significantly in the project area.

The NJP has provided Growth Monitoring Promotion (GMP) services to over 65,000 children from 960 functional EPI sites and 123 Community Clinics, conducted DRR intervention by functionalizing 200 cyclone shelters and formed over 1,600 savings groups for financial inclusion of vulnerable coastal communities.

Most of the establishments and functionality activities took place in between 2019 and 2020 in four sub-districts in Khulna and Satkhira districts, informed by the presenter.

The GIS impact mapping and analysis provide visual pictures of all existing water points, community clinics, EPI sites, sanitation points, cyclone shelters, DRR coverage, gender equality and social inclusion and livelihood service coverage, market linkage and access, and nutrition achievement through severe and moderate malnutrition status in the project area.