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Rationale and background: The underlying causes of poverty encompass multi-faceted dimensions and each has its uniqueness which calls for massive and long-term programme interventions. One such dimension is poverty due to marginalisation. Putting simply marginalisation is: the inability of some persons or a group to use various societal powers and resources, and/or being treated unfairly, less fairly or less well than others, leading to exclusion and side lined in the society. This expression essentially indicates that the nexus of poverty and marginalisation is very strong and it needs proper attention.

 

There are a number of groups in Bangladesh who are marginalised, but MJF has prioritised to work with those people who are marginalised due to occupation (e.g. Dalit’sHarijan, fisher-folk, sex-workers), minority situation (e.g. religion, caste, or ethnicity), people living in extreme vulnerable or hard to reach areas (CharHaor or hill areas), person with disability, marginalised due to disease status, biological identity or behavioural practices (e.g. male having sex with male, transgender), etc.

 

Goal/Purpose of the programme: For the rights of marginalised programme MJF has been using sustainable livelihoods framework (of DFID/UKAID), which includes five assets – human, financial, physical, natural, and social. As an integral part of social asset, ‘political asset’ is the key to rights and governance issues that entangle the marginalised communities.

 

The Goal of the programme is: Religious and ethnic minority, people with disabilities, occupational and geographically disadvantaged groups attain their social, economic, political and cultural rights

 

Objectives: Government and non-government services and resources related to health, education, natural and financial resources are available to and the society demonstrates respect for poor and marginalised people.

 

Outcome of the programme:

√  Poor and marginalised are organised and demanding their rights.

√  Poor and marginalised people are participating in social and political decision making processes.

√  Poor and marginalised people are accessing improved rights on health, education, employment, natural and financial resources.

√  MJF partner and other civil society organisations are capable of mobilising community-based organisations, providing support      needed and  advocating influencing policies in favour of marginalised.

√  Relevant government and non-government agencies (health, education, banks, police, land and forest departments) become more      responsive to the needs of the marginalised.

 

Target population: Number: 540,500

Description: religious and outcaste minorities, plain-land Adivasi’s, sex-workers, persons with disability, Char dwellers, landless people, Monga affected landless people, slum dwellers and fisher-folk community. 

Geographical coverage: 

Total PNGOs: 30; Total divisions: 7; Total districts: 44

Allocated budget: 49.34 crores (4.29M£) 

Interventions taken:

√ Institution building

√ Capacity building (duty-bearer & rights-holder)

√ Social movement

√ Policy advocacy

√ Conscientisation (consciousness + action)

√ Information dissemination

√ Partnership/networking/alliance building

√ Legal assistance

√ Economic opportunity creation

√ Referral services

 

Identified advocacy issues:

1.   Education rights of children of sex-workers

2.   Campaign for social acceptance of sex-workers

3.   Legal procedure against brothel eviction

4.   Amendment of fisheries laws

5.   Amendment of land laws

6.   Adoption of anti-discriminatory law

7.   Implementation of disability law

8.   Adopting sign language in the legal framework

9.   Land commission for the Adivasi’s

 

Major achievements (2008-2012): 

Quantitative:

  Total amount of land & water-bodies: 10,943 acres (12,200 persons)

  Employment generation: 46,442

√ Safety-net services: 212,598

  Access to health: 194,854

  Access to education: 60,632

  Access to agricultural services: 527,534

  Rights claiming activities: 230,000+

  Inclusion of excluded: 7289 

Qualitative:

  Occupied lands recovered & distributed (including Khas resources)

  Formulation, reformulation and implementation of laws and policies

  Access to resources and services increased

  Mass awareness raised

  People’s organisations built

  Social capital/leadership created

  Duty-bearers are more responsive

  Culture of silence is reduced

  People’s participation increased

  Practice of indigenous culture strengthened 

 

Challenges:

√  The existing Khas land policy is not favourable for the landless people as well as not effective to implement the policy. It should be reformed and effective for implementation.

√  The existing shrimp culture policy is not favourable for the landless people. Under the policy, landless people could not be entitled though agriculture Khas land remains in the shrimp enclosure.

√  The positional shift of the government in regard to Adivasi status of the indigenous communities has raised the problem of supporting indigenous people’s right to self-determination.

√  It is a big challenge to convince the political parties and influential people for land reform as well as establish land rights.

√  Due to insensitive mindset regional accommodation for the disabled people in different work places is not taking place.

 

Future plan:

√  More concentration on land movement and land acquisition

√  Addressing agrarian reform agenda

√  Expanding geographical coverage within catchment areas

√  Aggressive advocacy for land reform, anti-discrimination, disability law, etc.

√  Overall programme review and revision of strategies

√  Adopting integrated approach in programmes focusing on livelihoods

√  RTI mainstreaming

√  Working with the children of sex-workers

 

Contact

Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF)


House # 47, Road # 35/A
Gulshan-2, Dhaka-1212
Bangladesh
Tel: +880-2-9850291-4
IP Phone: +880-9609-444888
FAX: +880-2-9850295
Email: info@manusher.org