Ms. Hosne Ara  (Left), Maheen Sultan (Centre) and Mr. Rafiqul Islam Talukder are seen at the meeting

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University organized an Opinion Sharing Meeting with the Local Government Associations’ Representatives on Social Accountability Mechanisms in the Union Parishads on June 16, 2015 at the BRAC Centre Inn under Local Governance Programme SHARIQUE III, implemented jointly by BIGD and Helvetas Swiss Inter – Cooperation.

In the inauguration part, Mr. Rafiqul Islam Talukder, Senior Programme Manager, BIGD welcomed participants and guests, and discussed SHARIQUE’s background and activities while Ms. Hosne Ara Begum, Local Governance and Public Finance Specialist, Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation briefly explained the role of the implementing partners in the programme.

Dr. Tofail Ahmed (3rd from left) seen sharing the concept of research

BIGD SHARIQUE Advocacy Specialist Maheen Sultan highlighted the role of Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), and BIGD Senior Manager - Communications Ekram Hossain discussed on BIGD’s role in implementation of the programme.

Followed by the introduction part, SHARIQUE Team made multiple presentations of proposals for policy reform and requested valued views and opinions of the associations and the participants on the following issues: (a) strengthening of Ward Shobhas as social accountability mechanism, (b) reform of Standing Committees and (c) streamlining other project-based and sectoral committees.

Dr. Tofail Ahmed, Local Government Expert and Honorary Fellow, BIGD shared the concept of the forthcoming SHARIQUE research on local government associations with the participants and collected their opinions on the challenges and prospects of the associations they individually represented. The Participants also reviewed the content of the policy reform proposals to which they made useful recommendations and corrections. An exciting sharing session followed wherein participants debated and discussed their positions on governance issues with Dr. Tofail Ahmed.

Participants at the meeting

The event was attended by among others, representatives from local government Associations and SHARIQUE Partners including Presidents and Secretaries of local government associations including Prof. Shamim Al Razi, General Secretary, Municipal Association of Bangladesh (MAB); Bangladesh Union Parishad Forum; Upazila Parishad Association; Upazila Parishad Women Vice Chairmen Association; Municipality Councilors Association; Municipality Engineers Association; and Union Parishad Secretary Association.