Divisional Workshop on GPMS held in Barisal

The government has introduced Annual Performance Agreement (APA) at field level offices from 2016-17. To perform all the functions effectively and timely officials of different field level offices should have the clear idea about the recent guidelines for 2016-17 APA.  In this context under CoP-ll program, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Cabinet Division, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, jointly hosted two workshops on Government Performance Management System on 05 and 06 October 2016 at the Divisional Commissioner’s Office, Barisal.

The purpose of the workshop was to orient and train 50 officers from different departments at the district and divisional level that how to design the vision, mission, objectives, and indicator based performance targets in 2016-2017. 

APA is a record of the people’s mandates which represented by the Minister and Secretary of the Ministry/Division responsible for implementing this mandate. Moreover, it is one kind of monitoring system to ensure mobility and transparency of the work of the different ministry/division in a given process and schedule. Current APA will be based on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and highly recommended for developing three new components which were creating work environment including maintaining hygiene; reform office set up and manage a space for guest room; and form a complaint or opinion center.

In open discussion and lecture session, participants shared their challenges.

The trainers are Mr. Md. Saidur Rahman, Joint Secretary, Mr. Md. Kamrul Hasan Senior Assistant Secretary and Mr. Towhiduzzaman Pavel, Attached officer of Cabinet Division.

The day long workshop consisted with Inaugural, open discussion, lecture on APA, Group work and lastly Presentation of group work with observation of the participants and trainers.

 

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Training on National Income Accounting held

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University in association with the General Economics Division (GED) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  organized a two-day long training programme on ‘National Income Accounting’ on 5-6 November 2016 at BRAC Center, Dhaka under the Sustainable and Inclusive Planning (SSIP) project.

National Income trainingMr. Fakrul Ahsan, Prof. Dr. Shamsul Alam, Dr. Sultan hafeez Rahman and Ms. Shaila Khan are seen at the training (From Left)

 

The core purpose of the training programme was to enhance the knowledge-base of the policy makers about the concept and methodology of the national income accounting of Bangladesh for better policy making. This two-day course also aimed to assist the government officials appreciates the practical limitations of constructing the national income accounts from a wide range of sources of data. The training also intended to provide the participants with a comprehensive knowledge about the quality of data and data generating process.

The inaugural session of the training programme was graced by the presence and intellectual inputs of Prof. Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (GED), Planning Commission; Ms. Shaila Khan, Senior Programme Advisor (Assistant Country Director), UNDP Bangladesh; Mr. Fakrul Ahsan, Project Manager, SSIP Project, UNDP Bangladesh; and Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD, BRAC University.

National income accounting measures the prosperity of an economy and also helps compare national income across countries. While conceptually simple and elegant, the process of measurement of national income is a complex and sophisticated exercise. There are gaps and discrepancies between the text-book theories and practical approach of measuring national income. Lack of sound understanding of these practical methods results in breeding confusion, misconception and mistakes in discourse on national income. Therefore, it is imperative to expand the knowledge-base of the policy makers on this particular issue so that they can engage themselves in policy making and debate more effectively.

A total of 20 public planners from General Economics Division (GED), Planning Commission (PC), Bangladesh Bank (BB) and Finance Division (FD) enhanced their knowledge on concept and methodology of the national income accounting thru hands on training.

The training was conducted by academician, economists and statisticians who have vast experience in computing national income accounts of the country. Dr. Bazlul H. Khondker, Professor, Dhaka University; Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director, National Accounting Wing, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS); Mr. Zobdul Hoque, Former Director, National Accounting Wing, BBS; Mr. Tufail Ahmed, Deputy Director, National Accounting Wing, BBS; and Mr. Abdul Khaleque, Deputy Director, National Accounting Wing, BBS trained the GoB officials through eight comprehensive lectures.

A certificate awarding ceremony was organized at the closing day of the training programme. Mr. Naquib Bin Mahbub, Chief, GED and NPD, SSIP project handed over the certificates among the participants for successful completion of the training. Mr. Fakrul Ahsan, Project Manager, SSIP Project, UNDP Bangladesh; and Mr. Shanawez Hossain, PhD, Research Fellow and Head (Urbanization, Climate Change and Environment Cluster), BIGD, BRAC University were also present at the certificate awarding ceremony.

 

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Stakeholder Workshop on
Changes in Governance in Global Garment Supply Chain after Rana Plaza Disaster held

BIGD organized a stakeholder workshop on Changes in Governance in Global Garment Supply Chain after Rana Plaza Disaster on August 31, 2016 at the BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium. The workshop presented an overview of a three-year research project initiated by BIGD in collaboration with the London School of Economics, UK, the University of New South Wales, Australia, the Freie University, Germany and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Mr. Mikail Shipar, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the event as Chief Guest. Mr. Md. Siddiqur Rahman, President of BGMEA and Mr. Mohammad Hatem, Vice President of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) and former Vice President of BKMEA attended the event as Special Guests. Simeen Mahmud, Head, Gender Cluster of BIGD, BRAC University chaired the workshop. 

Dr. Syed Saad Andaleeb, Vice Chancellor of BRAC University provided the welcome speech on workshop.  Professor Naila Kabeer, Gender Institute/International Development, London School of Economics (LSE), UK gave an overview of the workshop. 

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Sharique-BIGD Seminar on
Ward Shabha Operational Guideline held

Sharique ward shabha seminar
Strong political will is needed to improve the poor functioning of Ward Shabhas. To make it more effective. the authority needs to be transferred to the local government institutions to ensure democratic participation of citizens, said Dr. Salimullah Khan, political analyst and Professor, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), at a BIGD seminar. Dr. Salimullah was addressing the even t as a panelist. BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University organized the seminar to disseminate the Ward Shabha Guideline among its stakeholders prepared under the Local Governance Programme SHARIQUE, on Aug 30, 2016 at the Lake Shore Hotel in Capital. The operational Guideline was prepared to assist UP elected representatives with practical suggestions for efficient and effective operations of the Ward Shabha. The seminar was a two-hour session in which the guideline was shared with local government experts, practitioners, academics and policy makers to exchange views with them.

Ward Shabha is an important tool for ensuring social accountability and citizens’ engagement in the overall local governance of UP. It is expected that a well-functioning Ward Shabha will further strengthen the accountability mechanism in UP addressing the local priority needs.


Mr. Kaspar Grossenbacher, Country Director, Helvetas Swiss Inter Cooperation delivered the opening remarks at the event. Dr. Shanawez Hossain, Research Fellow and Team Leader of Sharique, BIGD delivered the key note speech and presented the issues and also proposed the Guideline related to Ward Shabha.
The Guideline highlights different issues for making Ward Shabha functional including the needs for drafting agenda for Ward Shabha, documenting its proceedings, making appropriate public announcements, deploying volunteers to manage crowds, among other things.

Following the presentation, a lively discussion held under the facilitation of Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD, where participants gave their views and shared experiences on the issue. Mr. Ershadul Hauqe, Deputy Secretary, Union Parishad Wing, Local Government Division (LGD), Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarkar, Former Additional Secretary and Director General, Local Government Division, Mr. Azizur Rahman Siddique, Consultant of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among others spoke at the event.

Mr. Ershadul Hauqe admitted that the Union Parishads have lot of limitations but change was also taking place. For the progress to sustain, he emphasized on citizen’s continuous and active participation. Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarkar said that the Union Parishad needed resource and capacity to conduct Ward Shabhas, which currently it has not.

Elected representatives from the Sharique working areas also shared their experiences of Ward Shabha and expressed their agreement with all the issues highlighted in the presentation.

Concluding the seminar, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, said, “Although there appears to be lots of constraints with regard to the functioning of Ward Shabha in Bangladesh, the situation is not frustrating if we look at the history of our democracy. With increasing political will, we can turn the picture around and ensure a vibrant Ward Shabha that contributes to the functioning of the whole Union Parishad.”

At the end of the programme, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman and Mr. Kaspar Grossenbacher formally handed over the Guideline and two other advocacy briefs titled “Strengthening Women’s Representation in Union Parishad” and “Strengthening Committees and Standing Committees of Upazila and Union Parishads” of Sharique programme to Mr. Ershadul Haque, Deputy Secretary, Union Parishad Wing, Local Government Division (LGD).

Media Coverage

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10th PPSC Meeting
All project related documents going forward will be in Bangla, with English translations,
says Planning Minister

‘We are committed to ensuring the welfare of the citizens of this country, and therefore, our activities, however small or big, should reflect that dedication in serving the people,’ said A.H.M Mustafa Kamal FCA, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Planning and Chairperson of Public Private Stakeholders Stakeholders Committee (PPSC) in its 10th meeting on August 28, 2016 at the NEC Conference room, Planning Commission, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar of the capital. He further added that all project related documents will be in Bangla going forward, with English translations available in case foreign individuals are involved in any project. The meeting was organized by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of BRAC University and hosted by the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU).

Architect Jalal Ahmed of the IEB; Mustafa Jabbar, BASIS; Rezwanul Alam, TIB; Towfiqul Islam Khan, CPD; Anwara Begum, BIDS; Syful Kabir, IBA, and Dr. Tapash Kumar Biswas, PKSF, were other PPSC members who attended the meeting. Dr. Zafrul Islam, Lead Procurement Specialist, World Bank and the core BIGD team of the Social Accountability Component of PPRP II were present during the meeting. Among others, the meeting was attended by other members of the PPSC, which included high officials from LGD, LGED, ERD, PWD, BPDB.

Anwara Begum of BIDS, suggested that women be encouraged to take part in project monitoring. Dr. Zafrul Islam encouraged the use of social media for better monitoring of project activities. Syful Kabir, IBA, suggested the formation of a central monitoring committee on top of local Citizen Committees. Mr. Nasiruddin Khan of ERD, expressed his belief that citizen engagement can bring about greater transparency and accountability. Before the open discussion, Dr. Mirza Hassan presented briefly on the progress of the pilot and shared important findings from the field.

PPSC is formed under the auspices of the Public Procurement Reform Project-II (PPRP-II) with representatives from the business community, think tanks, and civil society organizations along with senior government officials, to institutionalize external monitoring and citizen engagement in different stages of public procurement. The committee was reconstituted recently, increasing the number of PPSC members from 27 to 43, to engage in high-level policy dialogue which will contribute to development of strategic goals regarding procurement reform at field level and generate discussions at different national and regional forums.

BIGD is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU, IMED to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process in the country. Md. Faruque Hossain, Director General, CPTU, moderated the meeting.

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Stakeholder Workshop for ‘Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE)’ Project
with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)

The Centre for Gender and Social Transformation (CGST) at BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University has organised the Bangladesh launching of the ‘Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE)’ Project at the GDLN Centre, BRAC University on August 22, 2016. The project is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) in partnership with Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK. In Bangladesh, the GAGE research work is being managed and conducted by the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), the James P. Grant School of Public Health of BRAC University, Research and Evaluation Division (RED) of BRAC and Innovations for Poverty Action. It is a nine-year mixed methods longitudinal research and evaluation programme that will generate and share evidence on good-practice programmes and policies to help adolescent girls in the Global South reach their full potential. GAGE is undertaking an in-depth, mixed-methods programme of longitudinal research and impact evaluation work in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nepal and Bangladesh with a focus on girls across the course of adolescence, along with complementary participatory action research with older adolescent girls in additional conflict-affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa and West Africa.

Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD BRAC University inaugurated the event and welcomed the participants who were comprised of civil society members including women’s rights activists, researchers, academicians, legal experts, program staff from BRAC and other experts working on education, skills development and with adolescents. Simeen Mahmud, Lead Researcher and Coordinator, Centre for Gender and Social Transformation, BIGD briefed the participants on the objectives and structures of the programme. Priya Nanda, Group Director, Social and Economic Development, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and co-director of GAGE elaborated the key components of GAGE through a presentation. Maheen Sultan, Visiting Fellow, BIGD facilitated the workshop and Dr. Sohela Nazneen, Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex and Thematic Lead, Policy and Legal Analysis, GAGE thanked the participants at the closing ceremony. Sahil Tandon, Senior Technical Associate, ICRW, Nuzhat Sharmeen, Research Associate, BIGD and Mousumi Ansari, Research Assistant, BIGD were also present at the workshop. The participants shared their views on the key issues that need to be addressed concerning the state of adolescence in Bangladesh, major blockages in bringing about change and on the extent to which knowledge and evidence is necessary for policy making and programming in Bangladesh.


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