ADVOCACY & SOCIAL MOBILIZATION
Decisions and policies adopted by the Government have a direct impact on the lives of millions of people, and sustainable development at any level is not possible without engaging the true participation of those people in an effective and co-operative way. In Bangladesh, the NGO sector has emerged as an important spokes-body for civil society, capable of voicing criticisms, educating and social mobilisation. In short the NGO is the most effective Advocacy body. Khan Foundation strongly believes that NGOs are particularly effective in forming partnerships with sectors of society to work towards development goals. Khan Foundation has dual interaction with the grass-roots as well as national level government and represents a committed and influential advocate able to effectively mobilise people at the grass-roots, level and influence the policy environment at the national level. The Foundation’s success in working through both tiers lies in its commitment, institutional capability and particularly in its dynamic approach of working closely with Members of Parliament.

Goal

To speed up the process of development and democratisation through advocacy and social mobilisation.

Advocacy Strategy

The advocacy strategy followed by Khan Foundation is to engage a wide representation of civil society in meaningful dialogue of specific issues, with a goal to promote greater understanding and co-operation, to facilitate the development of policies that are responsive and accountable to people’s needs. The Foundation organises meetings, seminars and workshops where participants are informed and educated on specific issues and encouraged to incorporate their new knowledge in day to day decision making and activities. Specific commitments are sought from each of the groups participating in the meetings and workshops. Khan Foundation ensures a broad democratic representation of civil society including Members of Parliament, policy makers, professionals, academics, bureaucrats, social activists, business groups and trade organisations. As part of its advocacy strategy, the Foundation develops institutional relations with local and international agencies, NGOs, social organisations, cultural forums, political parties, business associations and the media.

Key Advocacy/Mobilisation Areas

Khan Foundation is well known for its advocacy and mobilisation in key areas of good governance, environmental protection, voter education, women’s development and child education, child labour and child rights and reform of civil society. The Foundation is committed to playing an increasing role as a policy advocate in key areas affecting the lives of the poor.

 

Advocacy with Parliamentarians & Elected Representatives

In December 1993, the Foundation organized the first ever International Parliamentarians Conference on "Democracy & Development" and "Population, Poverty, and Life Styles" in Dhaka, in collaboration with the Parliamentarians for Global Action in New York. The Foundation has been organizing various round table conferences, seminars and workshops with parliamentarians on:

Democracy and Good Governance

Strengthening of Local Government

Women and Child Rights

Womens' Development and Empowerment

Khan Foundation actively promotes gender balance of development and has been closely involved with the UNFPA since 1994. It has organised two successful conferences entitled “The Road to Cairo” and “The Road from Cairo” in support of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The conferences gathered together members of the Bangladesh official delegation to the ICPD, as well as Members of Parliament, bureaucrats and donors. One of the major successes arising from this conference was the establishment of a National Committee to address the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) at the central government level.

The Foundation has established a network for women lawyers in the country, with the goal to strengthen and facilitate women lawyers active participation in their profession.

Under the Elected Women Members (EWM) project, the Foundation organises training workshops for EWMs of the Union Parishad (the lowest tier of local government), with the aim of increasing their awareness of their rights and responsibilities as members, and to ensure their equal and effective participation in local government.

Child Education, Child Labour, Child Development and Child Rights

Khan Foundation as a field programme implementer and policy advocate vows to ensure protection of children’s rights and their access to education, health and recreation.

¨The Foundation is one of the initiators and founders of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) which works with other NGOs towards achieving children’s rights.

¨In support of Harkin’s Bill, the Foundation organised a major workshop in Dhaka involving Ms Sonia Rosen of the US Department of Labour, who spoke on child labour issues.

¨In 1995, the Foundation took part in the International Women's Conference held in Beijing and later organised a conference called “The Road from Cairo to Beijing” where one of the main issues was concern for the 'girl-child'.

¨In the area of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Executive Director of KF contributed to The Bangladesh Country Paper on the Rights of Children in Asia, published by the International Conference of Jurists from Geneva.

¨KF also took part in the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm in 1996 and presented a paper on Children’s Status in Bangladesh at the University of Monash in Australia held by the Anti Slavery Society in Australia.

¨The Foundation has undertaken a 3 year project for urban adolescent girls concerning their sexual education and reproductive health, which includes a social awareness programme relating to issues such as child marriage and violence.

Environmental protection

Through its Rural Credit Programme, the Foundation includes a social mobilisation programme, aimed at developing the awareness and consciousness of rural people in preserving and developing the environment sustainably.



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