News Archive

Tag: Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research
Publish Date: July 31st, 2017

Probal Saha and Nureen faiza Anisha, C3ER, BRAC University participated in the “Dhaka Water Conference in Bangladesh” from 29-30 July 2017. The conference started with the presence of Delta Coalition and High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) Sherpa. He attended the four technical sessions on safe water, sanitation, water quality and water managementin the conference. The 2-day long conference inaugurated on 29 July 2017 at at the Pan pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka organized by theLocal Government Division (LGD) and Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE). The theme for this conference is “Water Sustains Development,” which is based on Sustainable Development Goal-6. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the coalition's ministerial conference at Sonargaon Hotel.

A total of 82 representatives, including ministers and state ministers, from 27 countries would participate in the conference. The 12 members of the Delta Coalition Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam also attended the conference. The policymakers of the platform came up with 20 decisions as mentioned in the “Delta Coalition Dhaka Declaration” adopted at Dhaka Water Conference 2017. Delta Coalition members have decided to introduce some programs to stop ongoing migration and displacement of coastal people. They have also agreed to actively address the situation emanating from the permanent loss of cultivable land and human habitats owing to coastal soil erosion, sea level rise and coastal flooding, land subsidence due to over extraction of underground water. The Delta Coalition is the world's first international coalition of governments that have formed a partnership to deal with coastal flooding, wetland loss, shoreline retreat and loss of infrastructure to make the deltas more resilient.The coalition agreed on stepping up efforts to mobilize funding from private sector, bilateral development partners, and international financing institutions and funds for inclusive and sustainable development and management of the deltas.The member states also agreed to forge cooperation among them to deal with deltaic water governance issues at sub-regional, regional, multilateral and international levels.They decided to pursue integrated development and sustainable delta management and cross-border cooperation for basin wise management of the trans-boundary/international rivers and initiate/continue discussions at regional, sub-regional and international levels despite having divergent pursuits and realities of various countries.

Tag: James P Grant School of Public Health
Publish Date: July 30th, 2017

Dr. Christine P Stewart (Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis) visited the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health on 29 July to deliver a talk for the Master of Public Health programme students and JPGSPH staff. The topic of her presentation will be "Effect of daily provision of eggs early during complementary feeding on stunting and biomarkers of nutritional status: Results from a randomized controlled trial in Ecuador".

Tag: Centre for Entrepreneurship Development
Publish Date: July 30th, 2017

Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 29, Saturday: A major initiative to map all apparel factory in Bangladesh was launched. The project called ‘Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh’ (DRFM-B) is the fi­rst ever of its kind to attempt to digitally map the entire garment sector in Bangladesh and marks a transformative industry shift toward more transparency.

This locally owned and managed project will collect credible, comprehensive and accurate data on factories across Bangladesh and disclose it in a publicly available, online map. The map will provide a detailed industry-wide database of factories, including names, locations, numbers of workers, product type, export country, certifications, brand customers, etc. Verification will be crowdsourced from the public to ensure that information remains up-to-date and accurate.          

The digital mapping project will be implemented by BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), coordinated by BRAC USA, with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) as the Strategic Partner, along with lead funding from C&A Foundation. DRFM-B will be guided by a multi-stakeholder Project Advisory Committee (PAC), including representatives of workers, NGOs, employers, and industry associations.  

The launching ceremony of DRFM-B kicks off on July 29 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with attendance of the honorable Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Vice Chancellor, BRAC University; and Adviser, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), BRAC University.

‘’This project will send a strong signal to all stakeholders that transformative change is happening within the ready-made garment sector. Through its mapping and relationship building, DRFM-B will fuel Bangladesh's garment industry advancements, inspire shared responsibility, responsible sourcing, collective action, and builds upon pre-existing improvement efforts through informed decision-making,’’ says Parveen S. Huda, Project Manager of DRFM-B.

The Chair of the programme, Professor Dr. Rahim B. Talukdar, Adviser, CED, BRAC University said, the contribution of the RMG sector over the last 40 years has been phenomenal. However, the learning curve of the industry has not been very smooth. In spite of the success of the industry, some unfortunate incidents (like Rana Plaza and Tazreen) have brought the whole sector under the question of transparency and accountability. DRFM-B project is an attempt to address these issues. The aim of this project is to collect real-time industry data by conducting a nationwide census, and to exhibit the data in an interactive, publicly accessible, online platform like the Google Maps. It is our commitment to bring to the notice of the world outside that Bangladesh RMG sector is aspiring to be ever transparent and accountable in terms of meeting the global standards. The crowdsourcing technique built into the map will enable different stakeholders to point out any deviations they observe. 

Ms. Parveen S. Huda, Project Manager, DRFM-B, CED, BRAC University said, the expected outcome of this mapping project will be an interactive web-based map consisting different type of information on factories. This will help establish transparency and awareness, and ultimately lead to long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Bangladeshi RMG sector. We anticipate a lot of challenges as we try to implement this unique project, and we seek support from all stakeholders present here today to help us achieve this daunting task.

Special Guest Mr. Shantanu Singh, Unit Leader, General Manager, C&A Sourcing Bangladesh said, “the whole topic of the project is about transparency. Unfortunately, many other countries are not thinking the way Bangladesh is thinking. So this project itself is unique not only to Bangladesh, but also to globally. This is something that we all can be proud as Bangladesh is again taking a lead here when it comes to global sourcing. As a retailer, C&A is one of the leading sourcing brands in Bangladesh and Bangladesh is very important to us as a sourcing market. So this project demonstrates the commitment and collaboration we have to this country.”

In his speech, as a Special Guest, Professor Syed Saad Andaleeb, Ph.D, Vice-Chancellor, BRAC University thanked C&A Foundation for their confidence on BRAC University and for awarding this 4- year project after the pilot phase. He said, “I like to focus on 3 issues. First one is change, because in RMG sector we are the second largest exporters in the world but can we become complacent? I like to bring to attention of the RMG sector how are we preparing to meet the changing challenges that are really coming in front of us. If the change is eminent, then what would be our next step with the sector? I think the next step is research. Research will help us anticipate the change. If we can do good research, we can be there before the change happens. My question would be for the RMG sector, do we know where we will be in next 10 years? Do we have any prediction model? If we don’t, the now this is the time to start. If the world is changing and if we need research, then we need another thing, the third thing I would argue for it, it is the industry-academic partnership. Any good endeavour requires partnerships. I would propose that perhaps we could start a centre for comprehensive research just for ready-made garments. My point is we must work together, the industry and the academia, and the centre for research would be a great start for the advancement of RMG sector.”

For more than 30 years, the apparel industry has dominated the Bangladeshi economy, making it the world's second largest garment-producing country. ‘’DRFM-B is driven by the fundamental belief that transparency and traceability lead to long-term industry advancements and improved working conditions. By funding this project, we aim to increase industry accountability to transform fashion into a force for good,’’ says Naureen Chowdhury, C&A Foundation Program Manager Supply Chain Innovation & Transformation.                                                                     

‘’This transparency initiative would significantly complement our ongoing efforts towards enhanced, more risk-averse supply chains. We believe it will empower stakeholders across the industry, including workers, factory authority, brands, government, and civil society organizations to create positive changes and strengthen the effectiveness of improvements already underway. We hope this will be instrumental toward establishing a strong marketing and branding tool for the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh through increased accessibility of information,’’ adds Mr. Md. Siddiqur Rahman, BGMEA President, Special Guest of the programme.

He also added that after the tragic incidence of Rana Plaza and Tazreen, a negative perception has been created for Bangladesh’s RMG industry globally. One of the reason for this negative impression is the lack of information about the industry and factories. In recent years, remarkable progresses in workplace safety, labour standard and sustainability have been achieved. The safety inspection reports and updated information are available in the website of DIFE and Accord and Alliance which anyone can visit from anywhere in the world. This is one of the significant examples of transparency. Moreover, Bangladesh is also a leader of green industrialization. If we can share these positive sides of our industry through a GIS based digital mapping, this would certainly create a significant impression for Bangladesh. I believe this digital mapping will help the RMG industry to adopt this ongoing culture of transparency.

In his speech, the Chief Guest honourable Minister Mr. Md. Tofail Ahmed, MP applauded this great initiative of digitally mapping the entire sector and the attribute of the digital map that it will be online, interactive, publicly accessible, easy to use, and can be visible from anywhere in the world which is going to be materialized for the first time in Bangladesh. He said, this map will surely be beneficial for all sector stakeholders especially for the brands/buyers who can directly get updated factory information from this map, and thus will establish transparency in the RMG supply chain. Consequently, this will help eliminate misconceptions regarding the sector. He said, this initiative certainly proves that soon Bangladesh will become a true “Digital Bangladesh” according to the nation’s “Vision 2021”, envisioned by the honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The Minister requested all stakeholders to support the sector from their respective positions and capabilities. He hopes that the project will show the entire world that Bangladesh has achieved many notable progresses that has established the brand value of “Made in Bangladesh”. Bangladeshi apparel producers are working hard to bring more transparency to this significant export earning sector, which has created a lot of employment opportunities; and that will surely bring respectability in the global community for us. The Minister thanked BRACU and BGMEA President for working on this project and then officially announced the launching of Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh (DRFM-B) project.

The public map is expected to go live in mid-2018 with the Dhaka cluster. The final version of the map showcasing all 20 Bangladeshi garment-producing

Tag: BRAC Business School
Publish Date: July 30th, 2017

Students of Operations and Supply Chain Management, BBS were taken to an industrial tour to Syed Spinning and Cotton Mills Limited, Sirajgonj on 29 July 2017. Industrial tour to observe the production operations in the industry sector is a relevant and enrichment activity of the business education.

It is a vital part of the curriculum of Operations and Supply Chain Management. Students observed very closely the demand forecasting, production planning, production operation, supply chain, inventory control, quality control and assurance, energy and industrial resources optimization, and environment control. In addition, they observed the process of transforming of input to higher value added products, yarn. The management of the company briefed the students and actively interacted with the officers who were giving the orientation. It was a good learning experience for the students to go through the practical management operations.

BRAC Business School, BRAC University is giving thanks to the management of the Syed Spinning and Cotton Mills Limited for their all-out cooperation. BBS is also giving thanks to the management of the University for providing full support and cooperation for the tour.

The education trip was under the guidance of Mr. Hasan Maksud Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, BRAC Business School, BRAC University.

Tag: BRAC Institute of Languages
Publish Date: July 28th, 2017

An inter-university chess championship, organized by BRAC University Chess Club and sponsored by Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited, will be held at BRAC University from 25th September to 27th September, 2017. Thus, a press conference was organized at the National Press Club on 27 July, 2017, to announce the upcoming championship.

Mr. A.K.M. Sadeque Nawaj, General Manager of Marketing at Berger Paints Bangladesh Limited, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, and Lady Syeda Sarwat Abed, Director of BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL), BRAC University, was present as the Special Guest. During the conference, Mr. Niaz Murshed, the first Grandmaster from South Asia, presented the key-note paper on the importance of chess in education. In addition, Mr. Haroon Or Rashid, International Arbiter, explained the rules and regulations of the tournament. Mr. Shams Ud Duha, Lecturer at BIL and Advisor of BRAC University Chess Club, moderated the session.

Speakers at the conference informed the audience that this championship has been organized to promote chess at the university level in the country and that any university can participate in this championship. In this team-based event, a team will consist of four core players and two reserve players. It will follow the international rules and regulations of the game prescribed by the World Chess Federation. Also, there will be cash prizes for the top three teams (1st prize−40,000, 2nd prize−25,000 and 3rd prize−15,000) along with some category prizes. Interested universities may visit BRAC University website to gather more information.

Tag: Office of Co-curricular Activities
Publish Date: July 28th, 2017

BU-IGC, one of the active clubs of BRAC University has recently conducted an event titled “Battle of Clubs-Season 3”. This was a very successful event, where sensational players participated in Table Tennis and Carom. In this battle, six renowned clubs participated and bought their desired player through an ‘Auction’. The clubs were; BRACU Monon, Art Society BRACU, BRACU Adventure Club, BRACU Pharma Society, BRACU Computer Club and lastly BRACU Cultural Club. There were ‘Pool Players’ and ‘Local Players’ for both the games. The ever so exciting auction took place on July 11, 2017 at BRACU Auditorium. Through this auction each club bought their desired Pool layers to participate in the event. Each club got two Pool players for each game, meaning two Pool players for Table Tennis and two Pool players for Carom. The Pool players were of course very dominant at their sports field and held multiple winning titles. Every bidding junction was being guarded to avoid any means of mishap by the executives of the organizing club, which is BU-Indoor Game Club. The auction was a very successful attempt and definitely raised the expectation for the main event, which took place on July 18, 2017 at BRACU Auditorium. As this event had so much expectation, the organizers made sure that each club gets the indoor just to themselves for getting ready for the event. Each club had a specific time allocated for them to rehearse. Table Tennis and Carom, both the games were conducted side by side on the same day. Six clubs battled their way through to semi-finals and on July 20, 2017 Carom had its Champion club; BUCuC winning against BUAC. Rezaul Karim, Tanzidul Islam Mitul, Khaled Mahmud and Naafis Alam were the players who truly showed off their skills and became the ultimate winners in Carom. On July 27, 2017 the finals for Table Tennis took place and the players left no scope in mesmerizing the viewers. Sakib Bin Quader, Showmitra Sharma, Ashfaq Khan and lastly the very talented Onez Chowdhury with his killing smash took the winners title. In short, every minute of “Battle of Clubs” was breath taking and the support and cooperation from the players and the organizers left everyone in full awe.

Tag: James P Grant School of Public Health
Publish Date: July 27th, 2017

Three researchers from the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health attended a workshop from 22 - 26 July in Chennai, India. Afzal Aftab (Research Coordinator), Ashfique Rizwan (Senior Research Assistant) and Arifur Rahman Apu (Research Assistant) from the NWO-WOTRO funded project “Psychodrama as a Transformative Intervention in the SRH of Young Men in Urban Slums in Dhaka: Proof of a Novel Approach” learned different methods of Psychodrama and Socio-drama such as role reversal, mirroring, doubling and different sociometric techniques. From this workshop, they garnered a clear understanding of the role theory of personality, which will enable the researchers to fix the indicators for measuring the behaviour change among the psychodrama intervention participants in their project.

The workshop was conducted by the Indian Institute of Psychodrama and facilitated by Sue Daniel, TEP, Director of Melbourne Institute of Psychodrama who is a pioneer of psychodrama in New Zealand and Australia.

Tag: James P Grant School of Public Health
Publish Date: July 27th, 2017

The Master of Public Health students have been undertaking the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases module from 16 July – 3 August. The students will gain an understanding of the nature of policy, its processes and contexts in informing health systems. In this course, students are oriented to a number of important viral and bacterial diseases, disease, distribution, surveillance and control strategies that are prevalent in developing countries.

As part of the experiential hands on learning, students undertake field visits to icddr,b’s famous Matlab surveillance area and BRAC’s DOTS Tuberculosis and Malaria Control programme, and learn implementation of epidemiological studies on infectious diseases. The course was taught by guest faculty Dr. Richard A. Cash (Senior Lecturer: Global Health, Ethics in Research, Infectious Diseases, Harvard University) and Dr. Stephen P. Luby (Professor of Medicine: Innovation in Global Health, Disease Control and Infectious Diseases, Stanford University).

Tag: Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research
Publish Date: July 27th, 2017

C3ER, BRAC University conducted field investigation to assess the climate change loss and damage in Bangladesh under the project titled Floating Houses: Community Based Flood Resilience Innovations in Bangladesh funded by KPMG East Africa Limited. The field survey was carried out at Dular Char, Shariatpur from 22-26 July 2017.

During the field investigation several KIIs, FGDs and household questionnaire surveys were conducted at the selected area. The main objectives of the field visit were to collect valid information on damage to housing, damage to community livelihood and impact of the disaster on livelihood; health mobility; water supply and sanitation;  poverty and occupational vulnerability; psychosocial impact and gender; education and governance system. The survey conduction had also put a sharp concentration on the vulnerable households. During the field visit a session was taken by Ioan Fazey, Professor, University of Dundee describing needs of participation of the community, what is participation etc. The team of the project also participated in several group exercise supervised by Ioan.   

Tag: Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Publish Date: July 26th, 2017

BUNSC arranged a poster session at the BRACU Auditorium on 25-7-2017. Professor A.A.Z. Ahmad spoke at the inaugural ceremony as its Chief Guest. There were altogether fourteen posters presented by students of various departments of BRACU. Faiza Khondokar won the 1st prize for her presentation on “Lagre Hadron Collider “.

Tag: Office of Career Services and Alumni Relations
Publish Date: July 26th, 2017

On July 25th, 2017, Teach for Bangladesh (TFB) conducted a seminar on ‘Fellowship program’ in association with OCSAR, BRAC University. TFB Recruitment Director, Sadia Hossain and Associate, Arnob K. Saha detailed the components of the Fellowship program, along with special guest and BRAC alumna, Sadia Afrin Binte Azad. Ms. Azad spoke of the experiences and opportunities she received through the Fellowship program, which she completed this past year. Ms. Azad is currently serving as a Recruitment Coordinator at Teach for Bangladesh, helping to bring in top Bangladeshis into the program.

The Teach for Bangladesh Fellowship is a leadership development program that places top graduates and young professionals into low income schools to teach full time for two years as the first step in a lifelong commitment to end educational inequity. The program is a 2 year long, paid commitment that allows you to substantially advance your career while impacting the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged children in Bangladesh. The Fellowship is a highly selective, rigorous, and internationally recognized program with tremendous leadership potential and an appetite for challenge.

Mr. Kazi Shahnoor Kabir, and Ms. Samiha Nusrat, OCSAR were present at the session and coordinated the event.

Tag: Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research
Publish Date: July 26th, 2017

In order to assist the developing countries in mitigating and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change, financial resources are being mobilized globally through shared platforms as well as public climate finance commitments by developed countries under the UNFCCC. According to Global Landscape of Climate Finance (2014) published by Climate Policy Initiative, in 2013, annual global climate finance flows totaled approximately USD 331 billion. According to the report, climate finance flows were split almost equally between developed (OECD) and developing (non- OECD) countries, USD 164 billion and USD 165 billion respectively.  Being one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, Bangladesh is actively investing in the field of climate change. The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) outline a framework for climate change investments in the country. Though Bangladesh receives fund in the sector through various internal and external channels, there are still scopes for introducing an established and widely-accepted monitoring mechanism that can ensure transparency and accountability. To understand the extent and type of support that is being made available to precede action on climate-resilient development and to comprehend how the support is corresponding to the needs, and whether the financial resources are being spent productively, it is important to monitor the finance mechanism holistically and in details. Climate Finance Transparency Mechanism (CFTM) has been initiated in January 2017 and is being implemented by a consortium (consortium-1) among Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER), BRAC University, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) in association with the British Council. Consortium-2 of this project constitutes Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) and Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST Trust) as the local level partner.  The CFTM project is an innovative project that would enable the funding for climate change in Bangladesh to be more effective in helping the most vulnerable communities become better adapted to climate change impacts and help improve the overall levels of transparency in governance in general in Bangladesh. The goal of this project is to increase the efficacy of climate change funds both from government and donors in tackling the impacts of climate change in Bangladesh. Promoting Knowledge for Accountable Systems (PROKAS) Program of British Council, funded by UKAID is supporting the project financially now.

A session to share experience with the policymakers was organized by C3ER, BRAC University on 25 July 2017 at BRAC Inn, Mohakhali, Dhaka. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus and Adviser of the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research (C3ER), BRAC University. Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD); joined the meeting along with twenty five (25) Deputy Secretaries from different ministries, a Wing Commander from Air Force and a Major from Bangladesh Army.

The meeting started with a welcome speech by Dr. Ainun Nishat. He described the significance of improving compliance, transparency, inclusiveness and partnership in decision making and implementation process in climate change sector. He also mentioned about the measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) actions as part of the climate change mitigation commitments.

Dr. Huq, started his speech describing the vulnerability of Bangladesh due to climate change.

After that the interactive session started. The government officials raised some important questions and experts tried to solve those.

Tag: James P Grant School of Public Health
Publish Date: July 25th, 2017

The Developing Midwives Project (DMP) organised an extended training in July 2017 for members of the midwifery faculty. The first part of the 13-days training was invested in reviewing the knowledge on midwifery, learning about new concepts, and refreshing the practical dimension of work. Nicknamed “faculty development training”, this edition of the bi-annual initiative also included sessions on interpersonal communication, English language skills, online safety, and social media. Trainers from DMP and John Hopkins University used participatory learning methodology in a congenial environment throughout the training. A total of 51 midwifery faculty from seven academic sites attended the training brimming with energy.

The capacity building initiative continued with a Training of Trainers (ToT) for 12 participants (all Senior Instructors and one core staff from each of the academic sites) who learned about the technicalities and modern trends in DMP’s high-stake mandate – the family planning dimension of work. Experts from ‘Ipas Bangladesh’ and ‘BAPSA’ facilitated the sessions. One of the major agendas of the training was pathways to generate new family planning acceptors with the help of midwives in the community.

Tag: Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Publish Date: July 25th, 2017

Three MS students had their thesis defence on 17 July, 2017 and 23 July,2017. Mashiat Nawar Chowdhury worked at ICDDRB under the joint supervision of Professor Naiyyum Choudhury, Chairman, BAERA and Professor Firdausi Qadri, ICDDR,B. Her thesis title was “ In vivo propagation of monoclonal antibodies in ascites fluid produced in BALB/c mice: characterization and diagnostic application for the identification of Vibrio cholerae O1”. Afsana Tasnim Oshin carried out a research work entitled “Vaccine efficacy of a 45 kda outer membrane protein of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in mice models” under  the joint supervision of Professor Naiyyum Choudhury, Chairman, BAERA and Prof. C. R. Ahsan, Dept. of Microbiology, DU.

On 24 July 2017, Shamima Begum defended her thesis work entitled “Keratinolytic protease production by a selected mutant of Bacillus licheniformis in submerged culture using chicken feather; storage stability and application as a detergent additive”. The work was carried out under the joint supervision of Professor Naiyyum Choudhury, Chairman, BAERA and Professor Md. Mozammel Hoq, Dept. of Microbiology, DU. The Examination Committees  on both the days was  chaired by Professor A F M Yusuf Haider, Chairperson, MNS Dept. Professor Mahboob Hosain and Dr. Aparna Islam were also present as members of the Examination Committee. The Examination Committee expressed satisfaction on the quality of work.

Tag: BRAC Institute of Governance and Development
Publish Date: July 25th, 2017

Illicit money and Illicit power are badly influencing public procurement. The procuring entities are facing various challenges during implementation of projects, especially at field level. Absence of a proper monitoring system of public procurement is one of the reasons, for which Bangladesh cannot ensure proper implementation of projects and its quality.

These were some of the observations of the participants at the 12th meeting of Public Private Stakeholders' Committee (PPSC) under Public Procurement Reform Project II of Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) under Ministry of Planning. The meeting was held on the 8th June 2017 at the NEC Conference Room, Planning Commission Campus in the capital, which was facilitated by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University.

Team leader of the social accountability component of PPRP-II Dr. Mirza M Hassan presented the findings of the monitoring report of pilot projects completed in two districts - Rangpur and Sirajganj - by the citizens committees. He also proposed scaling up the project on a national level.

He said the citizens committees monitored the textbook print quality and distribution of text books in 28 schools in the two districts at the first day of the year. They also monitored 19 projects (11 road constructions and 8 school building constructions) in these areas where the committees failed to monitor two projects out of the 19 due to interference by socially and politically influential persons.

Beyond the engagement of the Citizen Committees, the project was also able to successfully mobilize local communities for monitoring projects which led to conceptual and strategic innovation of a Site Specific Citizen Monitoring idea which we plan to replicate nationally, he added.

Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) Secretary in Charge Md. Mofizul Islam, who also presided over the meeting, said, most of the citizens do not know that their money is being spent in public procurement. Increasing people’s awareness regarding public procurement will reduce the influence of Illicit money and Illicit power. The monitoring only by IMED personnel is not enough, and the citizens should have a role in monitoring the development projects. He added that proper monitoring of public procurement is an important issue for successful implementation of the projects. The government wants to ensure cent per cent transparency and accountability in public procurement.

In response to a question on formation of Citizens Committee he said, “Citizens committees should be formed with those persons, whose morals and ethics are above question. We need citizens' monitoring in purchasing of goods also, as we want to get value for money."

CPTU Director General Md. Faruque Hossain said there are various challenges in monitoring of the public projects by citizens committees, as there is no legal provision in this regard. If the government finds third party monitoring beneficial, the relevant rules will be changed to give it a legal basis.

Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director, BIGD; Mr. ANM Mustafizur Rahman, World Bank; Dr. Kazi Ali Toufique, Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS); Mr. Ahmed Najmul Hussain, Administrative Director, BRAC; Engr. S. M. Khorshed Alam, Director, Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry; Mr. Ziaur Rahman, General Secretary, Economic Reporters’ Forum also made their valuable remarks and participated in discussion at the meeting.

The Public-Private Stakeholders’ Committee (PPSC) has been formed under the auspices of the Public Procurement Reform Project-II (PPRP-II) with representatives from business community, think tanks, and civil society organizations along with government officials, to institutionalise external monitoring and citizen engagement in different stages of public procurement.

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