Brotee - Shetubandhan

    The Project Shetubandhan - A Village Movement to Protect the Rights of Vulnerable Communities (VMPRVC)

    The vision of this program is a just, egalitarian society that is free from the indignity of poverty.

    The mission is to institutionalize a village movement seeking freedom from poverty and human rights abuse of the vulnerable through Gono Gobeshona (GG) or people’s action research in a social laboratory.

    The Project Goal is to stimulate and sustain a village movement to protect, preserve and promote the rights of the vulnerable community; create a space of tolerance and respect for diversity and evolve an approach that is sustainable and replicable.  Secondly, to build a center of excellence to consolidate, carry forward and replicate the village movement to other parts of the country.

    Our commitment is to protect, preserve and promote human rights of the vulnerable communities and dignity and freedom from poverty. This program is addressing the following major issues within this frame:

    • Institutionalizing Human Rights through Gono Gobeshona (people’s action research) in Brotee and in villages (as a social lab for Human Rights)
    • Initiate and strengthen local participatory and democratic process to preserve and protect human rights of the people by the people.
    • Build bridges through communal harmony, dialogue and consensus between mainstream and the vulnerable and majority must take responsibility to protect them from abuse and indignity.
    • Seek freedom from poverty for the ‘ultra poor’ vulnerable.

    Project strategy and management: Gono Gobeshona (People’s Action Research)

    The strategy of the project is that villagers themselves promote, protect and preserve the rights of the vulnerable in their communities and they take responsibility for their own ultra poor. Project management is through participatory monitoring and program evaluation. Periodical audit will keep both program and finance on track and under close observation.
    VMPRVC project have practiced in Gono Gobeshona method. It is a people centered development process. Gono Gobeshona is not any kind of research in traditional meaning, it is a process to discover the own power of marginalized people. The process runs with practical action.

    Brotee believe that Gono Gobeshona is the most appropriate way to ensure human rights. The process of Gono Gobeshona is ‘search --> analysis --> action --> search --> analysis --> action’.

    Specific objectives

      • Replicate and spread the HR movement to other areas/villages and extension of the GG-HR (Human Rights through Gono Gobeshona) approach.
      • Evolve village ownership to sustain VMPRVC and Gono Gobeshona movement and the GG-HR approach for and action plan for the future from learning.
      • Develop Brotee as a center for Gono Gobeshona (people’s action research) for Human Rights and poverty reduction.
      • Institution building for GG-HR in village by advocacy, communication and dissemination and evolve social laboratory for GG-HR approach.

     

    Activities:

    • Organize GGD (Gono Gobeshona Dal), Village Advisory committees, cooperatives and process to replicate the program & continuation
    • Beneficiaries’ capacity building to replicate GG-HR movement
    • Progression of promoting & protecting human rights of the marginalized and governance through mobilization of the villages
    • Strategic planning based on findings from impact assessment, community opinion by baseline survey and action plan
    • Initiate micro enterprise and self-employment opportunities of ultra poor cooperatives and GGDs by skill development training and establish linkages with SME (Small Enterprises) service providers.
    • Motivate and mobilize community for ownership and support to youth groups and contribute to keep GG-HR process going by establishing linkages between GGDs with villagers, Us (Union Perished or Union Council), Papilla Perished (Sub district council) & other stakeholders, village service providers.
    • Replicate all activity steps of GG-HR approach in new villages.
    • Strengthen staff capacity and specialization within Brotee on GG-HR by planning workshops, capacity-building trainings, cross learning visits, etc.
    • Standardize GG (Gono Gobeshona) methodology by sharing experts, comparing and practice.
    • Prepare documents and materials (bulletin, etc.). 
    • Training module on GG-HR.
    • Initiate advocacy, communication and dissemination program on GG-HR approach locally, nationally: UP, Upa Zilla (sub district council) level sharing meetings, workshops, village/Union Parishad/Upa Zilla level gathering / conventions and national seminars to gain support for HR (Human Rights) movement of the vulnerable.
    • Design and prepare Television message on HR of adivasi (ethnic people), the ‘vulnerable’.
    • Build collection center to display ethnic culture to promote diversity.

     

    Target Beneficiaries/Stakeholders

    PRIMARY STAKEHOLDERS

    The vulnerable & ultra- poor who are partners in development
    (as beneficiaries and benefactors)

    • Women and the ultra poor, especially from adivashi, ethno-religious minority;
    • The vulnerable and ultra poor youth, equally targeting boys and girls, will comprise two third of GGD (Gono Gobeshona Dal) members;
    • Youth, equally targeting boys and girls, from other mainstream categories will also be members of GGD;
    • Ultra poor peasants, targeting equally men and women, for cooperatives;
    • Members of Village Advisory Committees.

    The mainstream community

    • The ultra poor, the women, together with other influential social categories should be brought into the fold to integrate and promote majority-minority dialogue.

    The Union Parishad

    • Woman Ward Commissioners of UP will be especially targeted.

    SECONDARY STAKEHOLDERS

    CBOs (Community Based Organizations), VBOs (Village Based Organizations), Government Departments, service providers and local legal aid agencies, NGO (Non Government Organization) linkages that may benefit the primary stakeholders

    Geographic location

    District Upazilla (Sub district) Union Parishad (Union Council)
    Naogaon Manda & Mahadevpur 3
    Rajshahi Tanore 2
    Total: 2 Districts 3 Upazilla 5 Unions & 36 Villages

    IMPACT/RESULTS OF THE PROJECT

    As an impact of the project, the HR movement acquires the following salient features in villages where initiated:

    GG (Gono Gabeshona) approach as the starting point for rights based changes in villages: The project applied Brotee’s own variety of Gonogobeshona or people’s action research approach as a method of strategic village mobilization within a ‘Human Rights’ framework. The success of this approach is the rationale for institutionalizing, replicating and spreading the messages of the effectiveness of Gono Gobeshona and the Human Rights Framework in bringing fundamental changes in thought process, attitudes and practices amongst the villagers.

    Social inclusion, gender harmony and communal integration: The ultra poor, women, ethnic/religious minority, young village girls and boys are equal actors of change. Integration, building bridges of consensus and ensuring wide representation/participation of the village people in fighting HR violation and communal discrimination are key elements.

    A truly bottom up participatory and democratic process to social change is another major feature. Participatory decision-making and local planning begins. They are factors essential for self-reliance.

    Human resources development for HR Human Rights): When 360 young people declare to be HR (Human Rights), defenders there can be no doubt about the success of HRD (Human Resource Development) in this project. They are now organized Human Rights activists, have some savings and are ready to invest in small village enterprises to achieve self-employment.
     
    Local fund generation by hardcore poor: The cooperative of the ultra poor has raised funds for themselves. In order to build trust within the cooperative groups the project trained in transparent fund management. Thus increased fund management is concomitant with the improved cooperative capacity and its increase in number and activities.
     
    Good governance and social management: The GG-HR process has led to social governance and village management of human rights abuse and poverty. HR village structures/processes such as cooperatives, GGD, Gram Upodeshta Parishad (Village Advisory Council) and Gram Shova (Village Assembly) are participatory and transparent.

    Local capacity building and linkage strategy: The mechanism to address local problems such as deprivation, illiteracy, child marriage and dowry - is increasingly growing locally. Leadership in village youths, advisory committee of elders, cooperatives of the ultra poor - are all part of local capacity building and social mobilization.

    Institutional linkage with local government: Strong institutional linkage has been established between village youths and the local government. They are able to negotiate service from these agencies. Linkage with local elected bodies (Union Council) has led to successful instances of consultations between villagers and the UP in such cases as distribution of VGD (Vulnerable Group Development) cards, fertilizers during crisis, stopping child marriage, free sanitary latrines to the poorest, etc.

    Impacts of the project on poverty, gender, environment and policy

    The project has contributed effectively to the process of promoting and protecting human rights of the marginalized and governance through mobilization of the villages. A basic value of this approach is the poor villagers are our partners for social change and not beneficiaries. Hence, the project was careful not to turn partners into beneficiaries and therefore kept no provision of giving inputs in cash or kind. The approach thus led to cooperative formation, alternative means of local fund raising and savings groups investing in income generation leading to poverty reduction strategies. The project initiated cooperatives of the ultra poor. They save money, give loan to each other at low rates of interest. This has had a good impact on reducing dependency on moneylenders.

    There are visible indicators that directly show improvement in the HR status of the villages where Brotee is working presently. Dowry marriages and child marriages have reduced; poor children are going to school; adult illiteracy schools also started. Some villages have improved their environment by achieving 100% sanitation.

    Financed by:

    Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF)