Search

 

Cablegate: Bangladeshi Ngo "Rupantar" Is Agent of Positive

VZCZCXRO0691
RR RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1199 2050738
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240738Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4591
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9194
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8019
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1746
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0046
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0841

UNCLAS DHAKA 001199

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWMN PGOV PHUM PREL BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESHI NGO "RUPANTAR" IS AGENT OF POSITIVE
SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

FORWARD
========

1. In 1995 Rupantar (Bengali for "transformation") began
promoting grassroots democratic organization, efficient and
participatory local governance, gender equality and
environmental awareness with USAID direct funding. Rupantar
is now active in 61 of Bangladesh's 64 Districts focusing its
activities at the union parishad level, which is the smallest
administrative unit of internal governance in Bangladesh.
Rupantar uses citizen committees to encourage more responsive
local government and relies on folk theater and traditional
style songs to communicate its message to largely illiterate
audiences; both of which are proving to be effective
mechanisms for social change in Bangladesh. Emboffs visited
Botlagari union parishad to assess Rupantar's achievements.

CITIZENS COMMITTEES
===================

2. Emboffs met with the local citizens committee created
through Rupantar's "Improving Local Level Governance by
Strengthening Union Parishads and Creating Citizen's
Awareness" program in Botlagari union parishad of Nilfamari
district. These citizens act as an advisory committee working
in conjunction with the union parishad's elected officials.
The committee members' statements were unanimously positive
about the program; one woman commented that as little as
three years ago she felt alienated by her local government,
but now she feels and acts like a stakeholder. Rupantar
encouraged tax reforms which increased local tax revenue by
an average of 50 percent in four years. The citizen's forums
work with the elected officials in deciding how these locally
generated taxes are best spent. The relationship between the
Botlagari citizen's committee and the union parishad
officials has been so successful, that it is being considered
for use as a model for other union parishads.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH
==================

3. Rupantar interacts with the overall community in each
union parishad through training courses, research, and folk
theater. Before and after meeting with the Botlagari citizens
committee, emboffs observed a folk theater performance by a
Rupantar troupe along with approximately 300 people from the
community. That day's theme was leadership, which is just one
of over thirty topics which can be presented by Rupantar's
troupes. The songs were accompanied by pictures which
reinforced the message. With titles like "Necessity of
Leaders" and "Inefficient Leadership," the songs were highly
critical of corrupt and inept leaders, and according to
Embassy FSN, used surprisingly blunt language. A play about
the ruin of a leader who gave into the temptation of
corruption followed the songs. Audience interest was high
particularly among the children present.

RUPANTAR'S UNIQUE STATUS
========================

4. USAID's provision of direct funding to Rupantar is
exceptional. USAID has taken this step because Rupantar's
organizational goals, budgetary transparency, horizontal
organizational schema, and low operating expense set it apart
from other Bangladeshi NGOs. Most are hierarchical and
therefore susceptible to undetected manipulation from the
upper organizational levels. Rupantar received a grant of
$500,000 in 2001, another $600,000 in 20005, and may be
eligible for further aid in 2008. USAID's assistance is
effectively communicated to the people through logos on signs
displayed at the Rupantar events.
PASI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>