VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.


Climate and peoples’ livelihood

By farjana - Posted on 06 August 2009

Despite strong pressure from communities and NGOs, the ADB continues to support destructive carbon-intensive development projects such as coal-fired power stations, large dams and private sector-biased highways, thereby accelerating the adverse impacts of increasing global temperatures. Farjana Akter of VOICE, an active Forum member, talks about the consequences of such reckless programs and direct impact of climate change in Bangladesh.

Most of the rural people of Bangladesh think that the changing climate, as well as the frequent natural disasters, happened by God's hand. These are natural disasters. They also think that because of our sins God gives us these troubles. These simple and vulnerable people are quite far removed from global politics and injustice order. They do not know that they are victims of climate change.

North must pay ecological debts to south

By farjana - Posted on 29 July 2009

The southern countries are suffering from the global climate change impacts and the northern countries should compensate them for the ecological degradation speakers said in a panel discussion  on 'Climate justice towards CoP 15 Copenhagen, ecological debts: We are the creditors' jointly arranged by EquityBD, Jubilee South-Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Philippines, Media Foundation for Trade and Development, SUPRO, VOICE and Unnayan Onneshan at the National Press Club on 27th of July 2009, Dhaka.

Lidy Nacpil, convenor of Jubilee South-APMDD, a regional network in the Philippines, referred the example of the Bolivian government which formally placed the demand of ecological debt to UNFCC in its Bonn conference in June.She said the north has exploited the rights of all human beings who have equal shares to the global commons which include ozone layer, air and on natural resources. These global commons should be utilised in equitable and sustainable way. The north has exploited those and also created negative consequences like present climate crisis.

MYMENSINGH MUNICIPALITY Majority people out of water supply coverage

By farjana - Posted on 18 July 2009

http://www.newagebd.com/2009/jul/16/home.html

Most of the dwellers in the Mymensingh municipality are out of water supply coverage and those who are under the supply network never get water round the clock, a study showed.

Only 22 per cent of the dwellers have access to the municipality water supply while the rest 78 per cent collect water from other sources, revealed the study of VOICE, a research group.
 The study showed that a large number of dwellers are pilfering water through illegal connections as corruption and mismanagement in water supply go rampant in the municipality.

‘The municipality supplies water only for four hours a day, leaving the dwellers in serious problems,’ Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, said revealing the findings of study. He said the study was carried out recently to assess the current state of people’s access to safe drinking water in Mymensingh municipality.

Around 25 per cent respondents said, they fell victims to fake bills while 90 per cent of them complained about irregular supply of water. Most of them also had complaints about safety of the supplied water.

Sharing Meeting on Findings of the Research on Water Sector Transparency and Accountability

By farjana - Posted on 15 July 2009

[VOICE, Dhaka, 14 July 2009] Speakers at a sharing meeting held today in Dhaka stressed the need for water access rights to be guaranteed by supply management systems across all municipalities in Bangladesh. The group concurred that this could only be achieved through greater transparency and accountability.

Organized by VOICE, a research and activist group, the roundtable was held in the city’s SUPRO’s meeting room. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE presented the meeting with the findings of research conducted by VOICE on water sector transparency and accountability in the Mymensingh municipality.

“The municipality only supplies four hours of water per day, which causes serious problems for consumers.” Said Ahmed Swapan. “Twenty-five percent of our research participants said that they have been victims of fake billing, while ninety percent complained that they did not receive a regular water supply.”

The research reveals that consumers suffer due to consistent impurities with the water supply, as seventy-six percent of users are dissatisfied about the cleanliness of their municipal water. The findings also show that only twenty-two percent of residents are covered by the municipality's water supply, while other seventy-eight percent are forced to collect water from different sources.

Sharing Meeting on Findings of the Research on Water Sector Transparency and Accountability

By farjana - Posted on 14 July 2009

Sharing Meeting on Findings of the Research on Water Sector Transparency and Accountability

Venue: Meeting room, COAST Trust, Shyamoli, Dhaka-1207

Time: 3:00pm

Date: 15th July 2009

VOICE will present the findings of a research on water sector transparency and accountability, a case of Mymensingh municipality. It will also screen a documentary titled Troubled Waters.

 

Neoliberal doctrines fail to cut poverty Seminar told

By farjana - Posted on 06 July 2009

Neoliberal doctrines fail to cut poverty Seminar told

Privatisation and trade liberalisation instigated by neoliberal doctrines have failed to reduce poverty or ensure social protection for the poor, instead it increased concentration of wealth and disparity in the society, speakers said at a seminar yesterday.

Neoliberalism did not only cause a devastating consequence to developing countries like Bangladesh, it also has shaken the northern economy, they added.

A comprehensive set of social protection policies must be introduced to replace the unfocused and ad hoc social safety net as a strategy of addressing poverty, they said.

This should be looked into with rights-based approach instead of mere service delivery, they suggested.

Neoliberalism is a political view, arising in the 1960s, that emphasises the importance of economic growth and asserts that social justice is best maintained by minimal government interference and free market forces.

The seminar on 'Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies' was organised by VOICE, a research and public education organisation, at the National Press in Dhaka.

Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies

By farjana - Posted on 05 July 2009

[Dhaka, 5 July 2009] Speakers in a seminar spoke about how neoliberal policy doctrines have failed to reduce poverty or ensure social protection for the poor. Neoliberalism has not only had devastating consequences in developing countries like Bangladesh, it has also shaken the northern economy.

The seminar titled `Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies’ was held in the city’s national press club today. It was organized by VOICE, a research and public education organization and moderated by its executive director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud. The panel included Monower Mustafa, a researcher and development activist; Mohsin Ali, Coordinator of Governance Advocacy Forum; and Saiful Haq, Genral Secretary of Biplobi Workers Party. Ahmed Swapan Mahmud also presented Voice’s keynote paper at the seminar.

 “Neoliberal policies have been proved ineffective and have failed to offer any better solution for society.” said Ahmed Swapan Mahmud. “Rather, they create marginalization, deprivation, economic injustice, insecurity and poverty at large.” Mentioning existing Social Safety Net Programms (SSNPs) he told the seminar that these ad-hoc measures are merely neoliberal tools, while the programmes do not play any real role reducing poverty.

A seminar on Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies

By farjana - Posted on 28 June 2009

Subject : Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies

Date : 5 July 2009

Time : 10 am.-1:00pm.

Venue : VIP Lounge, National Press Club

Speakers : Eminent economists, sociologist, academicians, NGOs leaders and civil society activists

Organized by : VOICE

You are coordially invited.

Regards,

Ahmed Swapan

Cell No. 01711881919
www.voicebd.org

International Financial Institutions: A Threat to Food Sovereignty

By farjana - Posted on 21 June 2009

Being homeless, losing livelihood, starvation, poverty etc. are just some everyday realities for many people, even for communities, in developing countries. People are constantly struggling for claiming their rights and sovereignty over food, environment and natural resources. Unfortunately, people are not only deprived of their rights, but their livelihood is threatened by market forces and controlled by market-led economy. Though late, but now it is recognized that multinational companies are mainly making profit and controlling world’s natural resources in the name of creating employment opportunity.

Surveillance and censorship on internet criticised

By farjana - Posted on 08 June 2009

Civil society members at a roundtable on Thursday criticised the government for imposing surveillance and censorship on Internet access and for the move for re-registration of mobile SIMs by taking details of individual subscribers.

They also feared that details of individuals, which were stored for the preparing the national identity cards and which were given for re-registration of mobile SIMs, could be abused by the government or any other agencies to undermine democratic values.

‘For free flow of information and peoples right to know, no government should impose surveillance and censorship on Internet access and block any websites,’ said former chairman of Bangladesh Telecommu-nication Regulatory Commission, Syed Margub Morshed, at the roundtable held at National Press Club.

VOICE, a right-based activist group, organised the roundtable on ‘Access to Information: Internet Surveillance and Censorship vs People’s Rights Protection’.

Margub said that it would be a futile exercise if anybody wants to block any website to censor or hide any information.