One of the benefits of VSO is that you can go and work in other areas of the country if a partner NGO has a particular need for some work that you’re able to do for them. It’s similar to a mini-secondment system. And so last month I left Sylhet for two weeks and went to work with some other indigenous community rights NGOs on their IT systems. This normally would be astonishingly boring, except these NGOs are based in the dangerous, treacherous, primitive and absolutely wonderful Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Continue reading ‘The Chittagong Hill Tracts’
Last weekend I was finally able to get out of my office and go and conduct some field research, a Participatory Rural Appraisal, to use the technical name. My NGO got the funding from VSO, and we’re aiming to go to 15 indigenous community villages all around Sylhet division, which is an area almost the size of South Wales. It’s an essential survey for us, as it will able us to obtain crucial information on the situation of our beneficiries, so as to be able to design our projects better. I just wish it wasn’t during the monsoon.
Continue reading ‘What kind of culture embraces wrestling, but rejects toilet paper?’
Despite the urban behemoth that is Dhaka, Bangladesh is still overwhelmingly a rural country, and a few weeks ago I finally got to leave our office in Sylhet city to go out and visit one of the villages my organisation works with. ECDO currently operates in two districts of the main Sylhet division, and we 22 villages are involved with our projects, over a very wide geographical area.
Our purpose of the visit was to set up a new Education Support Centre in the village of Guabari, where we have already done a few smaller interventions, including the building of a Rain Water Harvesting Plant last year. To get there was a real mission, step by step extracting us from the modern world; taking first the bus for an hour, then when the bus could go no further we took a rickshaw, and when the rickshaw could go no further due to the deteriorating road, we simply had to walk out of the town and continue two miles across a dried-up valley towards this little hamlet tucked away on a hill. It was virtually on the border with India, and you could clearly see an Indian border post high up on the top of a larger hill-side, gazing suspiciously at Bangladesh below.
Continue reading ‘A different world in Bangladesh’
Tuesday was a momentous day for me, my organisation and the indigenous people of Sylhet Division – http://www.ecdo-bd.org was launched.
This is the new website of my NGO, which details all the work we do, our aims, and also features unique information and resources about the indigenous peoples of the region, the very latest academic research and analysis on their situation and future.
It also hosts photos of our work and the area we work in.
Our website makes me proud for several reasons – firstly, I hope it can serve as a new bridge between the indigenous people of Sylhet and the rest of the world, sharing information and highlighting their problems. In creating access for development professionals, international donors and academics, we are creating awareness, and opportunity for change.
Continue reading ‘Ethnic Community Development Organisation Website!’