Technical assistance

Civil society and NGOs demand transparency in Sylhet flood assistance

Civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs demanded transparency and accountability of humanitarian aid in the post-flood response in Sylhet.

In a virtual press conference on Saturday, the Sylhet Division Chapter of the Bangladesh NGO-CSO Coordination Process (BDCSO process) requested to give operational leadership to local NGOs.

They also urged UN agencies and INGOs to limit their role to monitoring and technical assistance, a BDCSO press release said.

While moderating the event, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of the COAST Foundation, said there should be a transparent and competitive policy on the disbursement of funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (STAG).

“This time it’s $5 million, as announced by the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, the fund shouldn’t just be for UN agencies, the Red Cross and to large national NGOs like previous practice $2.5m has already been raised by the UN, there is little disclosure of INGO funding.

He insisted that there be a policy on building a sustainable and accountable local civil society in Sylhet, and that funds be disbursed according to open, competitive and transparent practices.

During the broadcast, Nayeem Gowhar Warha, secretary of the Disaster Forum, urged the government to delegate a senior official as relief commissioner to Sylhet and Sunamganj for relief coordination.

He also urged all UN and NGOs to inform about their money and plan to UN and DCs in Sylhet. This aid should be seen as a right of the people and not as charity.

AKM Jashim Uddin, director of the Association of Development Agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), said that given the Grand Bargain commitment, the UN and INGOs should consider allocating at least 25% of funds to local NGOs.

Abul Kalam Azad, executive director of the Workers’ Association for Alternative Rural Development (AWARD), said there were several advantages to working with local NGOs, including that they know how to reach remote areas, manage the operation at a lower cost and that they have regular contact with the administration which is involved in the coordination.

Tofazzel Hossain, Chairman of BDCSO process in Sylhet, Babul Akhter, Coordinator of ADAB Sylhet, Badrul Islam, Executive Director of Jaintia Shinnomul Songstha (JASHIS), Badrul Akter ADAB Secretary in Sylhet, Sazzadur Rahman, Executive Director of PODDHA Sylhet and Jobair Hossain, Executive Director of Shatadol Sylhet also spoke at the session.