As a part of the continuous efforts to strengthen the local justice services at rural level for the marginalized including destitute women, ‘Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Project’ organized two Media Workshops on “Role of Media in Activating Village Courts” on May 15 and 19th respectively in Gopalganj and Rajbari. The project arranged these workshops aiming to avail the local media (print and electronic) acquainted with the VCs in endeavors to activate the village courts. The workshops sensitized the local journalists for enhancing wider media coverage on village courts and its merits on rural community in accessing to justice services.
Mr. Sheikh Yusuf Harun, Deputy Commissioner, Gopalganj, and Ms. Syeda Shahana Bari, Deputy Commissioner attended the respective workshops as Chief Guests. Among others, Mr. Abdul Kuddus Amin, SP, Mr. Md. Moniruzzaman, ADC General, Md. Rashedul Islam, ADM attended the Gopalganj workshop and Mr. Moha. Aminul Islam, ADC General, Mr. AKM Shamimul Haque Siddique, ADM of Rajbari attended at the Rajbari workshops. Mr. Md. Aktar Uddin, Communication Officer, AVCB, UNDP delivered the key technical presentation at both the workshops. The workshops highlighted the issues of village courts in the context of Bangladesh, and the perspectives, needs and potential of VCs as well as, how media can have effective role in advancing VCs at union level. In total 96 journalists of national and local media from the mentioned districts (including respective concerned upazilas) attended the workshops.
Reflection Workshop held for Village Courts Project
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) project organized an day and half Project Reflection Workshop at BIAM Foundation on 11th – 12th May with an agenda to ensure stronger coordination, devise follow up plan of monitoring visit findings, develop a common understanding on the quality and implementation modality and inter-component coordination the as well as promoting GOB involvement within the project. Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan, National Project Director and Additional Secretary, Local Government Division, MoLGRD&C attended the Workshop as Chief Guest while Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarker, Director General, Monitoring, Inspection and Evaluation (MIE) wing of LGD, Ms. Shamima Nargis, Deputy Secretary-UP, LGD and Ms. Nandita Dutta, Programme Analyst, UNDP were present as Special Guests. Representatives from NGOs engaged in helping LGD for grassroots level capacity building, social mobilization in 4 divisions and the project management team took part in the workshop and shared their knowledge on ways to rebuild people’s confidence in village courts and field experiences regarding multi-stakeholders involvement.
Workshop on Village Courts Project M & E Framework held
With a view to strengthening the monitoring and oversight function of Village Courts Project, the “Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh” Project organized a consultative workshop at national level on May 05, 2011 at BRAC Center Inn.
The workshop shared the “Monitoring and Evaluation Framework” (final draft version) with key stakeholders including Local Government Division (LGD), MoLGRD&C, Monitoring, Inspection and Evaluation (MIE) wing of LGD, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), Planning Division, UNDP and PNGOs-working at field level implementation. The participants of the workshop were very keen to provide their thoughtful suggestions to improve this framework. Upon receiving and incorporating the feedback, the framework will be finalized.
The National Project Director, Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan was present as the Chief Guest while Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarker, Director General, MIE and Mr. Sarder M Assaduzzaman, Project Manager, AVCB Project were present as special guests.
District Workshops on “Role of Media in Activating Village Courts” held in Rangpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat
As a part of the continuous efforts to strengthen the local justice services at rural level for the marginalized including destitute women, ‘Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Project’ organized three Media Workshops on the “Role of Media in Activating Village Courts at Union Level” on April 24, 26 and 28th at Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari and Rangpur respectively. The aim of these workshops was to build awareness among the local media (print and electronic) about the VCs efforts and activities in activating the village courts. The workshops sensitized the journalists for enhancing wider media coverage on village courts and its merits on rural community in accessing to justice services. Mr. Md. Mokhlechar Rahman Sarcar, Deputy Commissioner, Lalmonirhat, Mr. B M Enamul Haque, Deputy Commissioner, Rangpur and Mr. Md. Abdul Mannan, Additional Deputy Commissioner were present as Chief Guests. Among others, Mr. Shariful Haque, Senior ASP, Mr. Md. Ruhul Amin Khan, ADC General, Dr. Md. Mosharraf Hossain, ADM attended the Rangpur workshop and Mr. Kamruzzaman, DDLG, Mr. Nizam Uddin, RDC of Rangpur & Mr. Md. Abu Jubair Hossain, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Lalmonirhat attended the workshop in their respective district. Terming the Media Workshops as very timely and important, the Deputy Commissioners applauded the project for coming up with this commendable initiative of grassroots level interactions which they believed would in fact help increase the pace of the progress in line with activating Village Courts. Mr. Md. Aktar Uddin, Communication Officer, AVCB, UNDP delivered the key technical presentation at all the workshops. In total, 132 journalists of national and local media from the mentioned districts attended the respective workshops. The journalists termed the workshop as an innovative initiative in advancing development journalism at local level.
National Technical Consultation held on Village Court Law Reform
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) project organized a National Technical Consultation on the Review of Legal Framework of Village Courts at the BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka on 20 April. Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan, Secretary, Local Government Division, MoLGRD&C attended the consultation as Chief Guest while Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan, National Project Director and the Additional Secretary of the same ministry presided over the event and Ms. Young Hong, Assistant Country Director, UNDP was present as Special Guest.
The Legal Expert of the Village Courts project presented the draft report on the review of legal reform of VC in the half-day consultation. The Chief Guest stressed the need for amending the Village Courts Act and framing new rules considering the practical need of the society and the impact of the change on other relevant laws. The consultation ended with a set of recommendations on various important issues of the reform of Village Court’s legal framework.
Mr. Khondkar Mahbub Hossain, President of Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association, Mr. Murad Reza, Additional Attorney General, Mr. Luc Patzelt, Programme Manager, European Union, members of Bangladesh judicial and administrative services working in the Metropolitan Court of Session, various ministries, representatives from civil society and NGO workers also attended the program. The Chief Guest acknowledged and appreciated EC and UNDP for providing major financial assistance and technical cooperation for this local justice project.
Training Workshop on gender, human rights & Village Courts held in Kishoreganj
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organized a training workshop on gender, human rights and Village Courts on Wednesday, 30 March in Kishoreganj. The event aimed to further the capacity of the district and upazila level government officials of Department of Women and Child Affairs, administration, UP Chairmen and other key stakeholders on gender, human rights and village courts issues. Md. Siddiqur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner, Kishoregonj inaugurated the workshop as Chief Guest while Additional Deputy Commissioner Nuruzzaman and Additional District Magistrate Haider Jahan Forash were present as special guests. Asia Alam, Chairman, Mithamoin UP presided over the inaugural session. A total of 57 participants including 37 women took part in the training. The participants came from judiciary, lawyers, women leaders, and stakeholders of the civil society.
Village Courts Project started training for Village Police
The Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project initiated a series of day-long training for Village Police at the field level across 500 UPs. The purpose of the training was to sensitize them on the Village Courts Act and Rules, and to enhance their capacity in their roles and responsibilities in activating the Village Courts function. In the first phase of the training, the project is targeting 2,240 Village Police in Dhaka and Rajshahi divisions with 30 village police members in each batch.
Consultative Workshop held on Village Court Law Reform
The Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh (AVCB) project organized a consultative workshop on the draft report of the Review of Legal Framework of Village Court at the UNDP CO on 16 March 2011. Mr. Stefan Priesner, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Young Hong, ACD, Nandita Dutta, Programme Analyst, Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Legal Advisor of UNDP and the Legal Experts and Project Manager from Access to Justice & Human Rights Projects of UNDP attended the workshop. Mr. Mahboob Murshed, Legal Expert of AVCB Project made a presentation on the draft findings of the legal review which was followed by a stimulated discussion. The participants critically analyzed and discussed the issue of enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of the Village Court, constitution of village court with more woman representation, issues of addressing domestic violence, restrictions on appeals, and restricting police from investigating offences triable by a Village Court etc. Stefan expressed his concern on the enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction referring this issue should be carefully dealt with in a country where per capita income is very low. He also expressed concern on the restriction of appeal from a decision of Village Court which to him is a human rights issue. Ms. Young Hong raised her concern on the domestic violence against woman and suggested incorporating necessary provision in the amendment to empower VC to try offences regarding domestic violence.
2nd PSC meeting of VCs project held
The second Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting of Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project held on Sunday, 23 January at Local Government Division (LGD), Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. Chaired by LGD Secretary Mr. Md. Abu Alam Shahid Khan, National Project Director of AVCB Project and Additional Secretary, LGD Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan was present in the discussion. Project Manager of AVCB Mr. Sarder M. Asaduzzaman apprised the meeting of progress of the project and EC-ROM Mission’s key findings and recommendations. The meeting discussed about the last three PIC meeting decisions and revised Log Frame of the project.
To Ts on Village Courts held
As part of series Training for Trainers (ToT) programs on Village Courts, Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organised three different slots of ToT on Village Courts (each slot continues for 12 days ) from November last year to January this year at National Institute of Local Government (NILG) in Dhaka. The project organised the ToTs to enhance capacity of the UP elected representatives, staff and CBO members in conducting the village courts efficiently. The closing ceremony of the ToTs was held on Sunday, 2 January at the same venue. A total of 69 participants from two partner NGOs- ESDO and MLAA took part in the training.
Workshop on “Role of Media in Activating Village Courts” held
As a part of continuous efforts to strengthen the local justice services at rural level for marginalised people including the destitute women, the Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organised a media workshop titled “Role of Media in Activating Village Courts at Union Level” on Wednesday, 15 December at Vandaria, Pirojpur. The project organised this workshop aimed at getting the local media, both print and electronic, familiar with Village Courts activities in a bid to activate the village courts.
Mr. M. Idris Siddique, Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Pirojpur was present at the programme as chief guest with Mr. Md. Khairul Hasan, UNO, Vandaria was in the chair. Terming the media workshop a ‘very timely and crucial event’, the ADM said the local journalists can play an instrumental role in advancing the process. The workshop highlighted the issues of village courts in country perspectives, needs and potential of VCs and how media can play an effective role in strengthening the local justice services at union level.
Communications Officer of Activating Village Courts project Mr. Md. Aktar Uddin made the key technical presentation at the workshop. A total of 35 journalists, both from national and local media from Vandaria Upazila and Pirojpur district, took part in the workshop.
Workshop on “Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation of Village Courts” held
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Project organised a workshop on “Institutional Monitoring and Evaluation of Village Court” on Tuesday, 28 December at BCS Admin Academy Auditorium, Dhaka.
The workshop was aimed at assessing the potentiality of decentralization of monitoring and oversight mechanism of Monitoring, Inspection and Evaluation (MIE), Local Government Division (LGD) under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives in a bid to strengthening Village Courts (VCs) at union level.
LGD Secretary Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan was present at the workshop as chief guest while Director General, BCSAA Mr. Fazle Kabir, and Project Manager of Village Courts project Mr. Sarder M Asaduzzaman as special guests. Presided over by National Project Director of VC project Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan, Additional Secretary, LGD, Director General of MIE Mr. Swapan Kumar Sarkar presented the keynote paper.
The Secretary opined that the existing Village Courts Act 2006 needs to be revised for formulating a balanced and effective law for the betterment of smooth functioning of village courts as it proves its merits in resolving local disputes. Speakers at the workshop also stressed the need for developing a strong and sustainable monitoring system of MIE for advancing village courts at union level.
Media workshop on VCs held in Sylhet
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organised a media workshop titled “Role of Media in activating Village Courts at Union Level” at South Surma, Sylhet on Saturday, 11 December. The project organised the workshop as part of its continuous efforts to strengthen the local justice services at rural level for the marginalised including destitute women. The workshop sensitised the media (both print and electronic) about the activities and role of Village Courts in establish justice at rural level.
Mr. Shamim Al Razi, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), General, Sylhet was present at the programme as chief guest while Mr. Rezaul Karim, Additional Police Commissioner, SMP as special guest. Terming the workshop as ‘very timely and crucial’, the ADC General opined that it will indeed sensitize the media to disseminate the information regarding village courts at local and national level through having necessary information on VCs. The workshop highlighted the issues of village courts in country perspectives, needs and potential of VCs and how media can have effective role in advancing VCs at union level. A total of 37 journalists from national and local media of the district took part in the workshop.
Training workshop on Gender, Human Rights, Village Courts held in Sylhet
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Project and upazila administration, South Surma, Sylhet organised a day-long training workshop on “Gender, Human Rights and Village Courts” on Monday, 13 December at South Surma Upazila, Sylhet. The workshop was aimed at developing the capacity of UP Chairmen, women elected representatives and other stakeholders by enhancing their knowledge and skills on gender, women empowerment, human rights and village court trial process to create sustainable access to justice for rural common, underprivileged and vulnerable women through a responsive local justice system. Mr. Abu Syed M. Hashim, Deputy Commissioner, Sylhet inaugurated the workshop as chief guest while Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr. Ahmed Shamim Al Raji was present as special guests. Upazila Nirbahi Officer Ms. Sultana Yasmin presided over the session. A total of 61 participants including 39 female took part in the workshop. The training workshop was concluded with `Five Point Commitments on Gender Mainstreaming’ at UPs and ensuring access to justice for the women at VCs made by the five UPs.
Village Courts holds annual planning workshop, retreat ’10
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organised an annual planning workshop and retreat 2010 at Jamuna Resort on 2-4 December aimed at finalising the project’s annual work plan 2011 and devising reflections of current year’s activity along with strengthening its team building. The programmes included presentation of component-wise work plan for the year of 2011, multi-year budget and analysed the lessons learned, challenges and way forward. National Project Director (NPD) of Village Court Project and Additional Secretary, Local Government Division (LGD), Mr. Syed Mahboob Hasan inaugurated the programme. UNDP Assistant Country Director Ms. Won Young Hong, Program Analyst Ms. Nandita Dutta, Program Officer Mr. Masud Karim spoke on the occasion while Project Manager Mr. Sarder Asaduzzaman presented the complied AWP 2011 in the annual planning workshop. The retreat ended with a colorful cultural night and fun games.
Tot on Village Courts begins at NILG
As part of series of 10 Training for Trainers (ToT) programs on Village Courts, Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project organised a 12 day-long training on Village Courts from 23 November to 4 December at National Institute of Local Government (NILG) in Dhaka. The project arranged this ToT program to enhance capacity of the UP elected representatives, staff and CBO members in running the village courts efficiently. Local Government Division (LGD) Secretary Mr. Abu Alam Md. Shahid Khan inaugurated the ToT program while NILG Director General Mr. Kabir M. Asharaf Alam chaired the session. Assistant Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh Ms. Won Young Hong and Training Director, NILG Mr. Akramul Haque attended the session as special guests.
The ToT program is expected to enhance the knowledge of the participants on basic training methods and procedures, relevant basic concepts of VCs i.e. good governance, judicial values, social justice, law and rules of VCs; attaining retention rate on the practical skills on conducting village courts and documentation process. A total of 24 participants (from partner NGOs ESDO-10 & MLAA-14) are taking part in the ToT.