The EJWG is working from August 2007 until December 2007 to prepare ground work for building a network nationwide later.
On 1st September 2007 the group, in a meeting, feels that following rationales are the basis to form this Equity and Justice Working Group.
(i) In a growth led economy, inequality and injustice is increasing which are major reasons for marginalization and pauperization.
(ii) Due to lack of education on human right and democratic culture, reform agenda does not get support and, moreover, this is a matter of value creation at the end rather than imposition of legal aspects.
(iii) There are lot of potential local activist whose activism are hardly linked to policy influencing mobilization at macro level, who should also be organized apart from established leaders.
(iv) Apart from NGOs / CSOs there are a lot of individual activists who can mobilize in local level better and on whom general mass has confidence, but they are not attached to any platform. They should be considered to be organized.
Vision, Mission and Strategies:
Taking this in purview, the group has decided following vision, mission and strategies;
EJWG like to see a world and Bangladesh with an economy of equity and justice and a society with a culture of human right and democracy.
To promote policy debate and practice / behavioral changes by activism of campaign and mass mobilization with micro macro linkages.
(i) If possible where necessary the group will go for positive engagement with government as government is the biggest representation of the people.
(ii) Made easy of the macro level policy discourse and disseminate it to as much as possible in micro level, simultaneously taking feedbacks and realities of micro level to feed up to the macro level to sensitize important stakeholders.
(iii) Initiate education / sensitization activities tailored to especially young generation of population so that values of equity, justice, human rights and democracy implanted in the culture.
(iv) We will give importance to local level activist and activism at least in district level for further period.
Course of actions up to January 2008
The group has decided following course of action for the period toward a declaration of nation wide network by January 2008.
(i) Preparation of draft norms and procedures based on above rationales, vision, mission and strategies for self governance of network.
(ii) Preparation of a draft indicative strategic plan for next six years and operational plan for next three years.
(iii) Selection of at lest 3 activist from each of 64 districts, from whom one will be invited in a national convention.
(iv) National convention will be held either on December 2007 or January 2008 where all those vision, mission, strategies, rules and procedures will be discussed and finalized.
(v) Meantime during this period the group will conduct following campaign sharing resources from their own as follows.
(a) Not to have PSI agreement with IMF (September)
(b) Foreign Aid and Bangladesh Indebt ness (October) in solidarity with global week of action on Debt and IFIs.
(c) Campaign to uphold the spirit of food sovereignty, observation of world rural women day country wide, stand up and speak out for poverty reduction (October).
(d) Three years of PRSP: A people’s audit (November).
After formal launching of the network during January 2008, network committees in districts will be formed during March 2008.
People behind the Group
Basically it is the group who also were behind the formation of SUPRO Bangladesh (www.supro.org). Since 2001 the group has given its sincere effort to make SUPRO as an identical policy campaign and advocacy organization both in local and national level. In the beginning COAST has initiated and supported SUPRO with all her resources until it got funding in 2003.
In SUPRO there were campaign on democratization of political parties, critical participation in PRSP process, annual budget discourse, campaign against neo liberal economics continuously especially on the eve of WTO Cancun and Hong Kong meetings, campaign for independent anti corruption commission, MDG on the eve of UN + 5 summit and mid term review during July 2007 etc. Two training manuals (Integration of right based approach and political economy of globalization) have also been developed and courses implemented countrywide.
During October 2006 to August 2007 this group members faced several limitations in respect of activism due to ideological differences with other committee members in SUPRO. After 11 months of impasse the group decided to relinquish and intended to form this EJWG. This group is to work with new strategies and also with new vision based on previous experiences, values and social analysis. But of course with renewed commitment to create distinct separate identity of local activists.