Efforts for Rural Advancement
Background of Efforts for Rural Advancement
It is looming catastrophes of vulnerability of the grassroots in Sunamganj District caused for recurring disaster resulting in resource dearth, economic fragility, penury and plight. Sunamganj District comprises 11 Upazilas (Sub-Districts) including Bishowmberpur, Chhatak, Dakshin Sunamganj, Derai, Dharamapasa, Dowarabazar, Jagannathpur, Jamalganj, Sullah, Tahirpur and Sunamganj Sadar where 85% of the total areas of 3,669.58 sq. km are covered with waters characterized as the fen (Haor) and encompassed by the great rivers of Surma, Jadukata, Rakti, Boulai, Kalni and the likes recurring disaster (flash flood) and resource dearth. Demographically, the District represents the plural society of 85% Muslim, 13% Hindu, 1.2% Buddhist and 0.5% Christian and 0.3% other ethic race of the total 2467968 population involve inherently in different occupations. Of the population, 55% involved in small farming of mono crops, 15% in fishing, 3% in small entrepreneurship and 27% in labour wage. Malnourished workforce, unemployment, bankrupt economy and resource dearth for recurring disaster together trigger economic
downturn and thus, 87% people inevitably endure chronic food insecurity with increasing advance labour wages and ultimate wage-deprivation. It also increases penury, malnutrition, lack of safe water and sanitation and dreadful health hazards resulting in development deadlock in the District. The geographical and topographical context in Sunamganj District also causes an incommunicable context from service catchment and creates inaccessibility to service and resources thereby increasing poverty. Grassroots and minority or excluded ethnic people are enduring vulnerability for hindered access to services and resources making livelihoods impasse and cliched. An acute population growth, on the other hand, inexorably takes a turn of extreme vulnerability that subsequently leads to violence domestically and outsides. Grassroots women and children are mostly being the victims of vile violence e.g. early marriage, dowry, divorce, physical and mental harassment, illicit trafficking and flesh trade and the likes where they could not seek remedies for such violence for cultural, economic, legal and political factors. Women and girls
of the excluded section are more susceptible to such awful violence for hindered access to social safety nets and legal services for hidden apartheid resulting in a robust increase of victimization and violence across the wetlands. The more is the vulnerability the larger is the violence making women's livelihood complete effete. The average literacy rate in Sunamganj District is 49.75%, but the rate amongst the grassroots in rural settings is almost 23-25% which is below the national literacy rate thereby increasing unawareness of gender, rights, livelihoods and development deals. The literacy rate amongst the grassroots and excluded women is more minuscule (below 10%) and thus they are deprived and dis-empowered. They are not aware of the intricacy of women rights e.g. CEDAW, CAT and the likes where their rights and denials are always narrowed and neglected for inclusive discrimination resulting in an immense increase of violence against grassroots women and girls in the wetlands and river basin communities. Excluded women in the District are grossly deprived from rights based resources and services e.g. health,
education, shelter, safety nets, social and legal justice for double-discrimination in the face of gender and racial inequality and thus living in 3D contexts of Dirty, Danger and Difficult situations with the highest prevalence of vulnerability and violence. The excluded people, even the duty bearers and policy makers are not aware of and instrumental for inducing international Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and thus racial inequity & social exclusion is increased significantly. Children of the wetlands (Haor) communities in Sunamganj are sustaining with illiteracy and abuse of child rights thereby increasing violence, exploitation, abuse and negligence. Extreme poverty compel children to be dropped out from education at their early age and thus 45- 47% children in wetland communities are inevitably involved in hazardous child labour making childhood complete effete where duty bearers, parents and caregivers are not aware of child protection, child safeguarding and the Convention of Right of the Child (CRC). There is no assured public system yet to address the needs of the downtrodden
section and even implementation of any public scheme is still tardy and inadequate in the District. Despite sustaining with the contexts, duty bearers and policy makers are not instrumental to address the needs of the downtrodden dwellers in the wetlands or seldom respond to the issue lukewarmly without an effective end. Civil society is keeping eyes rolled as the excluded people do not have social and political space. They could not be organized and institutionalized to take an unequivocal stand on the points of their rights and empowerment where their voice is often vacillated as a political-play by political leaders who could not actuate improvement of livelihoods of the people of the last miles. Contemplating the contexts, the grassroots are institutionalized to establish an organization in name of “Efforts for Rural Advancement (ERA)” in Sunamganj District headquarter in July 1997 to draw a development-drive under leadership of the present Executive Director.
Organizational Vision/ Organizational Philosophy
ERA's views of how it would like the world to be, as its Vision is to envisage a poverty-free sustainable socio-economic equitable productive society. ERA's existence, its fundamental purpose. as its Mission is to establish a society where the disadvantaged people are united and organized, their basic rights are fulfilled and their needs are satisfied through initiating environmental and gender friendly sustainable livelihood options.
The guiding Values what ERA believes in principles, norms and culture are:
(d) Gender equity
(e) Mutual respect
Organizational Mission Statement
Era’s Mission is to establish a society where the disadvantaged people are united and organized, their basic rights are fulfilled and their needs are satisfied through initiating environmental and gender friendly sustainable livelihood options.
Sunamganj & Moulovibazar district
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