22 May 2013, Dhaka. BRAC’s community empowerment programme (CEP) with the support of Saferworld has initiated a project on community safety and security, titled “Improving the conditions for reconstruction and development in South Sudan, Yemen and Bangladesh Project”. The project aims to improve public safety and security at the grassroots community level and contribute to more effective and accountable state institutions. It uses a participatory framework built on the active engagement of rural communities in identifying safety and security concerns and comes up with local context-sensitive solutions to address those issues. Its current project is an extended replication of a successful piloting by BRAC and Saferworld, which will work with communities to identify their security needs, and with those who are best placed to respond to them, including local authorities and development actors.
A high level meeting of BRAC and Saferworld was held on May 11, 2013, at BRAC Centre in attendance of Dr Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director, BRAC and Mr Paul Murphy, Executive Director, Saferworld, and both shared their valuable opinions regarding this new initiative in perspective of Bangladesh. Ms Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment Programme & Integrated Development Programme, BRAC and Ms Chamila Hemmathagama, Head of South Asia Programme, Saferworld were also present in the meeting and shared their profound views throughout the meeting.
CEP shared the findings of community safety and security needs assessment conducted at the project sites to give a clear understanding of the local safety and security concerns. The attendees emphasised on the contribution of BRAC-Saferworld partnership to create safer communities by increasing public safety and security through more active, informed and inclusive societies. They highlighted the importance of creating a platform for sharing this participatory based project learning and experiences at both national and international levels, for ensuring the betterment of the community people by responding to their safety and security needs more accurately.
A few of the staffs who work at the grassroots level, pointed out that the longer timeframe of the project gradually makes the development easier which also leads to the consistency. They also referred to the vibe of progress of the project as self realisation of the community people has already started taking place during the systematic process of focus group discussion. Mr Murphy concluded by mentioning their eagerness on continuing their collaboration with BRAC by teaming up and learning together. He also specified that the best way to manage such projects is by keeping the communication channels as much open as possible. The Community Safety and Security Project is being implemented across 16 sites within five districts of south-western region of Bangladesh, i.e. Faridpur, Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Jessore, and Satkhira, for the duration of June 2012 to June 2016. This project is being funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Royal Netherland Embassy, and the Netherlands through Saferworld.