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On the 8th of February 2017, the USAID-funded Protecting Human Rights (PHR) Program of Plan International organized a final close out event entitled: “Voices from the Grassroots.” The objective of the event was to share PHR’s Life of Project (LOP) achievements, lessons learned, challenges and sustainability plan of the program. In addition to conveying the impact and successes of PHR over the past six years, this event also provided an opportunity for the audience to hear from grassroots stakeholders on the contributions of PHR to eliminate domestic violence, prevent child marriage, and improve human rights for all at the union, upazila, district and national levels. A total of 112 participants (Female 44 and Male 68) from different government ministries and agencies, USAID, donors, development partners, PHR human rights champions, leading women’s rights activists, civil society representatives, academia and journalists took part in the event.
Special remarks were delivered by Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki, Honourable State Minister of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA); H.E. Marcia Bernicat, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh; Ms. Janina Jaruzelski, Mission Director, USAID/Bangladesh; Ms. Nasima Begum, NDC, Secretary of MOWCA, Ms. Nurun Naher Osmani, Member of National Human Rights Commission; Ms. Syeda Assma Kakoli, Acting Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh and Advocate Salma Ali, Executive Director of BNWLA.
In the event, grassroots voices included PHR social Worker, champion, legal counsellor, village police, Union Violence against Women and Children Committee Member, Survivors of domestic violence and child marriage, as well as District Women Affairs Officer, Union Parishad Chariman and a teacher shared their experience working with PHR. Their speeches highlighted their work for PHR transformed them into ‘agents of change’ in the community and furthered their capacity to ‘break the silence’ against any form of violence towards women and children.
The audience learned more about PHR’s achievements and program impact through a video documentary and presentation from Dr. Henry Alderfer, Chief of Party of PHR Program.
The Chief Guest, Meher Afroze Chumki, State Minister of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in her speech said: “Domestic violence is one of the key barriers to the empowerment of women. We all should consider gender and related socio-economic inequality and if we can strengthen women in certain areas such as preventing child marriage and increasing women’s education it will definitely support the Bangladesh government to reach its Sustainable Development Goals.”
H.E. Marcia Bernicat, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, spoke of the successes of PHR over the past six years and said: “Silence in the face of violence condones this violation of human dignity and sends the message that it is acceptable. ‘Break the silence.’ The USAID’s Protecting Human Rights Project is coming to a close; but, the important work of preventing gender-based violence continues. I urge you all to remain committed; Break the Silence.”
Ms. Janina Jaruzelski, Mission Director, USAID/Bangladesh, thanked PHR for its most successful program over the past six years “as a collective effort that brought together multi-stakeholders under one umbrella. I appreciate PHR for its outstanding achievements, particularly ensuring justice for women in the community. PHR provided essential services to 60,000 rural women that relieved them from harmful practices. USAID is deeply committed to protect human rights, which will continue.”
The event concluded by presenting awards to the 12 partner organizations who were recognized for their “outstanding performance and lasting contributions to Protecting Human Rights (PHR) Program from 2012 – 2016.” Ohetuk began the program with an outstanding performance of the national anthems of Bangladesh and the US, and concluded the event with a cultural show.
Desher Khabor: http://desherkhobor.net/?p=15788