VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.

Speakers come down heavily on ADB

By voice - Posted on 07 April 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Staff Reporter - The New Nation

Immunity of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) should be rescinded forthwith to ensure accountability of the international financial institution, speakers demanded at a roundtable discussion yesterday. The special tribunal should scrutinise ADB's operations in the country, the speakers also demanded. VOICE organised the discussion on "Hear the Unheard: A Reality Check of ADB's Operations in Bangladesh" at the Conference Lounge of the National Press Club. Prof Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University (JU), Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Saiful Haque, General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh, Md Shamsoddoha, Secretary of Equity and Justice Working Group, Zakir Hossain and Aminur Rasul, among others, attended the roundtable.

Referring to Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of ADB as a sugar coated bitter pill, Anu Mohammad said the main purpose of the ADB is to exploit the people of Bangladesh rather than remove poverty from the country.

VOICE Seminar : “Gender Equality through Reflect Circles in Rural Bangladesh”

By voice - Posted on 03 April 2008

A Seminar was held yesterday afternoon (April 2nd, 2008) by VOICE at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) conference room in Uttara on the topic of “Gender Empowerment through Reflect Circles in Rural Bangladesh.”

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, and Parker Mah, VOICE ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) Intern, presented the seminar, which led off with an introductory speech by the Vice-Chancellor and Founder of IUBAT, Prof. M. Alimullah Miyan. The seminar culminated in the first-ever public screening of a new documentary production by VOICE, ‘Reflect Circles: Realities of Change,’ on the subject of their Reflect Circles.


VOICE translates the Paris Declaration into Bangla

By voice - Posted on 30 March 2008

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was endorsed on March 2nd, 2005, by more than one hundred signatories such as ministers, heads of agencies and senior officials, including all major donor and recipient governments. It presents a road-map intending to improve the efficiency of international aid. Along with giving the developing countries more power in the formulation and implementation of their policies, the Paris Declaration is based on 5 major principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results, and mutual accountability, that should, if applied, help achieve development outcomes that are more aligned with the developing countries' realities and needs.

For the first time, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness has been translated by VOICE into Bangla, so can now be easily spread amongst the Bangladeshi community.

Click below to access the full Paris Declaration, Bangla version.

International CSOs Letter to Asian Development Bank (ADB) Opposing Phulbari Coal Project

By voice - Posted on 22 March 2008

64 International civil society organizations including VOICE stated to ADB Board of Directors in a joint statement to discontinue it's involvement with the Phulbari Coal Project, Bangladesh. The project has already raised serious concerns among the people about displacement, human rights violations, environmental degradation, as well as the violation of several ADB policies. The project is scheduled for approval by the ADB board on 3rd June 2008.

To read the full letter and the details and reasons behind the opposition to this project, download it below in PDF or Word format.

Training on Economic Literacy: Voice debriefing

By voice - Posted on 28 February 2008

A TOT (training for trainers) on Economic Literacy and Budget Analysis for Governance (ELBAG) was held in Dhaka, from February 24 to 28 2008. The TOT, organized by ActionAid Bangladesh, brought together many different NGO actors of Bangladesh, including VOICE. The main objective of the TOT was to start an ELBAG process in Bangladesh to promote greater social mobilization, and the bringing together of various groups to focus on areas such as economic literacy, budget analysis, public distribution and the functioning of local services. The TOT learning process focused on a participatory method, with group discussions on the local economy, the household political economy, aid regime and its implications on the structure of budget, budget analysis, etc, and various activities like a budget exercise. The main facilitators of the TOT were Ravi Duggal, consultant from India, Thao Hoang, Regional Coordinator for Governance, ActionAid Asia, and Asgar Ali Sabri, Sector Head for Social Development and Economic Justice, ActionAid Bangladesh.

VOICE already published, in June 2007, a Manual on Economic Literacy, to support the ELBAG process by making the economic literacy notions understood at the grassroots level.


VOICE, as a research organization, compiles and publishes several documents every year. These range from small pamphlets and info-briefs to detailed book-length documents, research and seminar papers, and annual reports. In addition, VOICE puts out two regular newsletters:

Counter-Hegemony, a bimonthly English-language newsletter with the latest updates on VOICE activities;

Golaghor ("seed house"), a quarterly newsletter on food and seed sovereignty issues in Bangla.

Download our complete catalogue here.





VOICE regularly publishes a newsletter, "Counter-Hegemony," on the subjects of IFIs, globalization, social movements, trade, and social and economic justice issues. Its objective is to disseminate information in order to build awareness and solidarity for ensuring rights and economic justice, and aims to raise a voice for constructing a new world, challenging the so called mainstream development discourse and neoliberal economic order. This newsletter challenges and counters hegemonic approaches and promotes people's power and authority on the decision making process and on their own resources.
To subscribe, write to exchange.voice@gmail.com or use our contact form to let us know you're interested.
We invite you to send news, comments, and suggestions that could enrich our newsletter at the following address: exchange.voice@gmail.com

Conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance"

By voice - Posted on 02 February 2008

Conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance"
Ahmed Swapan writes from Ottawa, Canada, February 2, 2008

A conference on "The Changing Face of Global Development Finance - Impacts and Implications for aid, development, the South and the Bretton Woods Institutions" has been held in Ottawa on February 1 and 2, 2008. The conference was co-organized by the Halifax Initiative and co-hosted by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, The North-South Institute, and The Reality of Aid Network. Civil society organizations from the North and the South attended the two day conference that dealt with a number of sessions concerning the Bretton Woods Institutions.

The conference provided an overview of the current international financial system and its institutions, identified the shifts that are currently taking place, looked into the potential challenges, and examined the alternatives to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Reclaiming People’s Rights to Public Services and Natural Resources

By voice - Posted on 30 January 2008

A Seminar was held today (January 30, 2008) at the Women’s Voluntary Association auditorium in Dhaka titled “Reclaiming People’s Rights to Public Services and Natural Resources,” as part of the programs scheduled for the 2008 Global Economic Justice Forum currently taking place.

Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, moderated the seminar, which began with a presentation on Access to Natural Resources by Rubayat Ahsan, Research fellow, VOICE. Sardar Arif Uddin, Team Leader of Action Aid Bangladesh, Ms. Aude Leroux-Levesque, VOICE Communications Intern, Dr. Piash Karim, Professor of Economics and Sociology at BRAC University, also presented speeches in the seminar.

Dr. Piash Karim protested against the privatization of major industries like jute and water. He warned against the privatization of WASA as it will turn an essential service into a business for profit, just like what happened in many African countries. He said that it is possible to reclaim ownership over the land and forests with a democratic government that is participatory and accountable. The struggle for rights to public services is a global struggle, he said, citing many examples from the past 100 years of similar injustices.