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.

Revealing PSI: People’s resistance against policy conditionalities of the IMF

By voice - Posted on 22 January 2008

SUMMARY - policy support instrumentA Policy Support Instrument (PSI) is a policy consisting of abstract
terms and conditions.

Usually, high profile IMF and government
officials discuss such policies. Academics, researchers, and analysts
working on policy issues understand the salient points, but it is
extremely difficult for the general public to understand the logic and
loopholes of such a deal.

During the recent visit of the IMF delegation to Bangladesh, there
were significant discussions and debates around their PSI offer.
Different stakeholders emerged, voicing their concern about the issue
through the media and other outlets. Civil society members, activists,
business groups and the media in Bangladesh once again proved
themselves active in the resistance against IMF impositions. The news
media published reports, opinion, comments, and analysis on the issue,
raising awareness all around the country.

This report is as much a commentary as a compilation of
formerly scattered information about PSI, and has attempted to
demystify PSI going from the definition to the analysis. Different
reports and views of newspapers also help to shed light on the issue
and to document what happened with respect to the PSI agreement.

Global Capital vs. Local Economy: Conditionalities of the IMF and Fiscal Reform

By voice - Posted on 22 January 2008

global capital vs. local economy

SUMMARY - A battle is currently being raged in the global marketplace between
global and local economies. However, with the force of millions of
dollars of global capital supporting it, and a powerful influence over
the local governments and policymakers, the global side is definitely
not playing fair.

The World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have
been lending money to Bangladesh for many years, ostensibly under the
banner of ‘aid’. These loans inevitably come tied with conditions,
which hinder the country’s growth and keep down its people.
IMF-sanctioned policies, such as privatization of public services,
reduction of trade tariffs, supplanting local industries with cash-crop
oriented export industries, and many more, have left Bangladesh and its
people at the mercy of a free market economy which has no qualms with
profiting from the poverty of others.

VOICE participates in the GK3 Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

By voice - Posted on 15 December 2007

The World Association of Community Radio broadcasters (AMARC) activities were held from December 11 to 13, 2007, at the third Global Knowledge Conference GK3 Event on the Future, in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia. One of our VOICE staff, Ms Farjana Akter, joined the AMARC-GK3 programme. As a member of AMARC-WIN delegation, Farjana Akter joined a seminar organized by AMARC on the `Role of Women Broadcasters vis-à-vis Good Governance'. The main objective of this seminar was to empower rural women to promote good governance through community media. The seminar was attended by various community radio broadcasters, NGO activists, and women groups from different regions of the world.

During the seminar, panelists said that Community radio can be used by rural women to empower themselves in their daily life, and that it should be a priority on the agenda because it can help increasing the participatory practice in a society, which leads to the people's governance. Community radio can facilitate the people's access to information and promote their participation on the local level decision-making process, which ultimately results in a greater participatory governance and a more democratic society.

Water Crisis and the Future of the Water System in Bangladesh

By voice - Posted on 24 December 2006

VOICE  conducted a critical and analytical review on the state of the water system in Bangladesh entitled ‘Water Crisis : Strategies for Bangladesh Water Future’ in 2006. The objectives of the study were to critically analyze the overall water situation and build up linkages between the policies and projects based on the theory and practices on the ground. The analysis dealt with the perspective of Bangladesh and identified the problems of the sector, and prepared a set of recommendations for future strategies to further work on the issue.

The study revealed the impacts of water projects and dams, irrigation, and also looked into the issues around water and national policy conflicts, poor people’s access to water, and the crisis people in general are facing. While people’s resistance movements are growing, we must demand safer water and a better system of water management to ensure access to water through a rights based approach.

The study has identified some of the major aspects in the water sector and analyzed where and why water issues become prevalent. It also analyzed the Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project with a view to giving a voice to the local stakeholders in the whole cycle of the project.