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Articles about VOICE from the news media.

MYMENSINGH MUNICIPALITY Majority people out of water supply coverage

By farjana - Posted on 18 July 2009

Most of the dwellers in the Mymensingh municipality are out of water supply coverage and those who are under the supply network never get water round the clock, a study showed.

Only 22 per cent of the dwellers have access to the municipality water supply while the rest 78 per cent collect water from other sources, revealed the study of VOICE, a research group.
 The study showed that a large number of dwellers are pilfering water through illegal connections as corruption and mismanagement in water supply go rampant in the municipality.

‘The municipality supplies water only for four hours a day, leaving the dwellers in serious problems,’ Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, said revealing the findings of study. He said the study was carried out recently to assess the current state of people’s access to safe drinking water in Mymensingh municipality.

Around 25 per cent respondents said, they fell victims to fake bills while 90 per cent of them complained about irregular supply of water. Most of them also had complaints about safety of the supplied water.

Neoliberal doctrines fail to cut poverty Seminar told

By farjana - Posted on 06 July 2009

Neoliberal doctrines fail to cut poverty Seminar told

Privatisation and trade liberalisation instigated by neoliberal doctrines have failed to reduce poverty or ensure social protection for the poor, instead it increased concentration of wealth and disparity in the society, speakers said at a seminar yesterday.

Neoliberalism did not only cause a devastating consequence to developing countries like Bangladesh, it also has shaken the northern economy, they added.

A comprehensive set of social protection policies must be introduced to replace the unfocused and ad hoc social safety net as a strategy of addressing poverty, they said.

This should be looked into with rights-based approach instead of mere service delivery, they suggested.

Neoliberalism is a political view, arising in the 1960s, that emphasises the importance of economic growth and asserts that social justice is best maintained by minimal government interference and free market forces.

The seminar on 'Neoliberalism, Poverty and Social Protection Policies' was organised by VOICE, a research and public education organisation, at the National Press in Dhaka.

No govt should impose censorship on net access Speakers say at roundtable

By farjana - Posted on 08 June 2009

Speakers at a roundtable on Thursday said no government should impose surveillance and censorship on internet access and block any websites considering people's right to know and free flow ofinformation.

Criticising all forms of surveillance and censorship on internet access, they urged the government to protect right to privacy and freedom of expression with an end to all sorts of surveillance and censorship on internet.

With a call for a democratic access to information and data protection, VOICE, an NGO, organised the roundtable on `Access to information: Internet surveillance and censorship versus protection of people's rights' at the National Press Club in the

Taking part in the roundtable, Syed Margub Morshed, former chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission,said it would be a futile exercise if anybody wants to block any website to censor or hide any information.

“Surveillance and censorship is fundamentally unethicaland national security cannot be protected through imposing surveillance and censorship,” he added.

Criticising the government move on mobile re-registration, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, in his keynote paper asked, “How can we be ensured that the information or data given to a prescribed form will not be leaked our or used for other purpose?”

ADB criticised for anti-poor attitude and policies

By farjana - Posted on 19 March 2009

Speakers at a discussion meeting on Wednesday strongly criticised the Asian Development Bank’s policies and projects for their ‘negative impacts’ on people’s lives and livelihoods.

They also lamented the Asian Development Bank’s Long Term Strategic Framework (LTSF) for 2008-2020 for its ‘anti-poor’ stand and demanded strong resistance against ADB’s policies that are biased toward private sector-led development.
The discussion was jointly organised by ‘Voice’, a research organisation, and NGO Forum on ADB in the WVA auditorium.
Civil society organisations’ members, trade unionists, farmers’ organisations’ representatives, NGOs, students, activist groups and civil society actors attended the seminar, moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of the Voice.
Towhid Ibne Farid, coordinator of ActionAid Bangladesh, said that in the face of the global financial crisis and climate change, civil society actors should come together to fight the dominant role played by the international financial institutes including the ADB.
Highlighting the Southwest Integrated Water Resource Management Project, he alleged that ADB had not complied with its safeguard policies and thus violated the people’s right to development. He also demanded redesigning of the project in consultation with the affected communities.

Legal framework to protect data about citizens stressed

By farjana - Posted on 05 December 2008

Speakers at a discussion on Monday said the government should immediately start working on developing a legal framework to protect the secrecy of the data about citizens, which were submitted to either the government or the commercial organizations.
The discussion styled ‘privacy and the protection of the citizens, consumers and economy’ was organised by a local non-governmental organization, VOICE at the National Press Club auditorium in the capital.
Ahmed Shawpan Mahmud, the executive director of VOICE, said that personal and family information of the Bangladeshi citizens were stored with the Election Commission and different telecom operators.
‘The data carry potentials for being commercially traded. So the sales or transfers of such data should be legally prevented,’ he suggested.
It is the responsibility of the government to assure the citizens that the secrecy of their information will be guarded by the government and the companies, before calling them to submit information about them, he pointed out.
VOICE has partners like the London School of Economics and Political Science and the UK-based Privacy International in this campaign.

Questioning aid: Bangladesh perspective

By farjana - Posted on 27 October 2008

Aid, in the neo-liberal framework cannot be effective, and it can rarely put positive impact on the ground for which it is supposed to work for the development of the poor people in particular. It is also important that developing countries devise their own means to maximise utilisation of aid effectively denouncing the imposed conditions and at the same time hold lenders and recipient overnments accountable to the people. And for effective aid, there must be the real commitments to realise ownership, harmonisation, alignment and mutual accountability that have been emphasised in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, writes Ahmed Swapan Mahmud

Use local resources to boost economy

By voice - Posted on 17 October 2008

Speakers urge govt

Staff Correspondent/


Speakers at a discussion yesterday called on the government to increase dependency on local resources instead of foreign loan to accelerate socio-economic development in the country.

They said this at the discussion on 'International financial institutions are the major barrier to development effectiveness' organised by VOICE, a local NGO, at Cirdap auditorium in the city.

Economists, politicians, development workers, civil society organisations, NGOs and human rights groups participated in the discussion.


Home-grown policies can ward off global shocks: speakers

By voice - Posted on 17 October 2008

Staff Correspondent/


 Economists, politicians and rights campaigners have stressed that Bangladesh needs to have its own independent policies to protect its economy from the dangers of global turmoil caused by thoughtless expansion of capitalism.

They blamed international capitalist mode of productions, speculative investment, unjust and undemocratic role of international financial institutions and multinationals for the latest global financial crisis, worst since the Great Depression of 1930.

Draft climate change action plan draws flak at seminar

By voice - Posted on 24 September 2008

Speakers at a seminar Tuesday critically evaluated the draft national action plan on climate change, saying that the action plan was drafted without any public participation, especially the vulnerable communities.

The day-long consultation on Environment and Climate Change: Role of the ADB in Bangladesh was organised by Voice, a research and advocacy organisation based in Dhaka, and the Manila-based NGO Forum on ADB-an international civil society network, said a press release.

The participants agreed to monitor closely the policies, projects and programmes of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangladesh. It was addressed, among others, by Ziaul Haque Mukta, coordinator of Oxfam-International, Asgar Ali Sabri from ActionAid Bangladesh, Iqbal
Hossain from Save the Children-UK, Md. Hilaluddin from Angikar Bangladesh, Hosne Ara from VSO International, Zakir Hossain from Nagorik Uddog, Sajjad Ansari from In Search of Light, Shawkat Ali from Sharp, Remuna Nurain from Bela and Hasan Mehedi from Humanity Watch.

Call to involve public participation in nal'l action plan on climate change

Climate Change: Close monitoring of ADB activities stressed

By farjana - Posted on 24 September 2008

Speakers at a consultation yesterday agreed to monitor closely the policies, projects and programmes of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangladesh.

They evaluated the recently drafted national action plan on climate change, says a press release. The national action plan was drafted without any public participation especially the vulnerable communities.

The daylong consultation on 'Environment and Climate Change: Role of the ADB in Bangladesh' held at the auditorium of Campaign for Popular Education (Campe) in the city was attended by nearly 40 representatives from NGOs, civil society organisations, academicians, journalists and human rights activists.

The speakers demanded that international financial institutions (IFIs) and northern multinational companies should shed the climate hypocrisy if they want to consider impacts of climate change on people.