Vol. 5 Num 895 Sun. December 03, 2006  

People-to-people tech co-operation a tool to cut poverty
Seminar told

People-to-people technical cooperation could be a way of poverty alleviation as well as a strategy for development, said a keynote speaker at an international seminar in Dhaka yesterday.

The speaker said sharing of the fruits of modern civilization more equitably is a question of structural reform for which no easy answer is available at the moment.

"But, even within the present structural framework a lot can be immediately done for alleviating poverty by learning from the creative initiatives of the poverty groups themselves, and by spreading the word and experiences of the ability of the people themselves to do a lot by way of creatively moving forward, taking inspiration from and learning from each other," said Prof Anisur Rahman, a member of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB), presenting the keynote paper on 'poverty, overcoming poverty and self-realisation - insights from people's self-initiatives in Bangladesh.'

RIB, a non-governmental non-profit research-support agency, organised the seminar titled 'Poverty, Initiatives of the Disadvantaged and Development' at the CIRDAP auditorium.

RIB Chairman Dr Shamsul Bari presided over the seminar attended, among others, by Dr Rob Visser, chief scientist, DGIS, the Netherlands, Prof MM Akash of Dhaka University, Prof Muinul Islam of Chittagong University and RIB Vice Chairperson Dr Hameeda Hossain.

Anisur said, "A lot more can be done, that what the NGOs and may be some dedicated government programmes are doing, by way of poverty alleviation, by a strategy yet not taken that I shall call for 'promoting and assisting people-to-people technical cooperation for development'."

He said disadvantaged people of the country are showing what they can do by way of moving forward, individually or collectively, may without outside assistance, some with assistance but not necessarily financial, many just assistance by way of technical knowledge, or organisational guidance, some with external financial help, not necessarily of 'micro-credit' nature but of both small and large magnitude, and so on.

"Organise 'people-to-people study tours', 'people's initiative festivals' to inspire all so-called 'poverty groups' to startle the world with their creativity stimulating, educating and cooperating with each other," he suggested.

Citing Anisur's keynote paper, Prof Peter Reason of University of Berth, UK in a written statement read by Prof Meghna Guhathakurta of the RIB said finding ways of 'thinking together' is something that is needed right now by both fortunate and disadvantaged people round the globe.

He said self-initiative in collaboration with others is a fundamental human need, not one that is just driven by extreme poverty.

"I am reflecting that we as animators and facilitators of action research need to consider how we can create a context in which action research and 'gono-gobeshona' initiatives can thrive and expand, as well as how we can facilitate change in individuals and communities," he said.

Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) organised a seminar on 'Poverty, Initiatives of the Disadvantaged and Development' in Dhaka yesterday. Dr Shamsul Bari, chairman of the organisation, Dr Rob Visser, chief scientist, DGIS, the Netherlands, Prof MM Akash of Dhaka University, Prof Muinul Islam of Chittagong University and Dr Hameeda Hossain, vice chairperson of RIB, were present among others. PHOTO: STAR