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February 21, 2018. Every year COAST observes the International Mother Language Day with great respect and homage to the Martyrs of 1952 who sacrificed their lives for democracy and freedom of speech. This year, COAST observed this very important national day also with the host communities of Ukhiya and Teknaf, mainly with the jointly with the Union Parishad (the first tier of local government), where representatives from the local elected bodies, local administration and people from different sectors participated. The main aim of that initiative was to encourage community people towards the spirit of social harmony, human dignity and justice.

COAST observed the mother language day in Teknaf sadar, Hnila and Hoakong unions of Teknaf Upazila (sub district), Ratnapalong, Rajapalong and Palongkhali unions of Ukhiya upazila. The event included rally of COAST staff along with the Union Parishad representatives at the early morning, paying homage to the martyrs by laying flower the monuments, and a discussion meeting with the participation of different stakeholders including Union Parishad Chairmen, Members, representatives of local political parties,

Speakers at the discussion upheld mainly the spirit of the language movement of 1952, the stressed that, to honour those national heroes, we have to ensure a society free of all types of discrimination as their sacrifice was to ensure a justice. They also opined that, the movement of 1952 was not only for the language, it was also for the human rights. So, we have to honour rights of people from all classed, all sectors, all religions.

A detailed report in Bangla can be found from here Report on International Mother language day observation.

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COAST Principal Office observes the International Mother Language Day today to pay the profound honor to the Martyrs in 1952 who sacrificed their lives for democracy and freedom of speech. Without the mother language we hardly can express our thoughts and expression in the best way.

Giving space to everyone in the society irrespective of class, race, religion and political ideologies was the core idea of this International Mother Language Day. COAST pledged to promote the freedom of speech for everyone in the society believing Democracy and tolerance is the best way to achieve this.

Today at 6.30 in the Morning COAST officials gathered to the Central Shahid Minar of Dhaka to offer the flower bouquet on the mound of the monument.

All the regions of COAST Trust separately observe the day with procession and flower offering to the local martyr monuments.

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The first phase of COAST Annual Staff Conferences 2018 has just been completed successfully. On 16th February the staff conferences were organized simultaneously in Cox’s Bazar, Bhola, Noakhali and Barisal region. All staff of Micro Finance program of Cox’s Bazar, Bhola, Noakahli participated in the staff conference. In Barisal MF and other program staff participated jointly. The next phase of the staff conference scheduled on 23 will include all staff from other projects and programs. Following the staff conference the Annual Staff Picnic were also arranged on 17th February. Other than all the staff of the respective regions, senior staff like Director, Deputy Director, Assistant Directors were also present both in the conference and in the picnic.

2nd phase of staff conference is scheduled to be held on 23 February 2018.

A short report of the conferences can be found from here: Annual Staff Conference_Short Report
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Dhaka. 11 February, 2018. Today in a sharing meeting speakers suggest that, Choices have to be made between Titanic and Life Boats regarding the humanitarian responses for the Forcefully Displaced Myanmar National in cox’s Bazar. We should not go with Titanic knowing it sinks. They were speaking while sharing review findings on the situation of localization in humanitarian aid in Cox’s Bazar. The reviews show that, the local CSOs and NGOs, the fast and first responders of the crisis in Cox’s Bazar have been kept farm mostly from the decision making process. INGOs are dominating the scenario.

Two different reviews have revealed the situation. Today in a meeting preliminary findings of these two reviews were presented. DEPP Learning Team and DEPP projects in Bangladesh, along with COAST Trust , Swiss Solidarity Foundation, GMI and Caritas Bangladesh organised the meeting.

The discussion event was participated by participants from diverse group includes Local NGO, National NGO, INGO, Local & National Network and UN agencies. The event included two presentations and open discussion. Koenraad Van Brabant and Smruti Patel from Global Mentoring Initiative & Navigation 360 Consulting presented their recent reviews finding. The reviews focused on. Md. Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust presented results of the recent survey on the localization situation of humanitarian aid in Cox’s Bazar. The survey was prepared by Cox’s Bazar CSOs and NGOs Forum (CCNF) and COAST Trust.

Please find a Short report on the findings of the reviews, presentations Business as Usual GM(2)  and Localization in Cox’s Bazar

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9th February 2018. Today evening in a dinner meeting newly appointed Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau of Government of Bangladesh Mr. K.M Abdus Salam has shared the concern of NGOs in respect of Rohingya Response in Cox’sBazar in COAST CMTC (Cox’sBazar Management and Training Centre). The program have been participated by high level officials of local / national / internationals NGOs, namely PHALS, SHED, HELP, COAST, Mukti, Gonoshastya, NONGOR, MT International, ACF, Save the Children, ACF, Water Aid, Tear fund, NRC, AAR Japan, NGO liaison officials from ISCGs and Co-Chairs of CCNF (Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum).
NGO representatives shared the concern on present slow approach toward FD7 in respect of awareness and protection related activities. NGO Representatives has also shared the difference of need analysis between RRRC, DC and NGOs in this regard and also the hassles in accountability requirement in district administration. NGOs said that quality and other checking which is happening now in DC office, which became of costly matter of NGOs as loaded Trucks have to wait here for more than two / three days, this process could be done in Camp side, as there are CiC (Camp In Charge) is there.
DG NGOAB said that he will look after the FD7 related issues and also speed up the process of approval. He advised NGOs to raise the issues on hassles of “quality check” in DC office and coordination of need analysis with DC and RRRC, as NGOAB always receive request from DC and RRRC with their own interpretations of need analysis. NGOs have proposed there should be a committee in this regard under the leadership of RRRC/DC with the participation of NGOs, who should sit and update the need identification monthly basis.
NGO representatives have also discussed the present trend of 3 months basis approval of FD7, which is creating a lot of problems, especially in respect of managing fund and approval thereby. They have urged it should be extended for more than 6 months or as like as government has signaled to UN to plan until December 2018.
NGO representatives have also raised the issues of visa checking problems in Coxsbazar. All most all the local and national NGOs and one INGO representatives said that, there are supply of expatriate is more than its real demand, or there are lack of need analysis in this regard, whether all these all expatriate is needed at all, while Bangladesh is being treated as example in respect of disaster management, there should be the spirit both in INGOs and UN to use as much as possible local expatriate and local staff. NGO representatives has expressed concern on “ Tourist” visa while in fact they have applied to have the visa related to work or NGO purpose in Coxsbazar, they urged the rule should be changed in this regard. DG NGOAB said that, he has very little to do in this regard, but he is willing to raise the issue with Home Ministry and if needed in NTF (National Task Force). Please note that DG NGOAB is the member of NTF too.
DG NGOAB wanted to know about the genesis, process and ToR of ISCG. NGO liaison officials of ISCG and some of the participants have briefed him in this regard. There is good level of coordination in ISCG; moreover ISCG has some technical capacities on information collection and analysis. ISCG at present preparing Joint Response Planning, and they are taking participation of RRRC and DC too. One of the INGO representatives said that, any study ISCG doing they should take the relevant government agency with them otherwise the relevant government agency will have little interest to own those studies.
Local NGOs raised the issue of localization, that UN and INGOs should not go for direct operation in here. DG NGOAB said that he will off course encourage INGOs to go for partnership with local NGOs in this regard.
DG NGOAB has listened the impact of Rohingya influx with host communities, which is being hardly being addressed so far. NGOs said that, a general consensus has already risen that at least 25 % of Rohingya aid should be allocated for host communities. COAST is doing study in this regard with the instruction from DG NGOAB and also with the advice from DC in this regard. DG NGOAB said that he will encourage long term project for host communities in this regard.

Reported by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury 10th Feb 2018.
Please Download Meeting Minutes here
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4 February, 2018.  An Agent Banking Booth has inaugurated today in Laxmpiur.  COAST will run this booth in association of the Midland Bank Ltd.  MD Ahsanuzzaman, Managing Director and CEO of Midland Bank Ltd and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust jointly have inaugurated the booth. The booth will be operated by COAST Trust Torabgonj Branch (Komol Nagar, Laxmipur) and it will be supported by Midland Bank Ltd. People can make their deposit, loan and any other financial transection easily through Agent Banking. It will be helpful to the unbanked people for banking. People from the remote areas of the area will be able to get the access to formal banking services,
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COAST Trust is proud to be a partner of Bangladesh Development Forum. Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated the two days’ event yesterday and it is ended today afternoon. A nice book has been published on this occasion and activities and future plan of COAST Trust is published as a partner CSO/NGO partner of the Bangladesh Development Forum.

Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) is a high level meeting where the government and its development partners work to explore further partnerships to foster inclusive economic growth. About 700 delegates representing Bangladesh government and various development partners participated in this the two-day meeting held at Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka.

Separate sessions were taken place on agriculture and extreme climate conditions, creating enabling environment for foreign direct investment, addressing inequality and fostering quality education and ICT.  Sessions on addressing violence against women and ensuring women empowerment and improving urban service delivery were also held.