11 November 2009, Dhaka. BRAC and the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) signed an agreement on Wednesday to support BRAC’s initiatives to strengthen grassroots democracy and local governance. Under the agreement UNDEF will provide support to BRAC’s Social Development Programme for implementation of a project titled Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government (ACALG).
The agreement was signed by Mr. Roland Rich, Executive Head of UNDEF and Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC, at the BRAC Centre in Dhaka. Tania Zaman, Director, BRAC Chairperson’s Office (Chief of Staff), Anna Minj, Director, Social Development Programme and head office staff of BRAC Social Development Programme were also present in the signing ceremony.
Mr. Rich stated, “One of the reasons we were attracted to BRAC was that BRAC is giving people voice in their own communities to deal with government authorities. And voice is fundamental to democracy.” He added that BRAC was a strong and well-established group who can deliver the task.
The Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government (ACALG) project is a two year project which will be implemented in the districts of Bogra and Jessore. The project aims to create conditions for more active civic engagement among rural and semi-urban poor citizens and to strengthen capacities of local government to provide more accountable and effective governance.
The objectives of the project are to develop capacities of both the local government and rural citizens to plan and deliver accountable and more equitable services and resource allocation, and to create accessible sources of information about civic rights, local government and its services. Moreover, the project aims to transform bureaucratic practices at the local level to be more responsive to the needs of the poor.