30 Years Journey of SUS
Walk in path, in search of path
In the stream of endless time/eternal life, man inaugurates the canvas of memory. Running away! Running! A woman! Search of path by keeping the time of struggling life in deep of the heart. Extend hands. Keep hands in hands of like-minded men-women. Begum Rokeya along with nine man. Birth of Sabalamby Unnayan Samity (SUS).
Social Welfare Registration in 1986. Netrakona is one of the backward and less developed districts of Bangladesh where the hilly people are surviving by fighting with adverse/hostile environment in one side; brave and courageous people of HAOR area in another side are living with plenty of water and wave by conquering the insuperable barrier of haor; poor, destitute and working people of plain lands are striving in between hilly and haor areas. SUS goes forward for the emancipation of these people.
Increasing economical capacity of the women remains around thinking. Capital was one knitting machine along with a sewing machine from social welfare department. Includes a school and bamboo-cane work. Begum Rokeya allocates taka 350 for two staffs from her own income of teaching profession. She also provides credit of taka 36000 to 100 people from her teaching salary. She takes the accounts in a note book.
Hands of friends in rough path
The path was not smooth at all. Meet the hands of friends through the willing force. Olof Meurling- who born and grow up with western abundance; a dreamy man who stands against all forms of discrimination in his thinking and behavior. Man of Sweden. Increase the number of friends. The people of Sweden, Finland and Norway become the partners of implementing the dreams of SUS. In 1987, SUS gets seven sewing machines, one zigzag machine and seven knitting machines from Norway and Finland. SUS receives taka 43500 from Swedish-SIDA as donation. Increase the mental power more. SUS forms village group beside school and handicraft works. Number of staff stands at 4.
Searching of existence
A piece of land, roof on the head- Obtaining the path of fulfilling desires through sincere efforts. SUS purchases a piece of land from own money of Begum Rokeya and money from Finland and Barlin. SUS gets taka 9,74,000 as donation from NORAD for constructing office building. Dream found the roots. Wind blows the sail of willing.
Increasing of area
The dreams of the people those who are involved with SUS increase more and more after constructing the office building. They want to work for the livelihood development of women and children. In 1989, SUS starts the activities of family planning and improvement of maternal and children health by the assistance of Family Planning Services and Training Center (FPSTC).
New degree in organizational ritual
Registration of NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh in 1990 brings new speed and dimension in the activities of SUS. The path of getting foreign money becomes easier. Development activities of SUS become more visible with 20 staffs.
Meeting of people in arrangement of people
In 1991, Susane Linekar, a VSO volunteer of Great Britain comes to SUS. She introduces new dimension in handicraft works. In that time, Participatory Women Development Program is started by the assistance of NORAD. Staffs become self-confident. A pilot project on handicraft is started by CARE Bangladesh. The renowned organization BRAC extends its cooperation. SUS starts Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) for including drop out children with continuous education.
Dream spread, dream embrace
In 1992, number of staff stands at 26. The fields of activities become increase including village group formation, adult literacy, children education and handicraft activities. Increase inner power, acceptance and program areas. In 1993, number of staff stands at 60.
Step in first stage of capability
SUS earns the capacity to bear 10% expenditure against total budget. In 1994, development planning model adds new dimension in SUS journey. SUS establishes Agricultural Model Farm (AMF) to increase the agricultural capacity of the farmers by Quaker Service, Sweden. SUS is added with Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) for developing the livelihood status of poor and helpless people and ensuring food security. Micro credit program is started through trickle up approach in a little extent. Sister Community Association, Sweden and SUS Support Group, Finland stand beside us as friend.
Journey to cross the border path
Partnership with Action Aid Bangladesh (AAB) is a remarkable landmark of journey ahead. In 1995, according to Long Term Perspective (LTP) of Action Aid Bangladesh, SUS starts Integrated Development Project (IDP)-2 at Atpara, Netrakona. Ussi-Tulli,, Finland also accelerates this integrated effort.
A Milestone: Looking forward
SUS completes its 10 years in 1996. Once a small seed was sown into the soil; now its tender leaves, twigs have become spread around and everywhere, blooms with flowers and fruits. Its roots have gone into depth of the soil by making a strong foundation. Gradually, SUS extends its Integrated Development Project (IDP)-3 to Modon upazila and IDP-4 at Kendua upazila of Netrakona district.
Changing trend in development thought
SUS goes forward through different learning processes of Action Aid Bangladesh. In 1997, with the assistance of AAB, Regenerative Frerian Literacy through Community Technique (REFLECT)- a participatory learning process is included with development movement. Changes happen in development process. The adults become interested to take initiative to solve their identified problems through this process besides receiving education. New Wind Association is involve with Integrated Development initiative.
In 1998, SUS starts Flood Proofing Project by the assistance of CARE Bangladesh. In the same time, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) comes with agro-based small credit. The issue of nutrition mitigation is added in the thought of SUS. Helen Keller International (HKI) starts NGO Gardening and Nutrition Education Surveillance Project (NGNESP). Along with children education, women development, livelihood development; SUS thinks to do something for the adolescents- one of the deprived parts of the society. But how it will come into reality was the thoughtful part. Then Royal Norwegian Embassy extends its hands of cooperation. A pilot project is started with adolescents. Later on, its coverage is extended with the assistance of NETZ-Germany. The disable- another neglected area of the society. SUS thinks and feels about them. AAB comes to make it into reality, extends their cooperation to start Disability Rehabilitation Project (DRP).
SUS becomes strengthen more through different diversified arrangements and initiatives. In 1999, SUS starts shelter home by considering the condition of shelterless women. SUS Support Group- Sweden, Belgium, Germany and COV, The Netherlands extend their cooperation. To mitigate the demand of fishes i.e. protein, Mymensingh Aqua culture Extension Project (MAEP) is implemented through DANIDA.
Searching the root of imparity: Human procession from the liability of commitment
Since inception, SUS was ready to stand against human rights violation and it’s determined to establish the rights of the people. To accelerate the thinking more, a renowned human rights organization Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) stands beside SUS. It starts a rights based project “Gender and Social Justice”.
Demonstrative effort in timeline: First Strategic Plan
In the mean time, it crosses 14 years. It is time to decide where we want to go? What we want to do and which way? To find out the answers, SUS takes initiative to prepare a Strategic plan in 2000. SUS prepares strategic plan of 2001-2005.
Proper arrangement of field of intervention
In 2001, Add new dimension in programs. SUS enters into a strategic framework. SUS runs all its programs through 5 thematic programs such as: 1) Income and Employment Generation Program (IEGP), 2) Initiative for Social Development Program (ISDP), 3) Human Rights and Legal Services Program (HRLS), 4) Program Support Unit (PSU) and 5) Finance and Administrative Support (FAS). Gradually, Purbadhola and Mohongonj of Netrakona is included with SUS. SUS extends its geographical as well as program areas. Rights based approach is included with integrated development thought. SUS implements Dampara Water Management Project (DWMP) through Canadian-CIDA to protect villages and preserve fishes as sanctuary. Tree saplings are plated on the slopes of the embankment.
With the victims of extreme hostility
SUS works for establishing human rights. But SUS shows that one of the classes remains out of development mainstream. In 2002, SUS starts Extreme Poor Women Development Project (EPWDP) by the assistance of NETZ-Germany as pilot project for ensuring food security and developing livelihood of extreme poor women and their family members.
Increase path, increase area
SUS starts organic agriculture program in a small extent for making the agriculture sustainable. At the same time, as a non-government organization, SUS starts program in enhancing the quality of primary education beside government initiative. SUS also starts education scholarship for the course completed poor and meritorious students of SUS operated NFPE schools through Marion Hopsten, Sweden.
Human procession for human being
In 2003, add new degree in human rights program of SUS. Build up partnership with “Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF). SUS starts program on “Access to Justice” in almost all areas. Manobadhikar Sangrokkon Parishad-MSP (Human Rights Protection Council) is established at local level for mediating human rights violation, family conflict and other conflicts of the society. Primarily, MSP is formed at ward level and gradually at union, upazila and district levels.
Participation, Partnership with new manner
In 2004, Sabalamby Unnayan Samity starts work at Barhatta upazila through a project “Integrated Development Project (IDP)-7”. More integration is brought among the interventions. The importance has is given to positional changes beside conditional changes of the people. Besides, SUS stands by the tornado and flood affected people through relief and rehabilitation activities.
Evaluation-Revisualization in timeline: Second Strategic Plan
In 2005, integrated activities is started to flourish with the times. Increase working area, increase development partners also. SUS completes the period of first organizational strategic plan. How much have been achieved? How much have not been implemented? What couldn’t be done? What could be done? Through many questions, first organizational strategic plan has been evaluated. Considering all risks, challenges, opportunities, learning and values and future directions on the basis of previous experience, second organizational strategic plan for the period of 2006-2010 is prepared.
Walk on the broad spectrum in line with time
In 2006, Sabalamby Unnayan Samity stands on twenty years. More continuous efforts to bring more deprived people close to the parallel of life. Working area of Sabalamby Unnayan Samity is expanded; Kalmakanda, Durgapur and Khaliajuri, all upazilas of Netokona are included with Integrated Development Initiative. New dimensions are added in interventions. To increase the access of women at local market and to encourage the women entrepreneurship, a project is started named “Women Market Corner” in government established local markets. Strengthen relationship with CARE Bangladesh. To reduce food insecurity at different upazilas of Netrakona and Sunamgonj districts, a project named SHOUHARDO is started with the assistance of CARE Bangladesh.
In 2007, with the completion of two decades of SUS, 5 districts are added with the working area of the organization. (Mymensingh, Kishoregonj, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Sunamgonj). To ensure the food security of poor and deprived people besides CARE Bangladesh, NETZ-Germany expands its helping hands. A new project named “Income and Food Security for Ultra Poor (IFSUP) is started. A special attention to empower the tribal people of Kalmakanda and Durgapur upazila of Netrakona district through their effective participation.
It’s time to go ahead by rectifying the mistakes and using the learning. In 2008, long term partnership period with Action Aid Bangladesh has come to an end. Organization believes that the learning of ten years is a land mark of its journey of improvement. Organization practices the learning. Community based civic organization, Manobadhikar Shanrakhon Parishad (MSP), federations and other committees at upazila level are organized and become more effective. The federations and committees at village level maintain same pace. With the ongoing interventions, to empower local government, a project named SHARIQE is started with the assistance of HELVATAS Inter cooperation Bangladesh. Besides, GIZ also starts to work with SUS through a project named “Strengthening Union Parishad” in two upazila of Netrakona. Success also started to come. By the support of SHOUHARDO project, inhabitants of Roypur union of Barhatta upazila of Netrakona district construct a life saving embankment by their own initiative to fulfill their requirement. Through capitalizing different successes, SUS expands SHOUHARDO project at Sunamgonj district. To introduce integrated development working model, SUS starts to work at a small range in Mymensingh sadar upazila. To grow more crops by low cost, with the assistance of Development Wheel (DEW), a project is started named Sustainable Livelihood for Poor Producer (SLIPP).
In 2009, by facing all obstacles and challenges, a courage and capacity to turn all hindrance into success has been gained in the store-house of experience. By this time, a friendship has been grown with Save the Children Sweden-Denmark. To improve the standard of primary education, a project named “Community Response in Education” has been incorporated with SUS. New ideas and new thoughts, how an intervention can go closer to community to ensure their rights? To improve rural law and order situation and to create peaceful environment, by the support of GIZ, a project has started named “Gender Responsive Community Based Policing”. To deliver the information and technology based service to rural people, Rural Information Center has been established. Besides, in this year, a project has started with other ongoing project by the support of CARE Bangladesh named “Food Security for Ultra Poor in Haor Area” (FSUP-H). By this project, SUS has constructed village embankment wall and houses for shelterless people. With the assistance of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), a project has been started for acid victims. To develop agro-based activities and to ensure food security for haor people, project “Access to Food security and Accelerated Livelihood towards Bio-diversity (AFAL) has started to work through The Arannayk Foundation.
In 2010, to ensure a better health service for poor people, SUS starts the activities of “Sabalamby Hospital” with own fund which was constructed by the assistance of U-Assist, Sister Community Association, Sweden, SUS Support Group, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Bradford and CVO, The Netherland; A new door becomes opened; poor people get outdoor and indoor service. Through different activities, SUS is increasing its own working span. With the flow of time; working area, participants, dimension of activities are increasing. With the financial support of NETZ-Germany, a project is started its journey named Strengthening Agricultural Capacity for Ultra Poor (SACUP) to scale up the capability of poor farmers and to ensure food security. In this year, Executive director of SUS has been elected as member of governing body of Action Aid Bangladesh. With the assistance of Step Towards Development, SUS starts to work with Netrakona Development Forum. People of Netrakona face different calamities all the time, especially the Khaliajuri upazila is a disaster prone area. In this year, SUS expands its helping hands with CARE Bangladesh to help Khaliajuri people by providing emergency food support. Along with other donors and development partners, Triton Textile Limited expands its cooperation as a part of their corporate social responsibility. They contribute in SUS’s education program.
Revisiting Timeline: Third Strategic Plan
A long path is passed away. Again, time has come to revisit the timeline. By keeping all the experience of passing time, third strategic plan for the period of 2011-2015 has been prepared.
Touch the time as need of the time
In 2011, SUS implements its activities by considering the demand of the people as well as time. People deprive from government education and health services. By considering the issues, SUS starts an advocacy program “Democracy Enhance through Social Harmony (DESH) by the assistance of Asia Foundation. SUS also implements clubfoot project through Walk for Life to bring back the clubfoot children in normal life.
In 2012, increasing working area, skill working force, willing to work bring more speed and dynamism in SUS programs. Different programs fulfill their duration in different periods but we get knowledge, ideas and skills from these programs. SUS replicates these knowledge, ideas and skills in different existing programs as well as untouched areas. Communication for Development (C4D) through UNICEF is included with SUS with a view to protect early marriage, child labor and corporal punishment. Side by side, Water Aid in Bangladesh assists to implement WASH project and ACCESS-Access of women in political, social and economical sector through Swallows (India-Bangladesh) for establishing women rights. In 2013, SUS tries to increase its ability by keeping strategic plan in mind with a view to bring organizational sustainability beside assistance of donors. NGO Forum for Public Health extends its cooperation in WASH project. Moreover, SUS implements Alternative Livelihood Options (ALO) project through Development Wheel (DEW) for producing more crops by investing less money to bring sustainable changes. In 2014, SUS starts a pilot project “Babu Barta” for protecting health of pregnant mothers by the assistance of US State Department. Besides, a project named ‘SHARIQUE’ is taken for strengthening local government through HELVATAS Swiss Inter cooperation Bangladesh. SUS has faced different obstacles and has gone through awkward situation but has overcome the difficulties through the leadership of management council of SUS. The project has started, project has ended and the staffs sometime have left the organization by getting opportunities but SUS has gone forward with its values. The activities of establishing rights and governance are always challenging work. Mental strength becomes more strengthen through facing challenges. The access to justice is added with SUS mainstream development through Community Legal Services (CLS).
In 2015, economical capacity building, improve the quality of education, provide quality health, establish human rights, stop violence against women and children, create access to justice, improve sanitation and safe drinking water condition, capacity building to face the disaster and effect of climate change etc. include with SUS development activities. To increase the capacity of working people and strengthen the learning process, a particular center or an academic research cell is needed. In 2016, the work of DREAM (Development of Resources by Enhancing Academic Management) center is started and going on full swing.
Learning, re-learning, preparing, revisiting
By considering the problems and obstacles and capitalizing the learning; SUS prepares it fourth strategic plan for the period 2016-2020.
Beside the people, along with the people
In 2016, SUS starts WASH project to face climate change effect through UK based development partner Human Appeal. SUS is going to fulfill its 30 years. Project to program, relief, services, family development, integrated development, rights base approach whatever needful for the program participants; organization does not cut down anything from its thought and consideration. Only think to stand beside the people and go forward along with the people.
Now, age of SUS is 30 years. It’s a very small time in consideration of endless period of time but 30 years is not a small time to make a mark/scratch in social culture. SUS is running continuously. SUS takes its planning by considering and feeling the life-style and aspiration of the people of working area which is helpful enough for the development of livelihood status of the people. An integrated scenario becomes reveal and visible through different activities. SUS started its initiative in Netrakona district. Gradually, SUS has extended its programs to Sunamgonj, Mymensingh, Jamalpur and Sherpur districts by covering 3823 villages of 175 unions under 24 upazilas. Presently, it has more than 500 staff. SUS is working with 1,28,000 program participants directly and more than 1.4 million people are involved indirectly. SUS dreams that people live in a society with dignity and justice.
To fulfill the dream and flourish the right arrangement; adding firmness of commitment, increasing the gathering of dreamers and courageous people whose inner campus are liable to destroy the dirty of discriminations and irregularities by the instant sunshine.
Time is calling-
Let’s unite together
Understand the pulse of the people
Raise the life by the voice of people
Meet and sing the song of joy.
Firmness of beliefs, sharpness of work
End of discrimination among the people.