Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) Bangladesh

In 1986 a number of activist women's organisation came together to form Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS). Since then, the organisation has worked at the national level for policy and legal reforms, and at the community level to organise and mobilise grasroots activity.

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The core work of BNPS focuses on the social, economic and political empowerment of women; strengthening local government, electoral reform, education reform, and gender budget analysis. BNPS believes it plays a pioneering role in challenging many conservative mindsets, and resisting religious fundamentalism.

Through political empowerment BNPS has worked to strengthen local government and community level-governance through the inclusion of women and marginalised people, increasing the participation of women in political institutions, reforming the electoral process to make it gender responsive and mapping the implementation of policies & commitments for women.

The objective of BNPS is a society free from all discrimination and an enabling environment for women and disadvantaged people. To carry out its mission, BNPS is striving to eliminate all sort of discrimination against women from family to society and state consistent with the principles of the constitution of Bangladesh and human rights instruments of the United Nations.

Achievements

In 1993, BNPS introduced the question of gender in the education system.

In 2000, BNPS, for the first time in the country, started a national budget analysis from a gender perspective. In addition, BNPS has been the pioneer in taking up many important steps on a number of challenging issues like inheritance law and women’s representation.

BNPS worked to build a bridge between NGOs and other diverse representatives of civil society in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It also initiated collaboration with different cultural media for awareness building. It started sensitising media professionals to gender and other development issues in the 1990s.

BNPS has help found, or played a key role in, many of the country’s leading gender advocacy forums and networks including Women Development Forum, Sammilito Nari Samaj, Social Action Committee and Citizens’ Initiative on CEDAW, Bangladesh.

At a regional level, the organisation was Regional Thematic Focal Organisation of Gender Thematic Group (2008-2010) of the South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

BNPS is a member of different committees and programmes under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs including: Board of Trustees, Welfare Fund for Tortured and Destitute Women and Children; Multi-Sectoral Programme on Preventing Violence against Women. The Executive Director of BNPS is an advisor to the Government committee on CEDAW reporting.

Stage Show of SAAT (Seven) and Community Meetings

BNPS has been awarded a project name Organizing Theatrical Performances and Community Meeting by UN Women to stage docudrama SAAT (Seven) in Netrakona. UN Women has been working on preventing sexual harassment. As part of this effort, the project is to contribute to the prevention of violence against women and girls in Bangladesh. The goal of the project is to contribute to strengthen civil society capacity to engage communities and public institutions in preventing violence against women.

Key to this project is the use of the documentary play `Seven' (contextualized for Bangladesh) as a tool to initiate a discussion on gender equality and sexual harassment prevention in the community. `Seven' is based on the real life stories of women's rights activists from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, Pakistan, Northern Ireland and Cambodia, has proven to be a powerful resource for creating discussion, raising the visibility of women's rights and mobilizing action. The play has been recently translated in Bangla by renowned theatre activist Mr. Khairul Alam Sabuj under the supervision of UN Women Bangladesh Office.

The objective of the drama was to mobilize citizen's opinion to promote women rights and stop violence, inequality and discrimination against women and girls in Bangladesh. The particular output that the project will contribute to diverse stakeholders including women, men, decision-makers and others responsible for managing public space are actively engaged in campaigns to make their communities safer for women and girls at all levels.

Last updated: September 2016