Past Programs

Leaders of Influence (LOI)

Leaders of Influence (LOI) program was an initiative of USAID and The Asia Foundation. Through this program USAID/Bangladesh sought to support and expand USAID’S current program by engaging and exposing leaders of influence such as lawyers, religious leaders, interfaith leaders,  Imam  &  Khatibs , mosque committee members, youth leaders etc. to modern practices of development and democracy with the overall objective of promoting values of tolerance, diversity, communal harmony, peace and understanding in Bangladesh society. Masjid Council worked with the Foundation to organize and conduct orientation for the interfaith leaders and the mosque committee members across the country.

LOI

In 2009 Masjid Council carried out a two-fold job: (i) Organizing Interfaith orientation programs; and (ii) Organizing Orientation sessions for the mosque committee members.

A total of 409 interfaith leaders, including 68 women, have been provided with orientation in Mymensingh, Chittagong, Dinajpur and Faridpur regions Day-long orientation programs were organized as per Foundation’s prescribed design featuring topics and themes of particular interest to the MACCA as well as general exposure to sectoral development topics.

A total of 201 mosque committee members have been provided with orientation. All participants were male since there is no female representation in the mosque committees. Four orientation sessions were arranged taking one from Cox’s Bazar, Kushtia, Madaripur and Dhaka region. Two-day orientation programs were organized in accordance with the Foundation’s prescribed design featuring topics and themes of particular interest to the MACCA as well as general exposure to sectoral development topics. Each program included a visit to USAID-funded project site.

Participants were selected in line with the program mandate, approximate proportion of population by faiths, regional context, and availability of faith leaders. Following tables depict participant composition for the programs organized.

 

BRAC WASH Program

In 2009 Masjid Council worked for BRAC to monitor the  Religious-Institution based Component of its water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program. Under the program Masjid Council –  

  • Developed monitoring and follow-up tools with relevant references in line with WASH program documents.
  • Recruited Monitoring Officers and Associates as per selection criteria mentioned in the project documents.
  • Conducted monitoring in the identified mosques of 140 upazilla s  in 40 districts.

Earlier in 2007 and 2008  Masjid Council  developed sermon guide comprising religious references blended with scientific information and developed a cadre of 200 leading imams as master trainers, who in turn, provided training to about 19,000 general imams in 40 WASH districts. These Imams delivered the WASH sermon in Friday congregations. In 2009 Masjid council monitored the quality of sermon delivery. The WASH program itself ensures access to sanitation services to 17.6 million people, hygiene education to 37.5 million people and safe water services to 8.5 million people to check incidence of morbidity and mortality in the rural areas.

BRAC WASH Program

Like Masjid Council’s other development programs, viz, HIV prevention, Leaders of Influence (LOI), this program is another example where social mobilization utilizing faith channels has been proved to be effective. Here are the major observations from the project:

  • Misconceptions of the trained  Imams/khatibs  about BRAC removed.
  • Previously they were unwilling to assist BRAC, but now mentally prepared to continue assisting or cooperating with them.
  • They feel proud to work for the betterment of humanity. They are thankful to BRAC as well as Masjid Council.
  • Mass people have taken it gladly   that the religious leaders are providing sermon in cooperation with BRAC and Masjid Council.
  • As a result of WASH intervention, people no more break the water seal of the sanitary latrine.
  • As a result of WASH intervention (involvement of  Imams ), number of latrines increased, which in turn, contribute to save women from being teased and raped.
  • Musullis  (general people who say prayer in the mosque) praise the program. This is clearly understood during Musulli  Interview.
  • Imams  are being thanked by the people for discussing WASH issues.
  • This type of work (WASH in the light of Islam) should be continued.

Similar awareness-building programs need to be carried on by the leaders of other faiths (such as Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism etc.).

 

Flu Prevention Program

Flu Prevention Program

Considering the potential danger of various types of flues, UNICEF and Masjid Council for Community Advancement (MACCA) developed a partnership agreement to undertake a pilot project on prevention of flu through creating awareness by Muslim religious leaders among the people of the Kurigram district. The project lasted from July to December 2009. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of  Flu Prevention Program all sorts of flues for the people of Kurigram district through awareness campaigning. Specific objectives are:

  1. To disseminate basic knowledge on flues among the target people
  2. To provide them with standard personal hygiene knowledge and skills
  3. To make people confident that flues can be prevented if some primary precautionary measures are taken

The project was implemented in all nine (9) upazillas of the Kurigram district with a view to making the people above 10 years of age aware of all sorts of pandemic flues. The project developed a cadre of 648 trained Imams/khatibs  from all over the district. These trained  Imams/Khatibs  disseminated appropriate messages relating to flu among the mosque-goers, through Friday sermon. Additionally they disseminated the same messages through other socio-religious events  viz,  wedding ceremony, religious events, such as, public meetings ( wazz mahfil ),  milad mahfil, eid sermon, village meeting, tea stall meeting etc. A good number (about 5,000) of flu-awareness posters were put on display in public places and 10,000 leaflets were distributed across the project site.

Seven different monitoring formats have been developed and administered to ensure the best-possible qualitative and quantitative output from the project.

The project results in the following outputs:

  • Six hundred and forty eight (648)  Imams/Khatibs  trained on basic flu aspects and fluent in delivering flu-related sermon.
  • A sermon guide on ‘Prevention of Pandemic Flu’ developed and printed.
  • Four (4) flu-sermons delivered in 648 mosques, 5,000 posters put on show and 10,000 leaflets distributed.
  • People of whole Kurigram district aware of various types of flu.
  • A bridge between the religious leaders and the development players established and strengthened. The same pool of Imams may help UNICEF and other development actors, in future, in other programs as well.
  • Ready-to-use faith-based resources as complementary focal point of community development.

The program put forward the following recommendations for policy implications:

  • The trained participants may be utilized in other joint programs by UNICEF and Masjid Council
  • Refresher courses may be arranged by MACCA with support from UNICEF
  • Similar partnership may be developed in future in case there is an expansion of the flu prevention program in other parts of the country.

Social mobilization utilizing faith channels is proved to be effective, therefore, UNICEF and Masjid Council may work together in similar other programs.

 

Skill Development and Self-employment Program for the Poor Women (Mainstreaming Women Development )

Masjid Council undertook a project titled, “Skill Development and Self Employment Program for the Rural Women” at Char Ajodhya (Teledangi) village of Char Bhadrashan Thana under Faridpur district with a view to improving skills of the women of the project area and providing them with the opportunity of income generation. The project was implemented by Nobonita Unnayan Sangshtha (NUS) – a not-for-profit, non-political volunteer organization works as a catalyst for the betterment of the poor and underprivileged by utilizing the local and national resources. NUS is registered with the Social Welfare Affairs Department and started its interventions in 2006. NUS assists its beneficiaries towards improvement of the quality of living status providing education, primary healthcare, nutrition, sanitation, handicrafts, fish culture, women and children rights and income generation programs with a comprehensive approach. NUS is a partner of Community Development Library (CDL).

Skill Development  Program

Masjid Council provided financial and technical support while NUS was responsible for implementation of the project.

The project designed and organized 7 categories of training for the women. A total of  175 women  attended the following training courses in 9 batches. Table 9 summarizes the training courses offered.

The training participants were provided with basic input support (e.g., honey box in case of be keeping).

The trained women will be provided with input support and refresher training in 2010 in order to boost up their confidence and make them contribute to their families.  Besides, a plan is underway to develop a marketing channel in association with Nobonita Unnayan Sangshtha – the implementing agency, so the product developed by the beneficiaries may be marketed easily and the beneficiaries get maximum benefit out of their products (e.g., clothes, honey etc).