Reflections on Six Years of Change in Bangladesh
March 31, 2010
I had the privilege of being a part of the Leaders of Influence (LOI) program implemented by The Asia Foundation at the very beginning in 2004.
I clearly remember the day when I went to the Imam Training Academy (ITA) in Dhaka during the early days of the LOI program. Upon entering the room, I could see 50 faces tighten as they realized they were expected to interact on issues like HIV/AIDS prevention and maternity health awareness, issues then considered taboo to discuss in an open forum, especially with a woman around. On one occasion, the imams refused to have a woman LOI trainer during their orientation program.
Today in 2010, I am sitting in the same ITA with at least 100 imams and we interact and in a candid manner, sitting face to face with each other as we discuss how to further women’s empowerment projects in their local communities. We talk about how to create greater awareness on prevention of HIV/AIDS and brainstorm better approaches for getting out messages on anti-corruption, radicalism, and good governance through their Friday sermons. At the end of the discussions, the imams insist that I have tea with them. Then they escort me back to my car and, as I depart the ITA ground, they smile and invite me back to ITA for continuing the dialogues. Dialogues the imams now feel are a vital component in advancing national development efforts.
This is what I term as change in the right direction. A change that was possible through the LOI program, through which we are now able to measure the impact of our program initiatives, and cite indicators of success. Undoubtedly, LOI is a groundbreaking program in the Bangladeshi development sector.
What a difference six years can make.
Faria Naz Hossain is a consultant for The Asia Foundation’s Leaders of Influence program in Bangladesh. She can be reached at [email protected].
About our blog, In AsiaIn Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia\’s development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.
In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about In Asia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
HIGHLIGHTS ACROSS ASIA
Cambodia’s Online Reform Initiative Inventory
Addressing Industrial Pollution Along the Kelani River
April 26, 2017
Asia Foundation Releases Report on Disaster Preparedness During Political Transition in Nepal
April 24, 2017
Asia Foundation’s Young Lotus Circle Gathers in New York for Women’s Empowerment
April 24, 2017