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Several NGOs, lacking capacity, got climate funds

Ferdous Ara

Several NGOs, having no capacity or accountability, have been given funds for implementing climate projects.
Bangladesh Climate Change Trustee Board assigned Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation to disburse climate funds among 63 selected NGOs.
The money is provided by Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund.
On visits New Age found no project offices of some NGOs at the designated addresses in the capital.
The daily also found that at least 10 NGO offices, housed at the residences of their officials, were only ‘liaison offices’.
Again, some of the NGO liaison offices were found closed.
At least four NGOs had no trace but PKSF said they had moved to new offices.
Participatory Research and Development Initiative had no office at the designated address at Shyamoli.
Similarly, Shelter’s office could not be found at the given address at Banani and the office of Bangladesh Association for Social Advancement also could not be traced at Mohakhali New DOHS.
House owner Samina Amin told New Age that the Welfare Association for Social Development and Poverty has left her house at Monipuripara a year ago. She also said that she was not aware of its current address.
The office of Bashabo Janakallyan Sangstha at Mirpur was found under lock and key.
The office of Surja Shikha at Japan Garden City, Mohammadpur was also  found closed. None were found in the offices of the two NGOs during visits for two days. Other residents of those buildings said they never heard about theses NGOs and also did not have their contact addresses. 
The caretakers of the building, the supposed address of Development for Society at Eskaton said, ‘This is a residential house complex and that there is no office in it.’
When they contacted house owner Baharul Islam, who is also the general secretary of the NGO, requested this reporter to wait for ten minutes after which a caretaker opened a ground floor room, started cleaning and arranging the supposed office room.’
Bahar reappeared later to say that Development for Society Project will sink 69 tube wells and set up 172 sanitary latrines at Haymchar in Matlab upazila by September 2014. He also said that until now 40 per cent work opf the project had been completed.
Society for Urban and Rural Human Integrated Development executive director Harun Majumder said he runs its liaison office from his residence but its main office is at Langolcot, Comilla.
Astha Social Development Organization executive director Nahid Parvin said that she also runs the liaison office of the NGO from her residence at Mohammadpur and that its main office is in Dinajpur. She said that Astha had completed projects worth Tk 15 lakh, but she had no project documents. For project output she suggested for contacting its office at Dinajpur.
In October 2013, Transparency International Bangladesh in a report said that the  following survey it found no trace of 10 NGOs that were given the climate funds,   nine other NGOs were given the funds on political considerations, two others allegedly misused the funds and four had no office in project areas.
TIB project coordinator Zakir Hossain Khan called the whole syndrome intriguing often with non existent liaison offices or project offices.
Transparency and accountability are needed in climate project management in the country with funding from the government, NGOs or multilateral institutions, said climate expert and BRAC University vice chancellor Ainun Nishat.
Effective participation of all stakeholders must be ensured in the fund management process to fulfill the global standards, he said.
The TIB report led PKSF to verify the allegations said  PKSF deputy managing director Md Fazlul Kader.
He also said that PKSF felt satisfied that all the 10 NGOs in question  do exist and some of them like Shelter, BASA, WASPDA and PRDI have only moved to news offices,
Liaison office is not a legal office, Said Fazlu, adding, but some of the NGOs maintain them as contact addresses.
He said the confusion arose because of the liaison offices.
He also said that the PKSF would present all project documents for public scrutiny very soon.

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