Ward Shava : a path to grass-root democracy

According to the constitution citizen are the owner of the republic of Bangladesh and elected representatives should be accountable to the people, similarly representatives of Union parishad also should go into the same process. But before the local government act 2009, there were no formal structure to make a representative accountable to the respective people. For the first time the local govt. act provides Ward shava as a mandatory event where there is a scope of sitting both people and their representatives in a same platform. So ward shava is considered as an effective process of grass-root democracy & accountability. But observation around the 3 years says , representatives are not agree to hold ward shava as they will have to face questions from the people’s side. Even local administration has not yet shown any notable success regarding the issue. The Hunger project has been trying to create a campaign building up awareness on ward shava as well as initiating advocacy with UP for the last couple of years. As a result people of our working area playing role as pressure groups to ensure holding ward sabha and already some UPs also have come forward. In this continuation a ward shava has been held in the date of 04-11-2013, at the ward no-01 of Folda Union of Bhuapur Upazilla for ensuring transparency and accountability for creating effective Union Parishad with the help of advocacy effort by jointly The hunger project and Brac associated by UNDEF. Md. Abdul Barek, ward member & shava president organized and facilitated this shava at Mominpur daksin para. Total 120 community people attended the meeting including 25 women. Among the audience all are voters. The ward contains a total number of 1100 voters. In the beginning Abdul Barek, Shava president gave his introducing speech towards the present voter and congratulated them for their participation. By his speech, he explained the completed tasks of last six months and invited them to prioritize the local problems for coming days. Then the present voters prioritized the infra-structural & social problems through group discussion dividing by several groups. List of different beneficiaries also made maintaining some guided indicators. Some committees are formed to address different issues like, early marriage, eve-teasing, gambling, women oppression etc. People also congratulated the Union Parishad for arranging ward shava and told to take proper initiatives to continue. From the citizen, Mr. Rabiul Awal & Mr. Md. Rafiqul Islam  and some others told in their impressions that in this meeting people have got a chance to discuss about the local problems with their representatives in a free environment and also can ask about the undone priorities what they have never expected before. Finally, ward shava president Md. Abdul Barek given his closing speech, “if everyone of this ward takes responsibility, within a short times, we will able to solve all the social problems.”  The schedule of the meetings of remaining wards has already prepared.