Peace Ambassador #2

July 15, 2018


The Hunger Project-Bangladesh launched the People Against Violence in Elections (PAVE) program in 2015, empowering a group of individuals from political parties and the civil society as members of Peace Pressure Groups (PPGs) and Peace Ambassadors. It was launched with the support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)Department for International Development (DFID) and in partnership with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Democracy International (DI). At present we have 58 PPGs, 1362 PPG members, 174 Peace Ambassadors and 58 PPG Coordinators across 31 districts of 7 divisions of Bangladesh.

Included here are the activities of the PPG members and Peace Ambassadorsin their communities. They are using their new by acquired skills to resolve conflicts, bringing together people across political and cultural divides, and hold public events where leaders and communities publicly demonstrate their commitment to social cohesion and peace — setting the foundation for a pluralistic, tolerant and inclusive Bangladesh.

Peace Ambassadors contribute to a peaceful city corporation election in Khulna
21 June 2018

The Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election was held on May 15, 2018. A total of 192 candidates contested mayoral and councilor races. PeaceAmbassadors and PPG members of Khulna city corporation along withSHUJAN: Citizens for Good Governance carried out a month-long campaign for free, fair, peaceful and credible election. These efforts of Peace Ambassadors and PPG members created a greater sense of tolerance among candidates, paving the way for interactions between citizen and political leaders.

Below are campaign highlights:

15 April 2018
A Press Conference was held in Khulna Press Club highlighting the roles of all the stakeholders – the Election Commission, law enforcement agencies, political parties, candidates, media and the civil society for free, fair, peaceful and credible election. The speakers highlighted that a peaceful election day does not necessarily reflect peaceful election. The election is a process; the whole process needs to be fair and the stakeholders must play their desired roles for a Peacefuland credible election.

28 April 2018
All five mayoral candidates were invited to a “Meet-the-candidate Forum” in Shaheed Hadis Park, Khulna. After a brief presentation about their election manifesto, all candidates took an oath before the voters that they would follow the electoral Code of Conduct, not misuse the power if elected and accept the election results if it is held in a transparent and credible manner.

More than 3,000 voters participated in the event. Voters also asked them questions which they answered.

The whole event had a festive mood and it allowed the voters to know more about the candidates for making informed decisions.

Following the success of the mayoral forum, Peace Ambassadors and SHUJAN organized similar events during May 3 to 12, 2018 in 14 wards with councilor candidates.

12 May 2018
Human Chain was organized at Shibbari More, Khulna to remind all the stakeholders about their role for promoting free, fair and peacefulelection. The speakers also urged voters to vote for honest, capable and clean candidates.

May 1-12 2018
A cultural team was formed to run a Cultural Campaign to promote voter awareness. The cultural team went to every nook and corner of the city to create awareness among voters to vote for clean candidates and to renounce violence in the election.

April 1- May 13, 2018
Social Media Campaign using Facebook ( was launched to engage voters, especially the first time voters. The social media profiled video interviews of all mayoral candidates. It also featured comparative statements of the antecedents of candidates, highlighting their assets, liabilities,  education, criminal records to help voters to make informed choices.

Political Leaders signed Code of Conduct (CoC) in Dakshin (South) Sunamganj, Sunamganj
12 May 2018

Peace Ambassadors and PPG members in Dakshin Sunamganj Upazila brought together political party leaders from Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party (Ershad) along with local civil society and media representatives to sign a Code of Conduct (CoC), committing to a pluralistic, tolerant and inclusive society.
The CoC includes commitments to: avoid violence and uphold democratic values and civic rights; be respectful of individual’s dignity and right of self-expression; recognize the existence of and be respectful to diversity; promote pluralism; resist ethnic and religious extremism and intolerance; and resolve conflicts through peacefuldialogue.

Ataur Rahman, Secretary Dakshin Sunamganj Upazila Awami League said about the CoC, “We are committed to have a violence-free national election and ensurepeaceful coexistence in our community.” Similar views were echoed by Faruk Ahmed, President, Dakshin Sunamganj Upazila BNP and stated, “Such events should be replicated all over Bangladesh.” 

Political Leaders sign CoC in Jamalganj, Dinajpur
15 May 2018

Peace Ambassadors and PPG members in Jamalganj Upazila invited forty-seven (47) political party leaders from Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party (Ershad), elected local government representatives, government officials, CSO and media personalities to a ceremony to sign a Code of Conduct. Attending the event, Faruk Ahmed, President, Jamalganj Upazila Jatiya Party said, “We all have to work together to keep the next election free from violence.”  Abdul Malik, Secretary, Jamalganj Upazila BNP said, “Without the commitment of the ruling party, the upcoming national election will not be free and fair. However, we do not want conflict in our Upazila.”

Abul Hashim, Officer In-charge, Jamalganj Police Station said, “The law enforcement agencies will play a neutral role during the election and will support the efforts to maintain peace in the area”. Shamim Al Emran, Upazila Nirbahi Officer said, “I am really happy to see leaders from all political parties come together to sign a peace treaty for establishing peace and harmony in their community.” 

Inter-Party Peace Dialogue in Derai, Sunamganj
23 May 2018

Peace Ambassadors and PPG members organized a peace event titled “Inter-Party Peace Dialogue”. More than 50 political leaders from all major political parties attended the event. The dialogue was interactive and people shared their diverse opinions publicly. Below are some notable quotes from the event:“To have a free, fair, credible and violence-free national election, the EC should apply its power with neutrality.” 
-Joynal Abedin, President, Derai Upazila Jashad-Enu“Awami League believes in the free, fair, credible and violence-free election. The Election Commission should strictly play its desired role.”
-Advocate Shohel Ahmed Soil Mia,Senior Vice-President, Derai Upazila Awami League“BNP will not indulge in any non-democratic or violent action during the election.” 
-Kamruzzaman, President, Derai Upazila BNP
“During the national election, the government should act neutrality for the sake of democracy and people’s right.” 
-Rashid Mia, Secretary, Derai Upazila BNP“Participation of all political parties must be ensured in the upcoming national election and there should be a level playing field for all.”
-Shiraj Daula, Vice-president, Derai Upazila Awami League“Firstly, we need the participationof all political parties in the national election. Secondly, we need neutral EC, administration and law enforcement agencies. We also have to avoid the use of muscle power in elections.”
-Aminul Islam Amin, Secretary, Derai Upazila Jashad-Enu,Facilitating the interactions, PeaceAmbassador and President of Derai Press Club, Shamsul Islam Sarder said, “The EC should be a totally independent institution to ensure a free, fair, credible and violent free election. It must ensure the participation of all political parties in the election.” 

From all these discussions a consensus emerged that all participants will work together to make the upcoming Parliament election free and fair and maintain peace in their area.

All Party IFTAR for Harmony in Rajshahi
May 2018

In the spirit of self-discipline, self-purification and charity of the holy month of Ramadan, the PeaceAmbassadors and the PeacePressure Groups (PPGs) members of Rajshahi district invited political leaders to Iftar for Harmonygatherings in their Upazilas. Invited by the PPGs of Puthia, Paba and Mohanpur Upazilas, about 100 political leaders, including Presidents and Secretaries of major political parties as well as civil society leaders and media representatives gathered in their respective Upazilas. PeaceAmbassador and Secretary, Puthiya Upazila Awami League Md. Abdul Malek, Peace Ambassador and Mayor of Nawhata Municipality Sheikh Mokbul Hossain from Paba PPG and Peace Ambassador and Assistant Professor of Mohanpur Degree College Md. Ashad Ali from Mohanpur PPG organized these events. The events were intended to promote inter-party interactions and fellowship.

Attending the event, PeaceAmbassador and Awami League leader Md. Abdul Malak said, “Thepeacebuilding movement is our own responsibility. We have to spread the movement to Union levels and we will form PeacePressure Groups in all unions of Puthia.”
Peace Ambassador and Teacher of Mohanpur Degree College Md. Ashad Ali said, “To strengthen thepeacebuilding movement, we will have to keep involving more influential political leaders.”

Social Harmony Festival in Charghat, Rajshahi
7 June 2018

The Peace Pressure Group (PPG) at Charghat Upazila of Rajshahi district organized a Harmony Festival. The event was attended by members of SHUJAN: Citizens for Good Governance, Unleashed Women Network, Village Development Team members, and Youth Ending Hunger. The event was presided over by Peace Ambassador and member, Rajshahi district Awami League Md. Saiful Islam Badshah, while Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Country Director of The Hunger Project Bangladesh attended as the Chief Guest. Upazila Chairman and Chargat BNP President Md. Abu Said Chand and Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Charghat Ashraful Islam, General Secretary of Charghat Upazila Awami League Fakrul Islam, President of Charghat Upazila Jatiyo Party Md. Rafiqul Islam Chowdhury also attended the event as special guests.
The speakers at the event recognized that people of Charghat are peaceful with a strong tradition of peaceful past. But due to overly partisan politics at the national level, they became divided. Now the time has come to reunite – not only unite the political leaders but also the people, especially women, youth and civil society groups.

Attending the events, BNP leader Md. Abu Said Chand said, “We will support the movement initiated by PPG Charghat to ensure peaceand harmony among and within the political parties.” Local animator and president of Village Development Team member, Jhoaz Uddin said, “I have organized people to form village development teams. We are uniting the people at the grassroots for peace and prosperity.” 

The Hunger Project animators highlighted their peace-building efforts along with their attempts to engage youths for building community resilience against curses of child marriage and drug addiction. Shammi (Grade 9) expressed her experience at the event by saying, “Many of my friends took drugs out of their curiosity, and now some of them have become addicted. I am afraid that they might become the threat for us. If we can help them overcome their addiction, we could expect peaceand harmony in our community.” 

Discussion meeting on “Citizens’ Responsibilities to Promote Social Harmony” in Tarail, Kishoreganj
5 June 2018

Peace Ambassador Rabindra Sarker organized a discussion meeting on“Citizens’ Responsibilities to Promote Social Harmony.” More than 50 community-based opinion leaders, including senior leaders of political parties, principals of colleges, religious leaders, Upazila Nirbahi Officers, Officers In-charge of Police Stations, journalists and representatives of various civil society organizations attended the event.

Sharif Noor Chowdhury, Chairman of Raouti Union Parishad said, “PPG has created such a great platform where anybody can come and express their opinions openly”. Chowdhury Mizanuzzaman, Officer in charge, Tarail Police Station said,“The burden on police will decrease as the PPG function effectively”.

Peace Ambassadors led Social Harmony workshops in Bhuapur, Tangail
May 2018

Peace Ambassadors Mirza Mohiuddin Ahmed and Shah Alam Pramanik, along with other PPG members, conducted three PAVE Harmony workshops with about 150 community members, especially opinion leaders, women and youth groups. These workshops focussed on the community’s role in maintaining social harmony as part of peacebuilding efforts at the grassroots level.

New PPG formed and Peace Ambassadors selected in Morelganj, Bagerhat
30 May 2018

The peacebuilding activities in Bangladesh has expanded into a new Upazila on May 2018, resulting in the formation of a new PPG in  Morelganj Upazila of Bagerhat district. Presided over by Md. Shah-E-Alam Bachchu, Upazila Chairman & Vice President of Bagerhat District Awami League, the PPG members unanimously selected three PeaceAmbassadors and one PPG coordinator for the newly formed Morelganj PPG. Newly selected Peace Ambassadors are  M. Emdadul Haque, General Secretary, Morelgonj Upazila Awami League, Ms. Azmin Naher, Upazila Vice Chairman & Convener of Upazila Mohila  Awami League and Abdul Mazid Zabbar, President, Morelganj Pourashava Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Md. Zakir Hossain, Assistant Professor & General Secretary of Morelgonj NGO Foundation will act as the PPG Coordinator.

Mr. Bacchu, Upazila Chairman said, “We started a new journey by organizing like-minded, but diverse political leaders to bringpeace and social harmony to Morelgonj Upazila.” Congratulations to the new team in Morelganj PPG! 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *