Launching Jibika Phase II: A Vision towards Sustainable Village Cooperatives
DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 4 - A launch ceremony for phase II of the Jibika project, a collaboration between BRAC and Chevron, was held today in Dhaka. Various representatives from the Government of Bangladesh, BRAC, Chevron, IDEA and Village Development Organizations (VDOs) were in attendance.
Muhammed Ahsanul Jabbar, Additional Secretary, Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh attended as chief guest. Also present were Ismail Chowdhury, Director, Corporate Affairs, Chevron Bangladesh; Alexander Yelland, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Chevron Asia South; and Anna Minj, Director, Community Empowerment, Gender Justice & Diversity, Integrated Development Programme, BRAC. Matiul Islam Nowshad, CMgr, Senior Director, Operations and Strategic Initiatives, BRAC chaired the event.
The program highlighted the achievements of Jibika Phase I, followed by an outline of Phase II’s vision and objectives to strengthen the governance of the 110 VDOs, developed under this project. Mr. Jabbar lauded the partnership between BRAC, the world’s largest development organization, and Chevron, Bangladesh’s largest international oil company, in bolstering the socio-economic development of vulnerable communities residing near Chevron-operated gas fields in Greater Sylhet.
Mr. Chowdhury said Chevron’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs impact thousands of lives in north-east Bangladesh. Jibika, the first project under the Chevron Bangladesh Partnership Initiative, is an example of a successful collaboration between BRAC and Chevron that has been supporting VDOs and promoting entrepreneurship amongst its members in the Sylhet, Moulavi Bazar and Habiganj districts.
Mr. Yelland acknowledged the Department of Cooperatives for their efforts in making a positive and sustainable change in the communities where Chevron operates. He appreciated the great work already done towards the capacity development and governance of these VDOs. He also mentioned that Chevron’s social investment programs primarily focus on economic development, health and education, thereby supporting several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the UN.
Ms. Minj, conveying her wishes for the lasting success of Phase II, congratulated all the 110 VDOs for their efforts in leading the organizations towards sustainability.
Mr. Nowshad mentioned the role being played by Jibika and other projects under the Integrated Development Program in various rural areas of Bangladesh, empowering underprivileged people with the right knowledge, resources and capacity. He emphasized BRAC’s mission to continue working for underdeveloped areas and the marginalized. He expressed his desire to see many such impactful collaborations between BRAC, GoB and private sector organizations like Chevron.
The Jibika project was designed to promote entrepreneurship for sustainable income growth of the poor and marginalized farming households around Chevron-operated gas field areas in Greater Sylhet. Phase I of the project successfully established 110 Village Development Organizations, which later achieved registration from the Department of Cooperatives. Starting with seed money of 3-5 lacs, each VDO now has an average operating capital of 6 lacs. BRAC and its implementing partner IDEA have also facilitated intensive trainings on leadership, fund management, cattle and vegetable rearing, etc. for the communities. From the year 2015-2019, about 20,000 people in the community have benefited from the Jibika project. Following the successful completion of phase I, phase II of the project is designed to further strengthen the governance and management of the Jibika cooperatives and help them achieve long term sustainability by 2022.