Experts emphasised the paramount importance of ensuring the safety and security of aid workers in Bangladesh, particularly those engaged in humanitarian responses to the Rohingya crisis.
They spoke during a virtual dialogue organised by COAST Foundation, Cox's Bazar CSO-NGO Forum (CCNF) and BDCSO Coordination Process on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day.
The virtual dialogue, titled "No Matter What - Together we stand beside affected communities - Empower local actors," was moderated by M Mustafa Kamal Akanda, Director of COAST Foundation. The event's keynote presentation was delivered by Md. Iqbal Uddin from the same organisation.
During his keynote presentation, Md. Iqbal Uddin outlined vital recommendations. These encompassed advocating for the welfare, dignity, and survival of all, condemning acts against aid workers, and ensuring equitable compensation, essential facilities, life insurance, and comprehensive local staff support. He also emphasised dedicating 25% of direct funding to local organisations.
Abu Morshed Chowdhury, Co-Chair of Cox's Bazar CSO-NGO Forum (CCNF) acknowledged the pivotal role of frontline aid workers in humanitarian responses. He advocated for a risk-sharing concept that involves all partners, including donors, to ensure project design incorporates risk management.
Nilima Jahan Representative of Agrajatra emphasised the need to create a positive environment for female humanitarian workers at camp levels and provide them with necessary logistical support.
Khandakar Faruk Ahmed associated with Trinomul Unnayan Sangtha (TUS) Foundation suggested allowing non-registered organisations to work as associated entities in emergency projects. Amir Hossain of NGO Platform advocated for direct funding from donors to local organisations to minimise costs and promote local leadership.
Sheikh Asad Representative of Udayan Bangladesh highlighted the need for effective implementation of the Grand Bargain agreement. Mujibur Rahman, Advisor of Shushilan, called for equal treatment of local, national, and INGOs and urged the implementation of the Grand Bargain.
Ariful Islam, Chief Executive of YPSA stressed the need for direct funding to Bangladeshi NGOs to ensure cost-effectiveness, as intermediary organisations often absorb a significant amount of funds as their overhead or operational costs, leaving local organisations at the forefront without the necessary support.