The closing event of the Jibika project, a collaboration between Chevron and Brac, was held recently at Brac Centre, Dhaka.
Representatives of GoB, Brac, Chevron, Brac USA, IDEA, IDE and Sharbik Gram Unnoyon Shomobay Shomiti Ltd were in attendance, said a press release.
The project has been operating since October 2015 in areas adjacent to Chevron-operated gas fields in Sylhet, Moulvibazar, and Habiganj districts. Jibika worked to achieve the long-term sustainability of the community-based organisations by enhancing organisational capacity through strengthening cooperative governance and building leadership abilities.
The project Jibika facilitated the registration of 110 groups, enhanced their socio-economic status and overall supported more than 22,470 people (around 4,216 households) in the surroundings of gas field communities.
Rear Admiral M Makbul Hossain, director of operations, Brac attended and gave closing remarks; Md Ahsan Kabir, BCS (Co-operative), additional registrar at the Department of Co-operatives, Ministry of LGRD and Co-operatives; Eric M Walker, the president of Chevron Bangladesh, Muhammad Imrul Kabir, director of corporate affairs at Chevron Bangladesh; Lauren Godfrey, senior manager of education, Brac USA attended as the guests of honor.
Shyam Sundar Saha, programme head, Integrated Development Programme (IDP) Brac and representatives of the community-based organisations presided over the event.
The event highlighted the achievements of the Jibika Project, followed by an outline of Jibika's journey and learning so far and it was presented by the Programme Coordinator of Jibika, ASM Sofrul Islam. Md Ahsan Kabir, BCS (Co-operative) lauded the partnership between Brac, the world's largest development organisation, 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.
He also mentioned that initiatives like Jibika supports Government's vision to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Lauren Godfrey spoke on behalf of Brac USA and showed hope that despite the conclusion of this project, the Jibika community-based organisations will see continued success well into the future, especially as they continue to digitize their account management processes and develop their leadership and governance through continued partnership with the Department of Cooperatives.
Muhammad Imrul Kabir And Eric M Walker on behalf of Chevron thanked the Jibika project and the government cooperative department for their contribution to socio-economic development through the institutionalisation of community organisations and expressed their experience while working on this Project.
Eric M Walker emphasised that Jibika is one of the key projects under Chevron's Bangladesh Partnership Initiative or BPI, which is their signature economic development programme.
Jibika project participant, Laila Sultana, Secretary, Donokandi Shoboj Sharbik Sharbik Gram Unnayan Shomobay Shamit Ltd and Md Rubel Ahmed, Chairperson, Tukergao Surma Sharbik Gram Unnayan Shomobay Shamit Ltd, said that the training and knowledge gathered from the Brac-Chevron and IDEA's Jibika project has helped them and other community to learn how to operate a village development organisation, how to improve enterprise through new technology, market system, and linkage with service providers.
They both thanked Jibika for improving their lives and other women's lives in the community.
Besides sharing stories by the Jibika project participants, the Jibika model was displayed, along with a stall representing the Jibika community-based organisation. A documentary showed two community-based organization leaders, depicting their journey and the impact Jibika created over the years.