State of Civil Society and NGOs in Bangladesh: Examining the Recent Trends and Changes
Keywords:Civil Society, NGO, Bangladesh
This paper is the outcome of a revisit study conducted in 2016 in three locations of two districts in Bangladesh. The original and/ or the 1st study was conducted in the same locations using same objectives and methods in 2005. The main purpose of the revisit study was to perceive the changes taken place in relation to the civil society space and activism, and the state of activism of NGOs. Qualitative approaches were used in collecting primary data from field and secondary sources were also used. The revisit study finds that NGOs are increasingly offering support to non - poor borrower groups, and today less emphasis is placed on offering small loans to the disadvantaged. The provision of larger loans (than the micro-credit loans encountered earlier), support to small businesses, and the appearance of migration support loans. In other respects, civil society space has been reduced in 2016. In 2005 we found rights-based works on the road to room for maneuvering, such as legal aid, we also found a civil society had been more politically focused, with the power to influence local officials in some cases. The 2005 study also found that with various civil society actors (services, rights, social mobilization and advocacy) a kind of dynamism in the stage, there was an opening of space indeed. On the other hand, the revisit study 2016 observed the shrinking state of civil society space. Rights-based NGOs and informal civil societies are at significantly reduced state; and it was found the social mobilization by the non-government organizations and agencies has a very slim opportunity to reinstall their activities in civil society space in near future. Extreme political control over institutions and citizens’ rights-based activities may be attributed as the main reasons of halting civil society action in Bangladesh.
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