Promoting Social Harmony Between Bengali & Manipuri Project

 

Background of the project:

Sylhet is located at north-east part of the country, the district is comprises with a diversified composition of Tea Garden, Haor, Hills and Plain Land where people from both Indigenous and Bengalis community are living with their own diverse culture and distinct identity. Indigenous groups in Bangladesh are not directly vulnerable to recruitment or radicalization by VEOs comparing to Bengali communities, but they may be more vulnerable to considering social safety. Political representation do not often include Manipuri members (at local and national levels), there are perceived lower levels of social service support (including access to education, justice, and fair treatment by security actors), and ultimately, many perceive a lower status in society of Manipuri communities. This has contributed to a social divide between them and the majority population in the proposed locations.

In this backdrop, both communities, Bengali and indigenous peoples are vulnerable and victims of violent extremism. Indigenous peoples are one of the main victims of violent extremism and faced atrocities and communal attack in the region. Lack of respect towards cultural diversity and mutual trust is a major challenge in the area. Diversity is not celebrated as a source of strength and beauty, but it is treated as threat in many ways.

The proposed interventions to be facilitated at  Sylhet City and Sylhet Sadar Upazila along with the participation of Monipuri and Bengali under Sylhet Sadar Upazila of Sylhet District. This activity is important because indigenous peoples and Bengalis live there and historically the ethnic tension, communal riots and gradually raising current threats of VEOs witnessed by both Bengali and Ethnic communities living in this area.

Coverage of the Project:

Promoting social Harmony between Manipuri and Bengali Community Project has started targeting Manipuri & Bengali Community in Sylhet City. This project starting implementation activities from November 2019 and will be continue till May 2020.

Goal & Objectives of this project:

The goal of the Project is to strengthen communities’ capacity to identify, understand, contest and build resilience to potential drivers and narratives of violence and social harmony. The objectives of the project is to Identified Tolerance Ambassadors & Increased the knowledge of Tolerance Ambassadors on PVE issues through organized diversity camps, conducted learning sharing sessions and created community resilience against violent extremism by engaging ethnic and mainstream Bengali community.

 Working strategies:

This project has been implementing in group approach. At the beginning of this project 30 youth ambassadors has selected 15 from Bengali & 15 from Manipuri.  An orientation program and diversity camp curriculum developed by the expert team for entire activities. Diversity and indigenous experts including university professors will be in the team. This curriculum will be published for use in the project. The orientation program is designed with different contexts including an overview of the project, role and responsibilities of ambassadors, knowing tolerance and intolerance issues identify current issues regarding social, political, religious and economical aspects by forming group work. The diversity camp program includes, interaction, cultural program, inter faith dialogue, exchange visit, get together followed by religious and social festival, youth interaction, media campaign, TA peer learning dialogue, Day observations between Bengali and manipuri peoples, knowing their thought and cultures in practical ways, family visit, target group discussion, sharing thoughts, identify gaps between Bengali and Manipuri peoples, exchange visit, thematic lecture.

 

Results:         

By developing Tolerance Ambassadors from both Bengali and Manipuri community, build their skills on tolerance promotion and diversity through using diversity camp curriculum and create effective engagement communities by arranging different program, are contribute to build social cohesion, communities’ harmony, because Tolerance Ambassadors has been working to promote the culture of mutual respect towards diversity and help to build resilience community against violent extremist.

Finanacial Supported by: USAID through MSI

Duration: November 2019 to May 2020