Mobilizing District Committee Members
11. Organize seminars to bring all committee members together
The Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act, 2013 (DRPA) identifies the Deputy Commissioner (DC) as each district committee’s chairperson. But in reality, most DCs chair over one hundred different committees. As such, it is not unusual for DCs to overlook their responsibility to organize quarterly meetings of the full district committee. Sometimes DCs might also erroneously believe that the district committee’s designated secretary, the Deputy Director (DD) of the Department of Social Services is responsible for convening and running these meetings. Both competing responsibilities and also role confusion can prevent district committees from meeting four times each year as required by the DRPA.
The experience of USAID’s EPD program is that DPOs can jumpstart the district committees’ operation by organizing seminars and inviting the DC and/or an Additional DC as chief guest, along with other prominent committee members. Although ultimately it the repsonsiblity of the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that the DRPA is followed by local government officials, and although district committees should not rely on private actors to carry out core government functions, DPOs should consider convening district committee members at a large, formal event if they do not do so. Also, DPOs should pressure committee members to fix their next meeting date before the conclusion of these events.
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This domain was previously home to a joint report by NGDO, NCDW, and BLAST entitled “Current Status of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh: Legal and Grassroots Perspectives 2015,” produced with funding from the Disability Rights Fund. It is now available here.