Proshika Non-Government Organisation. Immediately after the war of liberation in 1971, some visionary people could realise the inadequacy of the conventional development practices, began to plan development activities with an alternative approach. With an objective to contribute to rebuilding the war-ravaged country, they formed Proshika Manobik Unnayan Kendra (Proshika centre for human development) and started working in a few villages of Dhaka and Comilla districts in 1976. Proshika is an acronym of three Bangla words, proshikkhan (training), shikkha (education) and kaj (action).
Proshika envisages a society which is economically productive and equitable, socially just, environmentally sound, and genuinely democratic. The organisation's mission is to conduct an extensive, intensive, and participatory process of sustainable development through empowerment of the poor. Through empowerment, the poor are organised and made aware of the real causes of their impoverishment, a leadership is developed among themselves, their material resources are mobilised, income and employment are increased, and capacities are developed to cope with natural disasters. Empowerment makes the poor functionally literate, enables them to take better care of their health, to get involved in environmental protection and regeneration, get elected in local government bodies and community institutions, and provides the poor with better access to public and common property resources.
Proshika programmes include building organisations of the poor, training in skill development, universal education, promotion of self-reliance through employment and income generating activities and provision of credit, small enterprise development, natural resource protection and environmental regeneration, development support to communication, health education and infrastructure building, integrated women's development, development policy analysis and advocacy, patronage to indigenous culture and its use in mobilisation of the mass people in social movements, disaster preparedness and management, and assistance to other organisations.
The top management structure of Proshika includes a general body consisting of 30 members drawn from a cross-section of people. This general body appoints auditors, approves the annual report and budget, fixes audit fees and elects a 9-member governing body for the organisation. The governing body is elected each year from amongst the members of the general body and it formulates policy and reviews progress. The president of the governing body is the chief executive and he is assisted by a senior vice-president, a vice-president, directors and deputy directors.
At present, Proshika operates through 200 Area Development Centres (ADCs) spread in 24,213 villages and 2,110 urban slums in 59 districts. It works with 9,26 thousand women and about 5,30 thousand men drawn from poor rural and urban households organised into 1,10,920 primary groups. From the inception of proshika to till now, over 12 million poor people both male and female have so far been rehabilitated in various income generating activities. More than 1.14 million people have attained literacy, 168 thousand got medicare services and 717 thousand children received primary education during the period with the active support of Proshika. It also extended support to plant over 10 million saplings under the country's Social Afforestation programme. [Shamsul Huda]