Muslim Aid-UK Bangladesh Field Office

Technical, Vocational Education & Training (TVET): Technical and Vocational Education Programme (TVET)/Skills Development Programme is one of the major programmes of Muslim Aid Bangladesh Field Office (MABFO). Several units of Muslim Aid Institute of Technology (MAIT) have been established to implement TVET and skills promotion activities. Started in 2001, the main objective of this programme is to up-scale skills of the underprivileged youths, the principal targeted beneficiaries, and to expand their employment opportunities.

MAITs are located in Dhaka, Jessore, Chittagong and Rangpur that offer quality skills training on market driven trade courses such as dress making and tailoring, computer office application, graphics design and multimedia, outsourcing, computer hardware and networking, mobile phone servicing, electrical wiring, electronics engineering (TV, IPS, UPS, stabilizer and solar etc.), refrigerator and air conditioning, driving and auto mechanics, food and beverage services, and housekeeping. In offering courses, MAITs follow government’s National Technical and Vocational Quality Framework (NTVQF). Affiliated with Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB), MAITs also have been running diploma courses. TVET programmes aim at contributing to implementing the UN declared Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), government’s Seventh Five-year Plan and the Vision 2021.

Employment Opportunities: MAIT strategy and initiatives: Graduates often face difficulties to find out job opportunity due to lack of appropriate skills. The current skill supply system struggles to meet market demand because of inadequate throughput and a mismatch between skill supply and demand. It is said that the current production of skilled workers lack strategic focus on industry demand and is often segmented and poorly coordinated.

Addressing the current challenges requires building networks with different sectors of industries, policy makers, business chambers and think-tanks to find out a common ground and strategic way out. Muslim Aid’s MAIT led TVET programmes maintain close collaboration with industries, business communities and government policy makers to identify the demand for appropriate skills to manage employment opportunities. MAIT’s skills development trainings are designed in accordance with job market’s updated requirements. MAITs are playing vital role in producing skilled workforce able to deliver according to market demands. In addition, MAITs manage a well-coordinated job placement cell that builds linkages across the network of employers. MAITs regularly hold job-fairs to create interfacing opportunities with skilled job seekers and employers. Because of demand based training curricula MAIT graduates find it easy to manage employment opportunities after graduation. MAIT’s collaboration also helps industries to identify potential graduates easily and reliably. MAITs have achieved notable success in job placement. In this reporting year the number of graduates were 2309 (Female 945, Male 1364,), and among them 1218 became employed registering 52% success rate. MAIT graduates find job mainly in RMGs, electric engineering industries, IT sector, automotive and driving and civil construction.  Other than engagement in formal jobs graduates are supported with self-employment facilities.

School Feeding Program: School Feeding Program (SFP) for the poverty stricken areas is one of the major education interventions of MABFO. It is being implemented in partnership with Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and World Food Program (WFP) since 2010. This program is helping to ensure quality primary education and increase nutritional status of learners. Under this program, MABFO supports School Management Committees (SMCs) to play effective role in community mobilization for sending children to schools and ensure retention until the end of primary education cycle. The main input of the program includes food support to beneficiary students. Muslim Aid’s support is complementary to Government’s national education policy.

School feeding program has been helping Bangladesh’s education in different ways. It helps increase enrolment, improve attendance and reduce dropout rates, particularly of students of poor and ultra-poor households. It improves concentration span and learning capacity of students by alleviating short-term hunger and by contributing to the alleviation of micronutrient deficiency. The feeding program builds capacities of local communities through mobilization and creating awareness on the importance of education. It also supports women to ensure their active participation in community mobilization for primary education and for enhanced representation in school management committees (SMCs). It plays significant role in helping students and community people maintain healthy life through awareness building on systematic de-worming and information dissemination on primary health hygiene and sanitation. Under this program, teachers and students are motivated for quality education and using schoolyards for vegetable gardening to help improve nutrition status of the students.

School Yard Vegetable Gardening for Improving Nutritional Status of Students: Muslim Aid implemented a vegetable gardening project named “Vegetable Gardening at School Yard” in 50 schools of Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas of Cox’s Bazar district. World Food Program (WFP) and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education supported the initiative. The objective of the project is to ensure providing students nutritious and healthy meals to help them stay fit and focused at school. Head Master of Dailpara Govt. Primary School Md. Abdul Hakim said once we made a garden in our schoolyard, but cattle damaged all of our crops.

At present, with the technical support of Muslim Aid we have made a garden on our school building roof. Now, not only the students are consuming the vegetables themselves but also they are learning a whole range of agriculture relevant skills. As we have been able to provide food support, children are concentrating on their lessons more, he added. Upazila Education Officer (TEO) of Ukhiya Shamim Bhuiyan also visited different gardens. During his visit, he expressed his happiness as the children being benefitted by nutritious food from schoolyard. Vegetables planted in the school gardens or rooftops are growing well, and students are eating leafy and fresh vegetables with their meals every day. At the same time, young students are learning some important lessons about cultivation and nutrition. Young children are getting inspired to start planting vegetables at home from the practice.

87  events organized to celebrate International Literacy Day in Ukhia Upazila with total 27,412 Participants that includes: Boys: 12,258, Girls: 13,859, Teachers: 385, SMC: 408, PTA: 405, Local Elite: 92 and Officials: 5.

Muslim Aid continued to deliver WFP’s McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Children Nutrition Programme and School Feeding Programme (SFP) combining literacy component with the technical support of Room to Read Bangladesh in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar district.

In September, a total of 74.92 Metric Tons of high-energybiscuits were distributed to 60,320 children (girls-31,583, boys-28,737) in 282schools (GOB and GOB registered MPO school 146, NGO school 123, and Madrasa 13)in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas in Cox’s Bazar.

Education and Child Rights Protection Initiatives: Over the years, Bangladesh has been doing well in increasing net enrollment in primary education. Yet, there are several challenges that cause dropouts from school. Children of families with poor economic background fail to complete the primary education cycle. On the other hand, children of poor economic background also suffer from malnutrition. Muslim Aid Bangladesh has been implementing several projects to support children of poverty-stricken families. Muslim Aid’s interventions help children in multiple ways, such as enabling students to finish primary education cycle; improving nutritional status; creating hopes in them for a better future.  As a strategy to ensure relevance and effectiveness of its interventions, Muslim Aid partners with different development organizations, community leaders, school management committees (SMCs), etc. It also holds motivational activities to make both teachers and students enthusiastic about better future and better lives through quality education. Muslim Aid provides food and cash support as well to students of economically marginalized families.
Child Sponsorship Rainbow Family Program: Orphans from poor and distressed families are sometimes deprived of their rights and are forced to survive in destitute conditions. They do not get opportunities to get education according to their talent. In order to address this challenge, Muslim Aid initiated the Rainbow Family Program for educating children and providing them with good healthcare.

Rainbow Family Child Sponsorship Program helps children to realize their aspirations by providing them with individually tailored support. The program was formally initiated in 2007 with 18 children and the numbers of sponsored children became 469 in 2013. During this period, significant positive changes took place in the life of the sponsored children. Many of them have been able to achieve good academic results, improve their behavioral pattern. According to the academic progression and talent, student were transferred to good schools from previous schools. Students are encouraged to take part in different social and cultural activities to promote leadership and collaborative skills. Some of the students have been able to join tertiary level education such as engineering and university. Orphans and the most vulnerable children are living mainly with their extended families. This is done to give them a feeling of family and help them not to feel isolated. Students are encouraged to ensure the best use of the sponsorship program. It is seen that most students are improving well.

On 20 January 2016, Muslim Aid distributed financial assistance to 108 sponsored children under this scheme in Jessore region. MAIT-Jessore organized the distribution event where Mr. Md. Kamrul Arif, UNO-Jessore Sadar Upazila and Mr. Kazi Azgor Hossain, Chairman, Uposohor, Jessore were present along with other participants of local administration, civil society and the press.

Again, 109 students received stipend at Jessore MAIT on 29th September. Mr. Md. Johirul Islam Chaklader, Mayor of Jessore Municipality was the Chief Guest, and Md. Tohidur Rahman, Secretary  of Jessore Press Club and Md. Humayan Kabir, District Education Officer were present as the Special Guests along with all staff members of Muslim Aid Institute of Technology (MAIT).

Stipend Program: Every year Muslim Aid distributes stipend among poor meritorious students who study in the schools, colleges, universities including medical and engineering. With support from ECHO-USA and other individual donors from home and abroad, this program is being implemented. In giving stipend, priority is given to physically and mentally challenge students. This year around 305 students received stipend under this program. During the stipend distribution program, government officials and local government representatives were present.

Stipend distribution program held at Dhaka MAIT auditorium on 1st June. MABFO distributed stipend to 265 poor, destitute and disable meritorious students of S.S.C, H.S.C, medical, engineering and agricultural universities. Mr. Md. Akhtar Hossain, Deputy Project Director of STEP of Education Ministry graced the event as Chief Guest. Dr. Khalid Azim, Vice Chairman of ECHO-USA was special guest. The stipend was given as an aid to the students to purchase their textbooks and equipment, give tuition fees and inspire them to acquire skills to become self-reliant. Again, Muslim Aid distributed BDT 200,000 stipend to 40 poor meritorious students (19 female and 21 male), of Kuripaika High School, Lohalia, Patuakhali. Both stipend programs were sponsored by ECHO-USA.

Stipend for the poor & meritorious: MAIT, Chittagong organized a stipend distribution programme on 27th April in its campus. International Labor Organization (ILO) provided the stipend. MAIT students of industrial sewing machine operation stream received cash support. This was an incentive to students to motivate them to explore opportunities to become self-reliant. Along with others Mr. Md. Nurul Goni, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Government and Mr. Md. Ferdous, Vice President of BGMEA were present in the occasion to encourage the students for building their future through hard work, study, sincerity and honesty.

Special initiatives for creating employment opportunities- Creativity in production displayed in 37th National Science Fair in 2016: Jessore District administration organized National Science Fair during 24-25 January 2016 where MAIT Jessore participated with a project on Digital Solar system and was awarded with 2nd prize among 38 development projects in Senior Group. Prof. Abdus Sattar, Vice Chancellor, Jessore Science & Technology University and Dr. Md. Humayan Kabir, Deputy Commissioner, Jessore handed over the achievement crest.
Job Fair: MAIT-Dhaka organized a Job Fair on 20 February 2016. Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) and country’s eminent economist was the Chief Guest in the opening ceremony. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, OBE and Mr. Muhammad Zamir of Muslim Aid Board of Trustees, London, Mr. ABM Khorshed Alam, CEO (Additional Secretary), National Skills Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Md. Emran, Project Director (Additional Secretary) of Skills Training Enhancement Project (STEP) were present among others as guests. The fair helped the graduates getting access to the bigger job market.
Job Placement Seminar: A ‘Job Placement Seminar’ was organized by Teachers Training Center (TTC) on 20th August 2016 at Jessore TTC where Mr. Md. Imran Project Director, STEP & Additional Secretary, Ministry of Education and Md. Shahidul Islam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment were present as Chief Guest and Special Guest respectively. Md. Arif Nur, Principal of MAIT-Jessore represented Muslim Aid there to find as well as create new windows for creating and placement of skilled manpower.
Self-Employment Strategy: Leading entrepreneurs of the country Mr. Niaz Rahim, the Group Director of Rahimafrooz Ltd. and Mr. Mohammad Mujibur Rahman, Executive Director of Santa Properties Ltd. Participated in ‘Self Employment Support Ceremony’ on 25th April 2016, organized by MAIT-Dhaka. They shared their personal experiences to become the country’s leading entrepreneurs and urged the youth to keep trust in their skills and abilities while exploring opportunities for self-employment. Mr. Niaz Rahim also being the Chairman of the Centre for Zakat Management (CZM), one of the country’s major philanthropic and development organizations expressed interest to work jointly with Muslim Aid to create further opportunities for youth employment. Dr. Mohammad Ayub Miah, as the CEO of CZM also shared his valuable experiences to encourage all.
Consultation Meeting with 30 Educational Institutions: MAIT-Jessore organized a consultation meeting at Jessore Zilla Parishad Auditorium on 12 January 2016. Mr. Md. Nasir Uddin, Jessore District Education Officer, Mr. Abdul Mazid, Regional Director, Bangladesh Open University and 30 Head teachers of 30 educational institutions of the district attended the consultation. They focused on quality education for quality employment.

- Humanitarian:
◘ Assistance/ Preparedness/ Resilience to 133,969 beneficiaries in 15 districts

- Health
◘ Healthcare 153,929 beneficiaries in 4 districts
◘ WASH 132,742 beneficiaries in 31 districts

- Sustainable Livelihoods
◘ TVET short course 2,309 and Diploma 1000 students in 4 districts
◘ Agrobased livelihood 2000 beneficiaries in 2 districts

- Education
◘ Sponsorship to 488 Children in 42 districts & Stipend to 305 students
◘ School Feeding 281,830 beneficiaries in 3 districts
◘ Food Aid & Wellbeing 109,304 beneficiaries in 41 districts