Zakia Tasnim Chowdhury and Sayeed Hossain Bhuiyan Shuvro
Build Bangladesh Foundation served Ideation Session on ‘How CSR can change Bangladesh’ as a part of its official launching ceremony at The Lakeshore Hotel on 25th November, 2017.
The programme started with an introductory remark by Chowdhury Abd-Allah Quaseed, Founder and Chairperson of the Build Bangladesh Foundation. In his speech, Chowdhury Abd-Allah Quaseed depicted how Build Bangladesh started its journey.
Following his speech, a presentation session on the objectives, mission and vision of build Bangladesh was conducted by Mr. Mahbub, Director and Co-founder of Build Bangladesh and Ms. Urmi who is also one of the directors of the foundation.
BUILD Bangladesh Foundation is anon profit, non political community development initiative to converge professionals, entrepreneurs and general people in the age range of 20s to 80s, but with preferably some educated opinions, into a forum where they can generate ideas about different topics of national significance and subsequently transmit the ideas formed to government officials, members of parliament, ministers and also politicians from earlier regimes in a sincere attempt to improve the way the nation is governed and administered. The organisation also would like to encourage CSR and motivate more people towards it.
BUILD BD Foundation would also assist organisations in choosing sectors that need more CSR support and would try and establish an interface between CSR seeking initiatives and those who can and would provide such support. The foundation was formed on the 16th of September. Interestingly, BUILD stands for ‘Build Unity Initiative Leadership and Development’, while the name as a sentence suggests that it is an organisation that would help to build the foundation of Bangladesh!
The foundation of BUILD Bangladesh Foundation was laid by Chowdhury Abd-Allah Quaseed who is a leading professional in the HR Field with nearly 20 years of experience and who also led corporate bodies and massive divisions in very large organizations from a more central strategic management role and a Director level. He has also been an active columnist in The Bangladesh Post and various other newspapers and publications, and was the the concept designer and host of Agamir Kontho (from 2006-2009) and Agamir Bhabna (2012), two top rated TV programs, in which he moderated highly interactive discussions involving a large body of college and university students and young professionals.
The vision of implementing something similar on a national scale was what led to the eventual creation of BUILD Bangladesh Foundation many years later. However, the original motivation arose from an earlier off-screen program that Quaseed used to organise and moderate as the President of the NSU Debate Club from 1997 onwards till 1999, in the North South University campus, which was called Burning Issues, where students and faculty members debated on international issues. This had been initiated by Quaseed for creating more pathways for ventilation of opinions of people and the need for this was first highlighted by him in an article that he had published in 1996 in reputed English daily, focusing on the need for ‘Participative Democracy’.
Today in BUILD Bangladesh Foundation, Quaseed has a strong team of over 20 professionals from different sectors who comprise a core operational team and they have another body of general founder members and a Board of Advisors comprised of very eminent personalities including Syed Almas Kabir (Former President of BASIS, President of American Alumni Association, and Former National President of JCI Bangladesh); Mr Farooq Sobhan (President of BEI and former Ambassador); Mr Aftab Khurshid Mahmud ( Head of Brands and Marketing, Bengal Group, and famous lyricist); Mr Chowdhury Musharraf Hossain (Former CEO of Hanjin Shipping Bangladesh); Barrister Hamidul Misbah and many others.
Some of the most active core team members include Mr Mahbubur Rahman (Head of HR, DHL); Mr Shakil Ahmed (COO-Acme Group); Mr Roomee Tareque Moudud FCMA (Director Placements and Faculty of Finance at AIUB); Dr Asad Khan Priyo (Assistant Professor at NSU); Ms Urmi Irani Khan ( Senior VP at DBH); Mr Shahriar Tofayel (Project Management Consultant for RMG and Footwear sector); Ms Najia Zafrin (Head of Organizational Development at Apex Holdings); Ipshita Fahmin (Head of HR at a Burea Veritas); Ms Sumaya Rashid ( Country Manager at SR Asia ); Shobhan Komal (journalist); Sarfaraz Ahmed – Country Manager of a Power Development company; Taskin M Choudhury – (Economic Zone Development Consultant) and several others.
It is the pursuit for creating more avenues and pathways for expression of thoughts of ideas of general people for the eventual solidification of the culture of true democracy, which culminated in the forming of BUILD Bangladesh Foundation. The declared slogan is : “Voicing and Implementing Ideas of the People” while the vision statement is declared as: “To be a platform for voicing ideas and opinions of the general people and helping to implement them to contribute to developing the nation further towards becoming a developed country in a comprehensive sense”. It needs to be reiterated that this is a completely non-profit and non-political organisation and its main goal is to help extract and disseminate effective ideas to the government and support them in materializing them and inspiring others to do the same.
The launching ceremony held on 25 November at Lake Shore Hotel was attended by about 130 people filling out the convention centre among whom there were a few students but over a 100 of the guests were professionals from various fields. What was truly remarkable was the lineup of numerous eminent panelists and discussants.
The Honourable Minister for Water Resources Mr Anisul Islam Mahmud was the virtual chief guest, as the program was started with a video of an interview of his taken by BUILD Core team members. Other panelists who exalted the occasion by their presence included former Ambassador Mr Farooq Sobhan – President of BEI; Mr Kaiser Kabir – Managing Director of Renata Pharmaceuticals; Major General (Retd.) Sheikh Monirul Islam ; Mr Syed Almas Kabir – former President of BASIS; . Vikramjeet Singh – Country Head of an international apparel sourcing company; Mr Mohiuddin Babar – CSR Consultant and Practitioner ; Nooruddin Chowdhury – Country Manager , DHL Logistics Bangladesh; Shahamin Zaman – CEO, CSR Centre Bangladesh; Aftab Khurshid Mahmud – Head of Marketing & Branding at Bengal Group; Shofiqul Islam – Group CFO, Super Star Group; Edris Ali – Motivational Speaker, Youth Leader & Captain of Bangladesh Wheelchair Cricket Team; Chowdhury Musharraf Hossain – Former CEO of Hanjin Shipping Bangladesh; Paul Harris Fellow; Mohammad Mahbub Rahman – Dean & Professor at School of Business and Economics, North South University; Advocate Ziaur Rahman -Founder, Citizens Open Forum & Managing Director IITM; Razee Mohammad Fakhrul – Member of Parliament ; Dr Rehnuma Karim – Founder of Heroes for All; Barrister Hamidul Misbah – President of Bangladesh Intellectual Property Forum and several others.
The title sponsor of the event was Lanka Bangla Finance Limited, and additional fund support was provided by Bangladesh IP Forum, Gweebarra Food and Bakery Industry and Coopers and also by the private endowment of Mr Taskin Mustafa Chowdhury.
The launching program was built around the topic “How CSR Can Change Bangladesh” and all of the panelists and many of the audience members spoke and shared their opinions on the subject along with lavishly bestowing their appreciation for this program of creating such a platform for helping to build a better country by encouraging more inclusion of ideas from general citizens. The total program was facilitated by Mr Quaseed the Founder Chairman and President of BUILD Bangladesh Foundation and he did a very noteworthy task of that. The discussions were effectively punctuated by having several presentations made by BUILD Bangladesh core team members about the organisation, about the initiatives taken and to be taken, about global CSR trends and best practices, CSR goals aligned with SDGs and CSR position in Bangladesh.
The key fundamental takeaway from all of the discussions was that the time has indeed come for all companies to understand that they have to invest in improving the communities in which they operate and in which their stakeholders, customers, suppliers and employees live in, and by doing so, it directly benefits their businesses as well. As part of this understanding all companies need to come forward and invest more in CSR programs, but rather than doing some piecemeal initiatives on their own, it would be a good idea if several companies in any particular area could combine their efforts and funds and jointly work towards alleviating some issue or problem of a certain location.
And also to take up programs and activities that are in alignment with the SDG international goals, so that every thing done helps to take the country closer towards fulfillment of the SDG Goals. It was also discussed and agreed that BUILD Bangladesh Foundation can indeed help in this process of bringing initiatives of different organizations together and merging the action plans with SDGs and also helping to align with government goals and initiatives as well. It was also informed that the government is encouraging CSR by giving tax incentives already, and that Accounting practices now are also focusing on Sustainable Accounting practices and that in some sectors and industries the government has already regulated what percentage of the profit or revenue has to be given for CSR activities.
The organisation aims to have a publication published soon containing a more detailed report on ideas shared by everyone at the launching, taking more video interviews of prominent thought leaders on various subjects, and organizing more idea generation sessions in the coming weeks, and promises to be a truly active and energetic initiative that will truly make a mark in achieving its stated goals.
Bangladesh Post was the media partner in this event