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Khirul Ahsan Manik,Comilla, Bangladesh – November 26, 2023:

Yesterday’s momentous event, the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network officially launched its humanitarian initiative, “Coastal19,” during a general meeting titled “Step to Humanity – Bangladesh.” The meeting was presided over by Canadian expatriate journalist and educationist Delwar Jahid, who brought together key figures and experts to strategize on improving the lives of individuals in 19 sub-regional districts. The focus areas include poverty alleviation, education, skilled training, the development of women and children, sanitation, and healthcare.

Delwar Jahid, recently appointed Executive Director of the international charity Step to Humanity Association, commenced the proceedings with an opening speech highlighting the collaboration’s origin. He shared that the Step to Humanity Association expressed interest in partnering with the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network earlier this year, forming a special project committee dedicated to aiding the climate change victims of coastal areas in Bangladesh.

Reflecting on his experience, Jahid stated, “Over the past 10-11 months, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with Step to Humanity Association. On November 12, they entrusted me with the role of Executive Director to work towards improving the fate of the less fortunate in Asia and Africa.”

Jahid elaborated on the progress made during this collaboration, emphasizing discussions on various strategic aspects to enhance the quality of life in the 19 sub-regional districts. The proposed initiatives include comprehensive plans to address poverty and illiteracy and provide sanitation and healthcare facilities.

During the meeting, Dr. Anwar Zahid, an eminent writer, researcher, and development planner, served as the main discussant, highlighting the pivotal role of strategic planning in addressing the challenges faced by impoverished communities in Bangladesh, especially those affected by climate change.

Kamrul Hassan, a distinguished sociologist, and former Bangladesh Rural Development Academy director, attended as an honored guest. Dr. Kamrul emphasized the need for a thoughtful and strategic approach to address the sociological intricacies faced by the climate-affected people in the coastal regions of Bangladesh. He rallied behind the necessity of a strong organization recognizing the importance of sociology in addressing the human dimensions of climate change.

Among other discussants were senior journalist Khirul Ahsan Manik (UNB/Comilla), Ali Akbar Masum, executive director of Adhikar Foundation, Nasima Akter, and Ex. Director, BARD, Journalist Md. Sajjad Hossain (BSS), Journalist Shamsul Habib (Jugantor), and participants Asrar Jahid and Evana Kora Hasan.

Journalist Khairul Ahsan stressed the need to find sustainable solutions for the challenges coastal fisherman families face due to climate change. Ali Akbar Masum highlighted the slow and non-sustainable initiatives in climate change-affected areas, calling for a national organization to explore opportunities. Nasima Akter, a former Director of the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development, emphasized focusing on women’s and children’s development.

Journalist Sajjad Hossain emphasized women’s health consciousness in disadvantaged groups and appealed to the organization to build awareness. Journalist Habib highlighted the isolation and suffering of people in grasslands (Chor), emphasizing the need for attention and care.

A national executive committee was formed for three years:

Chairman: Dr. Kamrul Hasan

Vice-Chairman: Khairul Ahsan Manik, Ali Akbar Masum

General Secretary: Md. Sajjad Hossain

Joint General Secretary: Shamsul Habib

Finance Secretary: M. Firoz Miah

Member: Ms. Sonia Rahman

Member: Kora Hasan Evana

With the consent of the newly elected executive committee, Dr. Anwar Zahid was appointed Executive Director following the unanimous passing of the Memorandum and articles of association he presented.

The meeting concluded with the announcement that the organization resulting from this collaboration would be named “Step to Humanity – Bangladesh.” This signals a concerted effort to bring about positive change and uplift the communities residing in the targeted sub-regional districts.

As the initiative moves forward, the collaborative efforts of the Bangladesh North American Journalists Network and Step to Humanity Association promise to significantly impact the lives of those in need, addressing pressing issues and fostering a path toward a brighter future for the people of Bangladesh.