The Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Phase II Project (AVCB II), provides much needed access to justice for marginalized rural people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project demonstrated its dedication to caring for their beneficiaries by helping them enlist their names in the government’s relief distribution database.
Sujela Begum (50),hailing from Jamalpur district has partial loss of vision and a mother of three visually impaired children. Her husband has also vision loss problem. Under this challenging situation, Sujela’s brother blindsided her for 2 decimals of land that were registered in her name. To get her land back, Sujela had sought supports from local elites, to no avail. One day, Sujela stumbled upon an awareness meeting of ‘One Homestead, One Farm’, a project run by the Government of Bangladesh. At that meeting, she came to know about the services of Village Courts from a Village Court Assistant, a front level staff of AVCB II.
With their support, she managed to get her land back and has also built her own house. Unfortunately, Sujela’s happy life was disrupted by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, as her family was forced to stop begging, the only means of their survival. Unable to even manage a meal a day, she sought supports from the Village Court Assistant of her union, who was assisting Union Parishad in COVID-19 relief distribution. Considering her extreme poverty and vulnerability, her name was enlisted in the relief distribution database. She was provided a pack of relief consisting of rice, potato, pulse and soups immediately. Awaiting her next relief pack, Sujela remarks, “Village Court did not end their responsibility at just ensuring justice for me. During these trying times, they also saved my family from starving”.
Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh Phase II (AVCB II) Project facilitates local authorities in making village courts functional at 1,080 unions with financial supports and a tri-partnership with European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Bangladesh.