Nayela Akter

Programme Officer, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Bangladesh
Photo of Nayela Akter
DTP/MFA have supported CSOs to organise themselves, to identify and prioritise their issues of concern, and to identify solutions. As an outcome of this training, CSOs in Bangladesh submitted their first shadow/parallel report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

Nayela played a big part in drafting the first shadow report submitted by the Bangladesh Civil Society Adovcates for the Rights of Migrant Workers that was prepared for the consideration of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers 26th session.

Nayela has been with HELVETAS Bangladesh for more than five years, (two years as Junior Programme Officer and over three years as Programme Officer – social equity, gender equality, good governance, migration and development). She supports the country programme management in making sure that principles of gender, social equity and good governance are reflected in organisational policies and staff capacity development, to build the skills of project staff and partner organisations in GSE sensitive project cycle management, to provide guidance to advocacy initiatives related to gender and human rights based issues and to uphold and facilitate participatory knowledge sharing processes to capture and disseminate the learning from practice and policy dialogue.

“Migration is often part of the livelihood and coping strategies of disadvantaged families and communities which we address through our governance and rural economy programmes and projects. The “migration” factor plays an important role along the out-of-poverty trajectory which these programmes and projects stimulate, be it in relation to skills development, the productive use of remittances, or governance and human rights issues affecting safe migration.”

Nayela explains that the migration governance challenges lie within the migration cycle. The migrant workers are often cheated from the beginning of the migration cycle. The high cost of migration and making the recruiting agents accountable are big challenges. Proper job contract, good working conditions and getting proper support (legal, information, shelter), language and cultural barriers etc in the destination countries are major concerns while working for the migrant workers. Migration does not only impose economic costs on migrants, it also has significant social, psychological and cultural costs for migrant workers and their families. Often those costs cannot be recovered.

Nayela started participating in the DTP program in December 2015. That was the first module of Capacity Building for Advocacy for Migrant Workers and Safe Migration in Bangladesh, which was the entry point for her and also for HELVETAS Bangladesh to engage with the issues of labour migration in Bangladesh. Through implementing pioneer Safe (Labour) Migration Projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka, HELVETAS has gained rich experience which can be replicated in other labour sending countries. DTP has been her first formal exposure in advocacy initiatives on labour migration.

She believes that the HELVETAS projects on migration in labour sending countries have already benefited from the DTP/MFA courses and will benefit further from engaging with the regional networks of DTP/MFA.

Another unique support that DTP facilitated was helping the CSOs in Bangladesh to develop country specific advocacy plans for the two labour receiving countries of Malaysia and Lebanon – the partnership with CSOs there. She hopes HELVETAS’ regional projects benefit from this innovative advocacy initiative. Nayela also foresees more opportunities for DTP to facilitate strengthening similar networks with other labour receiving countries. She also sees the value in more collaboration and functional regional networks/platforms for CSOs in labour sending countries.

More personally, Nayela reflected that the DTP/MFA course has been her first formal exposure in advocacy initiatives on labour migration. DTP connects all relevant regional and global processes, instruments, networks, platforms and actors that provides a context for her own work and advocacy. She can see how what they do in Bangladesh can link in with and complement what others are doing.

“I have been able to get an overarching understanding of the concepts, legal instruments, opportunities, challenges and strategies to overcome challenges concerning the rights of the migrant workers and their families. This has enabled me to be more strategic in my approach.”

The training changed her understanding and approach to advocacy – which was based around succession of one-off or single initiatives such as days of observation (commemoration), workshops, seminars, rallies or demonstrations.

There has also been the practical skills building emphasis on the program.

“As participants in this program we also feel that one of the greatest successes is the opportunity to engage with CSO efforts preparing for the GFMD 2016. The DTP/MFA participants have been trained throughout the modules how they can meaningfully contribute and actively participate in CSO days and common spaces in GFMD.”

As an outcome of the program, Nayela applied DTP/MFA’s training by working with others to prepare a report for the UN and then appearing before the UN Committee on the Rights of All Migrant Workers in Geneva in April 2017. The UN Committee accepted 26 of their 30 recommendations.

May 2017

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