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Introduction:

SONGSHOPTAQUE is a Bengali word meaning FIRGT TO THE DEATH. It is a social, cultural and human benevolent organization established in 2000 by a group of young cultural activists with a view to improving the underprivileged section of the society through consolidating their knowledge, power and humanity. With a rights based mission, Songshoptaque functions with the participation of disadvantaged children, adolescents, women and men, poor widow and divorcees and people with disability. Initially the organization was focused on cultural activities like music, drama, recitation, mime etc through operating schools. While working in the communities, it felt the need for education of the children of poor families and support for the people with disabilities. Subsequently it committed to work with the community people in the field of child rights, child education, disability rights, sanitation, and women empowerment.

The Historical Timeline of Songshoptaque

Year Major Even and accomplishment
2000 Inception of Songshoptaque
2001 Under take Social development Program (Cultural Schooling, Development Activities for PWDs, WATSAN Program)
2002 Registration of Department Social Welfare
2003 Starting Non formal Primary Education (NFPE) Program – Partnership with BRAC
2004 Registration of Joint of Stock Company
2005 SiSimpur (Early Childhood Development) Program – Partnership with Nayantra Communication
2006 Registration of Department of Youth Development

DREAM (Disable Rights Enhancement through Attachment in Mass media) Program – Partnership with MJF

2008 Interactive Popular Theatre (IPT) Program – – Partnership with Department of Primary Education & UNICEF Funded
2009 Early Childhood Development Support Program – Bangladesh: – Partnership with PHULKI

Electing Secretariat of BEN (Bangladesh ECD Network) – Chittagong-Shylet Region

2010 Registration of NGO Affairs Bureau

Context of Strategic planning for Songshoptaque

Songshoptaque is a youth based cultural organization turned development organization. As NGO, it has been implementing a range of development projects and programmes since 2003 in partnership with national and international agencies. Some of the major programme includes: Empowerment of people with disabilities, Child rights and child education, environment, and women empowerment and economic development. Besides, it has implemented wide range of event based discrete projects with national level organizations.

Songshoptaque’s approach to programming is driven by its core values and mission. It has partnered with several development initiatives and projects of other organizations that are consistent with its organizational goal. Songshoptaque has developed a range of technical and managerial competencies through involving in these programmes.

Now time has come for Songshoptaque to focus its role in the complex and changing development paradigm. It needs to design and develop core programme that is based on the specific needs of the communities Songshoptaque works with. The main purposes of the strategic planning are to:

  • Provide future guidance as to where Songshoptaque should focus it resources to make a  difference in the lives of the poor and marginalized
  • Develop a programme mix that best suit with the community needs and the organizational competencies
  • Ensure better control on the future destiny of Songshoptaque
  • Equip the organization to meet the future challenges.
    The strategic planning process took the above context in due diligence and strives to develop strategies that best address those contextual requirements.

Opportunities & Challenges

Songshoptaque is operating in a dynamic yet a fast changing operating environment. Being based in Chittagong, the operating environment of Songshoptaque is crisscrossed by the social, economic, political and environmental realities of this region. The strategic planning process have tried to analyze current as well as unfolding realities in this region and attempted to locate itself where is may fit best in the foreseeable future. Following are some of the most relevant issues that would implicate Songshoptaque to destine its future course of programmes and activities.

Environmental and climate change impact on Chittagong: Proximity to sea and geographical condition of Chittagong posed particular threat to environmental degradation, salinity, pollution and climate impact. Unplanned industrialization and the raise of ship braking industry are causing serious pollution and health hazard in the port city and its surrounding area. Environmental threat will continue to be a major developmental issue in the foreseeable future.

Expanding garments factories and the compliance issue: Export oriented garments industry is fast expanding in the Chittagong city areas. Women mostly from the sub-urban  areas work for these garment factories. Oversea buyers are increasingly demanding for better work environment for factory workers and ensuring social compliance issues including the rights of garment workers. Day care facilities for the small children is a right of female worker and thus it is seen as an important issue of social compliance. Therefore, social compliance issues are evolving as a prerequisite for business sustainability in the garment sector.

Expanding micro-finance programme of the large NGOs: Micro-finance activities used to be less intense in these areas compare to other parts of the country. But in recent times a number of large micro finance NGOs have stretch their activities in these areas making the micro finance operation more competitive. The demand for micro-finance on the other hand is also growing fast.

Low education and awareness of the general masses: General education and awareness social and human rights are relatively low among the poor and marginalized people in these areas partly because not much attention have been given by the NGOs. Conservatism and restriction on women is more profound and thus women and child rights are overtly neglected in private and social respect and arena.

Livelihood security of the peri-urban and rural population: Agriculture and fisheries is the main livelihood for the rural population. Salinity, pollution and climate change are causing a negative impact on the agriculture and fisheries sector. People in these professions are beginning to feel the impact on their livelihood. There is no adoptive measures are in place at scale to mitigate the impact. Signs are evident that rural people are switching to other profession for livelihoods.

Rights of the marginalized people: Marginalized people including minorities, various occupational groups and persons with disability are often subject to violation of rights. There are small social groups such as Beharies and Sweepers who are often subject to abusive and social neglect and generally live a confined area.  The fishermen group in the costal areas also suffer similar treatments. Efforts for raising social awareness and sensitivity towards these groups remain limited and fragmented. Marginalisation process prohibits them from access to legitimate services and opportunities. Therefore poverty and social insecurity descend on them in a dominant form and eventually isolating them from the mainstream social processes.

Growing civil society:  Civil society and NGO activities are increasingly evident in this region though relatively less organized and profile than other parts of the country. They are increasingly raising voice on issues like environment, human rights, social integration and good governance. A number of thematic NGO networks are also working to push forward their respective issues both in regional and national forums. Print and electronic media often supports civil society initiatives. They are gaining increasing influences.

 

An overview on Organizational strength and weakness

As part of the strategic planning process, we have done a systematic review of our organization. The review process specifically looked at the strategy, structure, systems, and skills dimension of the organization. The review have identified our core strengths as well as helped as to locate our weaknesses that need to be corrected in order to improve our overall performance in the future. Following section provides an overview of our organizational review.

Strategy

Songshoptaque has been working at the community level particularly with the women and children from poor and marginalized communities. Child rights and the rights of the disable people have been the major programmes of Songshoptaque. It also undertakes other community based awareness raising programme to promote awareness on environment, human rights and so on. Advocacy and Networking with NGOs and civil society organization encompass an important strategy for Songshoptaque

Its programme strategies are evolving as it sees opportunities in development activities. So far it implements programmes and projects in partnership with national NGOs. However, it strives to establish livelihood programme for the poor women in Anowara Upazilla through micro credit inputs.

 

Songshoptaque needs a clear organization strategy to remain focused with clearly articulated mission and programme strategy. It needs to remain vigilant to the opportunities and challenges in the development sector and uses core organizational competency to engage in partnerships and develop new programmes/project. It needs to renew its organization mission in the changing context and align strategies.

Structure

Songshoptaque is structured based on its programme delivery mechanism and geographic presence i.e. headquarters and field office at Anowara. As a small evolving NGO, its organizational structure also evolves through its programme strategies. While its flexible structure enables it to adapt to changing programme needs quickly, it may not ensure the optimal operating efficiency of the organization. Coordination and role clarity among staff need further streamlining to improve decision making and organizational performance.

System and skills

The organization has established basic financial and management systems. Given the scale and complexity of Songshoptaque’s work, these systems meet the organizational requirement but these further improvement in financial and management systems are seen as a necessity to comply with prevailing sectoral standard.

On the staff competency front, it can be said that the organization is endowed with a set of highly committed staff through there are gaps in professional skills. Therefore staff development is an urgent necessary in the future.

Strategic Planning Process

This document is the result of an investigative, interactive and participatory process involving a wide range of stakeholders. All senior staff of Songshoptaque, local elites, partner and alliance members, and last but not the least the programme beneficiaries have actively participated in the strategic planning processes. In particular they have immensely contributed to identify future needs of the programme beneficiaries and stakeholders as well as to assess the advantages, challenges, threats and opportunities of Songshoptaque in the fast changing external environments.

Vision

Songshoptaque envision a society where all human being live with dignity

Mission Statement

Socio economic development of the marginalized people particularly women and children through empowerment, economic development and social integration. All our efforts are shaped by the principles of human rights, equity and respect.

Operating Values

Songshoptaque gives high importance on values in the functioning of the organization. Staff members share and uphold a set of organizational values in their actions. Our organizational culture and behavior is determined and very much influenced by our shared values. Songshoptaque staff belief, practice and promote the following values in their professional work, their interactions with other staff members, as well as with our stakeholders.

Discipline: Requiring us to follow organizational norms and regulations completely and consistently to preserve Songshoptaque’s interests and benefits.

Participation: Allowing legitimate participation of staff as well as programme stakeholders in planning, implementing and decision-making.

Gender sensitive work culture: Requiring that we promote an organizational culture that promotes high ethical standard of gender in our work place

Professionalism: Calling our staff to uphold high degree of technical and ethical standards geared to achieve organizational mission.

Cost consciousness: Recognizing that resources are finite and the best use of them has to be made.

Teamwork: Requiring us to improve bondage and togetherness among the staff to face challenges and deliver results.

Transparency and accountability: Compelling us to share information related to our financial and programmatic work within Songshoptaque and our stakeholder; enduring accountability for performance; establishing individual and organizational performance monitoring

Creatively and innovation: Recognizing potential of staff, we promote organizational practices that value and reward innovative ideas and actions.

Concern for Environment: Giving highest priority to environmental concerns in our programmes and promote environment through our acts.

Core Competencies

Each successful organization through its work develops certain kinds of skills and expertise. This provides strategic advantages over similar organizations. This unique advantage becomes the core competence of the organization. Songshoptaque over the years has developed especial competencies in the following areas:

Promotion of disability rights

Persons with disability is a serious concern particularly for the poor and disadvantaged families. Recognizing that, Songshoptaque since inception is working on disability issues in a non-technical interventionist approach. Establishing the rights of the people with disability and access to services are the main focus in its programme approach. Advocacy and awareness development encompass the core element in its programme intervention in disability theme. It also works on the rehabilitation and social integration of the disable people.

Awareness raising

Community awareness development is a core programme approach for Songshoptaque. It pursues innovative methods and tools for information dissemination and awareness development. Cultural activities including interactive popular theater have been a key feature in its awareness raising and massage dissemination approach. Songshoptaque anchors on its creative methods and tools for developing community awareness on disability, environment, human rights and so on. Awareness building becomes an integral part of its development programmes and projects.

Child development

Every child is born with enormous potential though many could not live up to their potential for lack of awareness and enabling environment. Child development has been one of the main programme themes for Songshoptaque since its inception. Non-formal primary education and pre primary education have the main programme approach for child development. Traditionally it works at the community level to motivate parents, provide children with education and learning opportunity. It now establishes factory-based crèche to nurture the potential of small child and provide opportunities to grow with enhanced abilities and promised through the early childhood development interventions. Therefore, Songshoptaque now implements a whole range of programmes for the development of children between the age of 1 and 14 years old including the early childhood development (ECD) and day care support to the garment workers children .

Songshoptaque has set up Shishu Bekash Kendra (Child Development Centre) to provide basic education for the age group of 3-5 years at the community level

 

Event management

Workshops, seminars, exhibition, exchange visits are important events in development programme. Organizing these events needs professional skills to accomplish intended results. Songshoptaque has developed hands on expertise to organize and manage these events with high degree of success. It works with national level NGOs and agencies to organize these events in Chittagong. Strong networks with local level administration, civil society, and the NGOs enable it to organize big events with success.

Event management

Workshops, seminars, exhibition, exchange visits are important events in development programme. Organizing these events needs professional skills to accomplish intended results. Songshoptaque has developed hands on expertise to organize and manage these events with high degree of success. It works with national level NGOs and agencies to organize these events in Chittagong. Strong networks with local level administration, civil society, and the NGOs enable it to organize big events with success.

 

Organizational goal for 2010-2015

Establish Songshoptaque as a reliable development organization capable to improving the lives of marginalized communities especially women and children in the costal and hard-to-reach areas to improve their socio economic condition.

Songshoptaque organizational goal for 2010 – 2015 have some especial features that includes:

Firstly, its programme will focus on the marginalized section of the society in particular the women and children. People with disability are considered as marginalized and their basic rights are often neglected. Hence it will work with the people with disability for their rights.
Secondly, Songshoptaque will take programmes and plans more selectively based on its comparative advantage and skills.
Thirdly, it will give especial emphasis on developing organizational capacities as a means to expand programmes.Last but not the least, it will strive to reach out to the under served communities in the costal regions.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

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