Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Government of Bangladesh dismisses board of FPAB

Two more interesting things from my recent ATIP to DFATD and the $6 million grant to IPPF.

1) FPAB is the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh. In other words, FPAB is IPPF's member association in that country

Apparently the entire FPAB board was dismissed by the Bangladesh government.

DFATD refers to page 5 of the semi-annual report (ATIP page 67), which I also had from my last ATIP. (See ATIP page 119 below).

This is what DFATD asked in their question to IPPF:
"Could you provide some information about why the Government of Bangladesh dismissed FPAB's Board in August? Also, I don't know if you informed DFATD about this when it happened. However, this is the sort of thing we should know about when it happens, so that we are able to respond to any questions that may arise."

I looked at page 5 of the semi-annual report (from my previous ATIP) to see what IPPF reported there (see below ATIP page numbers 66 and 67. I also include page 66 for context). Well that part of the ATIP is blacked out on the semi-annual report.

So what does IPPF respond to DFATD's question? I don't know, because that paragraph is completely blanked out citing s.21(1)(b) of the Access to Information Act*. Which mean we have no idea, why the Government of Bangladesh dismissed the entire board, of an organization that operates on IPPF's behalf, using dollars from Canadian tax payers.

2) Note this question from DFATD to IPPF, and IPPF's response, also on page 119:
"DFATD: In addition, I would be curious to know how IPPF CO monitors project activities. Much of the report seems to be based on the self-reporting of the MAs. While I have no reason to doubt their reports, given the level of interest in the project, it would be helpful to learn how you track progress on the less quantitative aspects of the project. (emphasis mine)
IPPF: Regional Technical Officers are in regular communication with Member Associations (MA), and take regular visits to each MA to monitor their activities and progress. It is during these visits that the more qualitative aspects of the project are monitored and reviewed. In turn, Regional Technical Officers are also in regular contact with the Access Team in the Central Office to ensure MA. activities are in compliance with IPPF technical guidelines as well as IPPF's Strategic Framework.

"Self reporting" of member associations. I find this a bit worrisome. Especially when the entire board of one of those organizations has been dismissed and we don't know why.

* s.21(1)(b) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains...an account of consultations or deliberations in which directors, officers or employees of a government institution, a minister of the Crown or the staff of a minister participate

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