History and Achievements
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust was founded in December 1998. The initial programs of WBB Trust were tobacco control and environment (discouraging polythene shopping bags and addressing noise pollution). Over the years, WBB Trust added a program on gender (now under Economic and Social Justice). Our tobacco control program is now subsumed under Health Rights, with a broader focus on non-communicable diseases. Our environment work is now subsumed under Livable Cities, with a focus on urban environments.
Following are some brief highlights of our major activities and achievements over the years.
The mission of Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust is to support policymakers to draft, pass, and enforce policies that will help in achieving a healthy population and environment, and to promote equality and social justice. In order to achieve our mission, we work closely with NGOs, media, and others, so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute towards a better Bangladesh.
Our vision is a society in which people and the environment are considered more valuable than money, in which everyone's basic needs are met, and in which the gap between rich and poor is minimal. In our visionary society, children will travel to school by bicycle and by walking, the most affordable food will be the healthiest, and non-smokers will be able to avoid encountering cigarette smoke. Urban people will be able to reach to public transport from their homes and workplaces within a pleasant ten minute walk; people will enjoy a sociable walk or bicycle ride to their workplace, and cars will no longer dominate and clog the streets. People with disabilities will be able to move easily and conveniently throughout cities, and women, children, and the elderly will be able to use public transport comfortably.
In our vision, urban dwellers will hear birds singing, people will grow vegetables and fruits, without chemicals, in urban communities, and throughout cities, girls and boys of all ages will play in neighborhood parks and playing fields. In the countryside, people will cultivate vegetables and fruits instead of tobacco, doctors' prescriptions will include exercise and a healthy diet, and advertisements of fast food, junk food, soft drinks and energy drinks will be replaced by ads for healthy foods and an active lifestyle. All patients, regardless of their income, will have access to high quality and free government hospital services, which will be delivered equally and respectfully to all. The household work of women will be given its due importance, and the participation and decision-making power of women, in the home and in society, will be similar to men's.
In order to achieve its mission, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust uses six main approaches: research, capacity building, media work, publications and material development, networking, and advocacy.
WBB Trust conducts short-term research with a specific focus on actions and policies in order to highlight needed areas for policy action, popular support for policies, or ways to improve policy implementation.
WBB Trust works to increase the ability of NGO staff, media representatives, and others to work effectively on policy issues. Our capacity building activities also include specific working skills, such as writing a newspaper article and organizing an event. In addition, WBB Trust regularly organizes in-house activities to increase the skills of our staff.
Media work: WBB Trust works actively with the media in order to reach policymakers, specific target groups, and the general public. Our media approach includes organizing colorful demonstrations, writing articles for newspapers and magazines, sharing information with journalists, issuing press releases, organizing radio programs, and participating in TV talk shows.
Publications and material development: In order to share our values and mission, to provide in-depth information on the issues on which we work, and to encourage people to join in our efforts, we regularly produce materials (stickers, leaflets, posters, billboards) and publications (reports, books, newsletters), which we distribute for free to policymakers, journalists, NGOs, and others. The focus of our publications is on highlighting effective solutions to problems.
Networking: The success of our work depends on our ability to maintain a strong, active, and diverse network. It is of vital importance that we are able to connect people and organizations to work cooperatively towards a common goal. Our networking includes sharing resources, knowledge, and ideas with policymakers, NGOs, media, and civil society. We are pleased to be a drop-in centre where people from all over the country, from large and small organizations, journalists, academics, and "ordinary" individuals, all feel free to come and share ideas and approaches.
Advocacy: We work closely with government officials, as well as NGO staff and media representatives, to support the adoption and implementation of policies to improve public health and the environment. Our advocacy work includes organizing seminars, writing letters and holding meetings with officials, and organizing signature and letter campaigns.
Areas of work
Work for a Better Bangladesh has three departments: Health Rights, Livable Cities, and Economic and Social Justice.
Our Health Rights department works to ensure that health is treated as a basic human right, not as a consumer item. We focus on prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by addressing environmental factors relating to tobacco, healthy diet, and active lifestyles. The work includes addressing tobacco control policies (taxation, bans on promotion, stronger pack warnings, and smoke-free public places), access to healthy foods and limits on promotion of unhealthy ones (especially soft drinks, artificial juice, energy drinks, fast food, and chips), and the ability to engage in purposive physical activity (walk and cycle to needed and recreational destinations) and to have neighborhood places for active play.
Our Livable Cities department addresses urban and transport planning, including inter-urban transport (rail) and urban transport (walking, cycling, rickshaw, and buses, and car control), noise pollution, and water and sanitation (particularly preservation of water bodies).
Our Economic and Social Justice department mostly addresses gender issues, particularly the need to recognize the importance of women's contribution to the economy through their unpaid household work, and the need to encourage men to take a bigger role in housework. The department is also closely linked to the new Institute of Wellbeing, which promotes exchange of information and ideas about ways to increase wellbeing.
WBB Trust legal status:
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB Trust) is registered under the Registration Act 1908 from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Work for a
Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust is also registered under The Foreign Donation (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Ordinance-1978.