- Impressive to learn what modest but important measures can be done to make life a little easier for villagers, says Henrik Width, deputy head of mission at the Norwegian Embassy after a recent visit to an island village in Kaptai Lake in Chittagong Hill Tracts. With funding from UNDP, supported by Norway, the village has a modest school giving education to eager kids, a storage facility for rice and have learned how to pool their resources and save for future investments.
The November visit by Width, his spouse Terhi Width and political advisor Faruq Hasan to the village was part of a two day Embassy trip to Rangamati. In addition to meeting villagers the purpose of the trip was to learn more about the good development work being done by the government, the UNDP, partner NGOs, and civil society institutions. The visit was also to show Norwegian solidarity with the indigenous people of the Hill Tracts region.
The visit was very fruitful as we saw the excellent work done by the UNDP, government and their partner agencies in building community-led schools, women-centred development committees, and small to medium business initiatives using community-raised loans. - Although little has progressed along the lines of Chittagong Peace Accord, we found most residents still harbouring hope of better days and the rise of more democratic establishments in the region, says Width.