Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP)

About Us

Introduction/Home

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) is a community-based migrants’ organization, operates on the principle of human rights first priority based on gender justice, substantive equality and non-discrimination.

Our vision is to promote enabling environment for all migrant workers across the border through putting migrants in the centre of migration discourse at all levels through unity, capacity enhancement, and leadership development.

Over the years we have developed a comprehensive strategy of promoting access to information and pre-departure services, and return and reintegration assistance at the migrant communities. We have partnered with local organizations in major destination countries in order to ensure cross-border referrals and onsite redressal support and services. We have activities to organize returnee migrants and the spouses of the current migrants for unity, empowerment and leadership. Participatory action research and advocacy is another important strategy to flag our own voice and perspectives in policy formulation and implementation.

In collaboration with different donor organizations home and abroad we have currently been working in 70 unions under seven sub-districts in five districts. On average we provide direct information and services to around 50,000 migrants in a year.

Objective

Vision:

Promoting enabling environment across borders and putting migrants’ voice in the whole migration discourse.

Mission:

– upholding migrants’ rights and dignity

– putting migrants’ voice and perspective into migration discourse

– promoting sustainable development of migrants and their communities

Objectives:

  • To promote safe migration and rights of migrant workers.
  • To increase knowledge, skill and capacity of migrant workers.
  • To reduce violence, abuse and discrimination against migrant workers.
  • To put migrants’ voices and perspectives in the migration discourse.
  • To accelerate sustainable reintegration and development of migrants and their communities.

Approaches:

OKUP believes in migration by choice and promotes informed migration. OKUP’s intervention strategy follows a comprehensive model of promotion access to information, establishment of pre-departure services at migrants’ communities, extension of post arrival services in collaboration and partnership with local organizations in the destination countries, and provide assistance in return and reintegration. Major activities include awareness campaigns, helpline service, pre-migration orientation, pre-departure trainings; support and services through direct assistance, counseling, shelter, legal aid, medical support, and social and economic reintegration. Among other significant activities is the empowerment of migrants and their families and communities through unity, capacity building and leadership; and also research and advocacy in order of flagging migrants’ voices and perspectives in the concurrent migration discourse.

Over the years, OKUP has developed close collaboration with different donor organizations home and abroad including UNDP, IOM, UN Women, Open Society Foundation, Caritas Luxembourg, Caritas Swiss, CARAM Asia etc. At present, OKUP has been implementing several projects with the support of Caritas Luxembourg, Open Society Foundation, UN Trust Fund for Violence Against Women through CARAM Asia. It has been implementing two research projects with the support of UN Women and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through CARAM Asia. OKUP has also been implementing a project with the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) under the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, the Government of Bangladesh, to form a network of returnee women migrants for advocacy, research and information. OKUP has been granted a project from the European Commission through a consortium of Lebanon, Ethiopia led by Caritas Luxembourg for the year 2013 – 2015.

Project Details/Activities

Project:

Name of Project Donors/Partners Status
Legal and Social Support Programme for female migrant workers CARAM Asia/UN Trust Fund Ongoing
Support and Service Program for Bangladeshi Migrant Workers Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) Ongoing
Initiating a global approach in supporting and empowering migrants throughout the migration cycle and asylum-seekers and refugees European Commission Ongoing
Integrated Services of Safe Migration, HIV Prevention and care for Migrant Workers and Families Robert Carr- CARAM Asia Ongoing
Promotion Safe Migration and Rights of Bangladeshi Migrant Workers: Pre-departure, Post-arrival and reintegration assistance for migrants to the Middle East countries Caritas Luxembourg Recently Completed
Research on “Migration trend to the UK from Sylhet region and available reintegration opportunities and sustainable development of returnees” FCO/BHC (Dhaka) Recently Completed
Organogram

OKUP Organogram:

okup

Snapshots of Major Activities and Achievements:

Access to Information and Pre-departure Services

  • Outreach CampaignThe Outreach Campaign targets the general people in the rural Bangladesh to provide the basic information on safe migration. Therefore, it is organized at village level especially in the market places where the general people usually gather. The campaign information is orchestrated in combination of lyrical poetry and folk music in order to draw due attention of the mass people. In 2013, a total of 51 outreach campaigns were organized in covering around 15,000 people. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed in the campaigns for follow-up information and services through the “Migrant Helpline” and the “Migrants’ Information and Service Centre (MISC)” established at Upazila level in the project areas.
  • OKUP Migrant Helpline We have established a “Migrant Helpline” in 2011. The potential migrants, the members of the migrants’ family, the migrants in the destination countries can call and get the information. A trained counselor provides required information to the callers. The helpline service is still limited to working hours as well as the project areas. In 2013, a total of 3,395 information seekers have been benefited by the helpline. We have been working to establish a vibrant “information hub” in order to make the helpline more useful and effective.
  • Peer Outreach Activity OKUP has developed an efficient “Peer Network” in comprising of the returnee migrants both men and women and the members of migrant families including female spouse of the current migrants. The trained peer educators work door-to-door in the targeted communities. They organize small group meetings and link the migrants and their families and communities with the Migrant Information and Service Centre (MISC) set up in the project areas.
  • Migrant Information and Service Centre (MISC): Through seven MISCs in five districts, we have been providing information and direct services to the potential migrants, the returnees and the members of the migrant families and the communities. In 2013, a total of 5,152 service seekers were benefited from the MISCs. The services include visa verification, assistance in passport preparing, bank account opening, legal assistance, health support, welfare support etc.
  • Pre-decision Training for Potential Migrant Workers We organize a daylong Pre-decision training for both the potential men and women migrant workers. The training aims to helping migrants for informed decision for migration and to follow the safe migration procedures. The training follows OKUP’s own module which has been developed on participatory methods in order to make it practically useful and more beneficial to the migrants. The pre-decision trainings are organized at Union level in collaboration with the Union Parishad. In 2013, some 67 pre-departure trainings were organized in seven project areas in where 837 men migrants and 803 women migrants participated.
  • Pre-departure training for Lebanon bound Migrant Domestic Workers OKUP introduced the country specific pre-departure training for Lebanon bound migrant domestic workers for the first time in Bangladesh. The 7-day residential training is organized in collaboration with the Bangladesh-Korea Technical Training Centre, Mirpur, Dhaka under the MOU signed between BMET and OKUP in November 2012. OKUP developed a comprehensive participatory module in close partnership with a Lebanon based NGO. The exclusive training covers 12 class-room sessions on different issues i.e. pre-departure preparation including country introduction, cultural aspect; the roles and responsibilities of the migrants as well as the rights and redress opportunities; health and stress management etc. The practical sessions include having Lebanese food, manners and language. Additionally, the ‘outdoor visit’ introduces the participants with the city life to increase their morale strengths. A total of 149 Lebanon bound migrant domestic workers participated in the training in 2013.
  • Health and HIV/AIDS We have incorporated a health session in all our existing pre-decision and pre-departure trainings for the potential and the outgoing migrants. The health session focuses on the major infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, reproductive and mental health and wellbeing. The session also covers the importance of ‘mandatory test’, vulnerabilities related to the infectious diseases and migration and scopes of getting access to available health services. In 2012 and 2013, a total of 1,479 men migrants and 1,744 women migrants have been beneficial from the health sessions. In addition, 3,600 female spouse of the current migrants have been educated on the sexual and reproductive health issues in 2012-2013 project year.

Return and reintegration services

  • Airport Pick UpThe “airport pickup service” first initiated when a Lebanese NGO requested to assist a critically vulnerable woman migrant in 2011. Many of the women migrants were sent either in critical physical condition or severe mental trauma. These returnee women required airport pick up. They also required ‘a short stay’ before the onward travelling to home until they were received necessary counseling and health treatment. We received referrals of 16 vulnerable women migrants in 2012 and 2013 from the local Lebanese NGO, who we provided all three services of airport pickup, shelter and family reunification.
  • Health SupportEvery year numbers of migrants both men and women returned back with different kind of physical and mental sickness. Unfortunately, there is no database and even any particular assistance and supports for such returnees who contributed remittances to the country during their stay overseas. We provided health assistance to 93 returnee women migrants respectively in 2012 and 2013.
  • Legal Redress The Bangladeshi migrants have limited scope to access legal redress. Until the adaptation of the new Migration Law in October 2013, the migrants were not allowed to go to the penal court without the permission of the concerned government department. They had only two options – Arbitration at the BMET and the Village Court. OKUP’s study on “legal redress and health service” conducted in 2012 explored numbers of loopholes in the ‘arbitration’ process and procedures. The major gap is that the Rules have ‘no provision of social, mental and economic compensation’ for the victims. It only offers to get back the ‘migration cost’, the officially declared amount only. On the other hand, the success in the village court is also very low because the village court has also limitations. It cannot declare the monetary compensation over BDT 25,000. On the other hand, the brokers havethe influence on the local power structure that deprives the poor migrants especially the women in many cases. Despite that we have assisted 31 women in 2012 and 36 women in 2013 in getting legal redress either through the arbitration or the village court.
  • Welfare Assistance Apart from the project-run services, OKUP also provides assistance to the migrants or their families to get compensation and/support from the “Welfare Fund” run under the BMET. Getting money from the “Welfare Fund” is lengthy as well as complicated process. However, OKUP provided all-out supports and services to 11 migrants and the families to get compensation in the year 2012-2013.
  • Spouse meeting We provide half-day long orientation to the female spouses of the current migrants. The orientation covers two issues – (i) better management of remittances and (ii) women’s health and HIV/AIDS. This is to note that such health education is important for the female spouse so that they do not face difficulties to meet their husbands after a long gap. The heath education is also important to keep the spouses healthy, smile and smart. On the other hand, the HIV/AIDS education is given to the female spouse with the aim of transferring the knowledge and information to their husbands abroad. A total of 3600 female spouses have been provided such orientation in 2013.
  • Sustainable Economic Reintegration There is little initiative for supporting economic reintegration of the returnees. In 2013, we have undertaken a holistic approach of individual self employment, introduce group SME and also job placement in the local job market through collaboration and cooperation with relevant stakeholders.
  • Unity, Empowerment and Leadership In 2012, in partnership with the Bureau of Manpower and Employment (BMET), we took the initiative of facilitating the process of formation a Network of the Returnee women migrant workers. Different activities including identification of the right participants, providing different forms of skill and capacity development trainings, developing constitution of the Network have been implemented in this regard. Under the initiative, a network of 100 returnee women from four Upazilas was formed. An office of the Network has been set up in the premises of the BMET. On the other hand, we have initiated to organize the returnee migrants at Union Level in order to form community based migrant forum.

Participatory Action research and Advocacy

We believe in participatory action research and evidence based advocacy to influence policymakers, service providers and individuals on the critical issue of migration.

Our Research and Publications in 2012 and 2013:

  • A critical review: Legal redress and health services for Bangladeshi migrants
  • Gender Dimension of Remittances: A study on Bangladeshi women migrant workers in Lebanon
  • Reintegration opportunities and sustainable development of returnees of Bangladeshi migrants from the UK
  • Migrants’ contribution and Government Budget for protection of Migrants
  • Research into crossroads of vulnerabilities to HIV between migration and SMS behaviour among migrants from Bangladesh
  • Concurrent difficulties and issues

Our documentary and short drama in 2012 and 2013:

  • Far Away from Dream The documentary was prepared based on three case studies of the returnee women migrants and highlighted the loopholes and the gaps in the existing legal redress system. The documentary used in a national level consultation aims to reviewing the existing laws and rules.
  • Towards Journey The short drama covers several issues of pre-departure preparation, airport transfer etc. This drama is used in the pre-departure training for Lebanon bound women domestic workers.

We also organized and participated numbers of national consultations and provided necessary input. In 2013, we organized a regional consultation on the subject of “Sharing Good Practices for Cross- Learning to Effectively Respond Women Migrant’s Health Rights & Strengthening Cooperation among Sending and Receiving Countries with focus on SAARC Region”, on behalf of CARAM Asia. The regional consultation has brought together members of CARAM Asia network, government officials from different ministries, SAARC Secretariat, Trade Unions, migrant associations, donors, UN agencies, regional networks, International and local NGOs, CBOs, journalists and women migrant workers from around 20 countries in South, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Contact

Contact Us:

Munshiganj Field Office

Eugine Mrong

Field Officer

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP)

Doskani, Panchasar, Munshiganj Sadar, Munshiganj

Mobile:01852258866

E-mail: okup.munshigonj@gmail.com

Official Mailing Address:

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP)

542 Mridha Plaza, South Dania, Dhaka-1236,

Bangladesh.

Helpline Mobile: +8801842773300

Contact Number:

Tell: +8802 7553737

Mobile: +88018 19224308

Fax: +8802 7553737

Email: okup.ent@gmail.com

Website: www.okup.org.bd

Md. Omar Faruque Chowdhury

Executive Director

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP)

Mobile: +8801818375551

E-mail:okup.ent@gmail.com

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Shakirul Islam

Chairman

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program(OKUP)

Mobile: +8801819224308

E-mail:okup.ent@gmail.com

More Details

List of Munshigonj Field Office Staff

S/N Name of Employee Designation Contact Number E-mail Address
01. Eugine Mrong Field Officer 01852258866 okup.munshigonj@gmail.com
02. Md. Atikuzzaman Field Organizer 01852258865 okup.munshigonj@gmail.com
03. Shilpi Begum Community Mobilizer 01865006011
04. Afroza Akter Community Mobilizer 01865006012
05. Shaown Begum Community Mobilizer 01865006015
06. Parul Begum Community Mobilizer 01865006014
07. Shahena Akter Community Mobilizer 01865006013

Registration:

OVIBASHI KARMI UNNAYAN PROGRAM (OKUP) is registered with NGO Affairs Bureau.

Registration No. 2343

Date of Registration: 24/04/2008 (Renew – 04/07/2012)