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Strategic Plan


A.    Pollisree – Origin and Evolution as a development organization


A group of philanthropists of Dinajpurformed Pollisree as a social welfare organization in 1987. At the beginning, Pollisree aimed at training poor women in handicrafts with the support ofthe Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) and the World Food Program. Later,it started Community Based Extended MCH and Family Planning activities. Pollisree received the registration of theNGO Affairs Bureau in 1991 and extended its program to other geographical areas. Gradually, Pollisree trenched its area of work to theoverall socioeconomic arena of the underprivileged, landless and other diverse non-privileged sections of people in the society and focused on the empowerment of the oppressed and destitute women.  Pollisree has gradually shifted from the provision of services to a rights-based organization. It organized the marginal women, third gender, ethnic minorities (e.g. Dalits), with a view to make use of their collective force to bring about positive changes in their life by ensuring their rights to economic justice, rights to essential services and resources, rights to life and security, rights to gender justice and food security.


The development context of Bangladesh experiences a significant change. Bangladesh finds itself in the process of evolving from a chronic poverty-stricken country towards a middle-income country. The regional poverty, often characterized by monga, is now less perceived, except that a post-disaster situation may cause huge sufferings to the poor, particularly women and children. While the economic empowerment of the country has taken a positive turn, the employment situation of the youth, and the social, political, nutritional, cultural,and gender context of the people as a whole, particularly  women and ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups (e.g. third gender) demands profound attention. This Strategic Plan of Pollisree  addresses these areas while steering it towards a sustainable organisation (see Exhibit 1).  


B.    Scope, Methodology and Use of Strategic Plan


The Strategic Plan of Pollisree as outlined in the following takes into consideration the overall organizational objectives derived from its mandates. It is designed for five years and based on the existing resources and ideas. The ideas were gathered from the following consecutive steps:


  • Desk Research: The team of consultants undertook a desk research, thereby reviewing the existing plans, research reports and progress reports provided by Pollisree.
  • Meetings: The team held meetings with the Executive Director, senior officials and selected Board Members.
  • Interviews: The team interviewed the civil society representatives, held focus group discussions and group interviews.
  • Observation: The consultant has visited several project areas and inquired of future program potentials.
  • Workshop 1: The consultant facilitated a workshop on the situation analysis in view of the Strategic Plan. The achievements of Pollisree so far, possible future program ideas, internal and external situation were the subjects of analysis. 
  • Workshop 2: The consultant facilitated the second workshop to discuss the vision, mission, goals and strategies based on the findings from consultations and first workshop.

The Strategic Plan as elaborated below includes five sections. Theywill be the basis for all programmes and projects of Pollisree. In other words, the plan should guide Pollisree on which projects/programmes it should undertake in the future.

  • Situation Analysis,
  • Description of the rational for existence of Pollisree (Strategic Framework),
  • Goals, Strategies and Actions,
  • Organizational Framework, and
  • Monitoring, Review, Change and Reporting.

The Situation Analysis provides the information about the existing situation Pollisree is in and identifies the issues requiring attention during the upcoming planning period (Section C).

The Strategic Framework sets the options for the future in the form of Mandate, Vision, Mission and Values. It answers the questions why Pollisree should exist in the future and what would be its scope (Section D).

The Goals, Strategies and Actions consider the Mission Statement as the basis and provide an approach for implementing the plan to achieve measurable changes at the level of the target audience of Pollisree (Section E).

The Organizational Framework illustrates the accountability and coordination relationship of the human resources to be engaged in Pollisree (Section F).

Finally, Monitoring, Review, Change and Reporting Section will elaborate on how the progresses of implementation will be followed up, reported on and necessary remedial measures will be undertaken if the actual progress deviates from the plan.








C.     Development Context of the North-East of Bangladesh: Situation of Women and Development Options


1.     Programme Achievements so far


Pollisreehas been implementing various programmes related to Livelihood, Gender, Credit and Income Generation, Climate Change, Disaster Preparedness and Resilience. Several consultations with the staff members and target people lead to the following notable achievements:


Gender program

a)    Pollisree has achieved that the women are aware of their rights and possess different public service related information in the working area. 

b)    The survivors and the women in general findingPollisree a reliable platform to demand rights. 

c)     The women have become capable to raise their voice, exercise more mobility, demand services, approach the power structures, and participate in economic activities. 

d)    Women’s role is shifting from more family-based reproductive role to income-oriented productive role. 

e)    Now,the people consider domestic violence as violence and take steps to fight against 

Livelihood program

a)    Beneficiaries’ quality of life is improving as their income is growing. 

b)    They became aware of their rights (networking, mobility in government and non-government sector). 

c)     Access to information has raised their knowledge to develop their skill and bargaining capacity, which in turn helpedto access different institutions. 

d)    They participate in community and local government level activities. 

e)     They are mobilized organized, sensitized and capacitated as a group to develop themselves and support victims through advocacy claiming implementation of the rights (Hindu marriage registration, Right to information, Domestic Violence prevention and protection act 2010, Social Safety net).

f)       Pollisree pursues channellingthe grassroots information to the policy level.

Credit and income raising program

a)    The beneficiaries can now afford nutritious foods and take three meals a day. 

b)    Poor families have created assets. 

c)     Local level entrepreneurship is rising. 

d)    People can now afford general health-related costs.

e)    Increasedthe level of education in the working areas

Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Preparedness and Resilience

(C C A & D P R)


a)    Beneficiaries have overcome the impacts of climate change by using local resources. 

b)     They can protect themselves and their assets during the disaster cycle.

c)     They are now taking climatic change also as an opportunity by cultivating disaster and climate change-sensitive crops. 

d)     Increased women leadership supports the women to contribute in their family and community through involvement in different types of economic activities. 

e)    Women’s are involving themselves in agro-economic activities by using information technology and developing themselves and their lifestyle. IT literacy among women as a result of the use of smartphone within the scope of an agro-based project is a big change. 

f)       In some places, climate change has become an advantage. They cultivated maize in 70,000 hector in Dimla. They do not feel any negative effect of climate change.

g)     They now face flood with courage, with nearly no life lost, as they know how to shift to other places.

The achievements listed above suggest that Pollisree brought about a meaningful change in the lives of people. The Strategic Plan should  include interventions to sustain these achievements.

2.     Opportunities


Pollisreeenjoys strong community support. The community appreciatesPollisree’s non-partisan work. The local administration recognises the development work of Pollisree, and seek its involvement on various occasions.


The climate change in the North-West region has brought mild weather in winter, which is a suitable condition for certain crops and farmer’s activities.  The farmers have now more options in the farming system.


The Export Processing Zone in Saipur is reachable within 45 minutes. The emerging companies have demand for skilled labour forces, if available. They offer workplace for women as well.


3.     Challenges


The North-West region, where Pollisree has its working areas, has traditionally been supplier of nation’s rice, vegetables and fruits, particularly mangoes and litchis. Over the years the situation has changed significantly. While the region has maintained its status as an area, where the aromatic rice and high quality mangoes and litchis come from, it loses the status of vegetable suppliers, as the southern Bangladesh, and some districts near.Dhaka cities cultivate vegetables at low costs. The Hill districts also produce fruits and India is dumping fruits at low prices. As a result, the North-West region is experiencing more competition as a result of low prices from others.


Moreover, the North-West region has been experiencing some challenges in the area of employment and drug addiction among the youth.  Religious extremism by a small group accompanied with unsettled social, cultural and political context, and intolerance towards ethnic minorities is challenging the social peace and harmony.


4.     New program/project ideas


Given the achievements and current local context, Pollisree shared the view that it should undertake projects related to the following:


Women and Children

-          Floating people in urban areas, especially women

-          Shelter home arrangements for survivors

-          Child labour and child rights

-          Day care center services

-          Capacity building of domestic workers

-          Disaster-affected people in need of emergency


-          Technical education, capacity building and creation of job opportunity for the youth.

-          Drug addiction problem and rehabilitation of the youth.

-          Education services for marginalized adolescent girl (life skills, SRHR, continuous education , youth mobilisation)

-          Outsourcing training for the youth

Senior citizens

-          Home assistance for senior citizens


-          Creation of job opportunity for transgender group and work on their behavior issues.

-          Development of  resource center, solar power

-          Food processing centers

-          Multi-level farming

-          Organic farm and supply

-          Real estate

-          Catering service

-          Bengali culture

-          Waste management

-          Work for disabled people to achieve the rights.

-          Cyber crime

In addition to the programme/project ideas related to its target people, Pollisreealso aspires to undertake projects (enterprises) for its income generation, as donor funding has been shrinking over the years.

Enterprise ideas for Pollisree’s income generation

  • Food Processing: Jolpai andAmlokiif highly demanded.
  • Training Center:Venue , accommodation and catering service.
  • Day Care Center: In Dinajpur it will not possible to make it profitable.
  • Skill training: PLS can jointly do it with Singapore based any organization so that job placement of youth will be easier, and participants will be available.
  • EcoTourism: Linkage Dinajpur as a place for tourism with other places.


Intensive guided consultations led to the idea that PLS should follow the following principles in its future programming:

1)     Target people: Pollisree will follow a life cycle approach. It builds in a) Children, b) Youth, c) Women, and d) senior citizens, focusing on the youth and women as the target people and various target group-sensitive development issues should be dealt with under each group. Consultations with the civil society, adolescent girls (also adibashi) led to the conclusions that the youth, including adolescent girls, needs to be taken care of along with women, who face household level vulnerabilities and senior citizens, particularly women in the menopause phase.


2)     Pollisree will continue with its projects/programmes, where funding support will continue from existing donors.

3)     Shift from service delivery to rights-based approaches: Pollisree will complete its transformation from service delivery to rights-based approach, except in post-disaster situation.

4)     Sustainability: Pollisree plans to shifts to social entrepreneurship/social business activities to finance its service delivery.

5)     Use of IT:Pollisree will increasingly use of IT and cell phone to reach its target people more effectively.

6)     Use of CSR resources:Pollisree will increasingly take advantage of CSR resources from home and abroad.


D.    State of Institution Building of Pollisree


1.     Governance


Pollisree has a functioning Board. The Members are aware of the organisational initiatives, have ample trust in the leadership. The Board supports the founder executive director and occasionally shares the local priorities. While the Board’s support has been instrumental inPollisree’s growth in the past, the future Board needs more exposure to the challenges of the time and to provide critical visionary support to the management. The roles and functions of the Board needs to be better understood, as Pollisree needs to depend more on policies and systems in the future, as it presently depends on the committed leadership of the top management.



2.     Policies, Procedures and Systems


Consultations with the staff members and review of the policies of Pollisree suggest that a set of policies, procedures and system govern Pollisree’s operations. They include Financial Management Policy and HR Policy. There is noseparate policy on, Procurement, Administrative Management, but they are somehow reflected in HR and Financial Management policies. Considering that a growing organization also needs an Anti-Bribery Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Communication Policy, IT Policy, and Security Policy, and Sustainability Policy, Pollisreebelieves that it needs all these policies to be reviewed and updated to emerge as the most modern, transparent and accountable organization of the North-West region.

3.     State of capacity building


Pollisree has so far been a more project-led organization. Various development projects supported by different donors provided the opportunities for capacity building according to the needs of the project. High motivation, positive attitude and commitment of the core staff have helped the organization to achieve a profile in the region. A self-assessment of the staff members of various Programmes, Finance, and Monitoring and Evaluation, and Administration illuminates on their capacities related to their skills.

Programme Management

The self-assessment looked at the existing skills in the area of Supervision, Advocacy, Communication, Results-Based Management, Theory of Change, Basic Financial Management, Negotiation, Gender Sensitivity. Except in some cases of overall good to excellent performances, they rated their skills in the area of 4-5 (5 being excellent and 1 poor) in the area of Supervision, Motivation, Gender and Communication. The other areas like Advocacy, negotiation, Theory of Change, Conflict Resolution, Results-Based management and Basic Financial Management have received a rating between 2-3.



Monitoring and Evaluation (M& E)

The relevant staff members have assessed their skills in view of Statistical Analysis, Qualitative Research, Reporting, Data Interpretation, Theory of Change, Results-Based Management, and Computer Graphics concluding that they are in the area ‘poor to unsatisfactory’ (1-2).


The Finance Section of PLS has gone through a self-assessment process in view of IT-based account management, budgeting, financial reporting, feasibility studies, business planning, contracting, taxation, and counseling of senior management on financial management. They believe to have skills in the area of 4-5. However, the existing management of the income generating activities of Pollisree suggests that they do not skillfully apply business planning and feasibility analysis skills. For example, the income-earning activity is not priced at full costs.

Administration and Logistics

This Section has assessed their level of skills in view of IT-based office management, external communication (local government, administration, NGO Bureau, donors), internal communication (writing and circulation of the minutes of the meeting), and support to the Executive Committee. Except in IT-based office management, this section has rated itself in the area 4-5.

In summary, the self-assessment shows that Pollisree needs more advanced capacities in the area of Results-Based Management, Monitoring, Change Management and Reporting. It also needs more capacities in communications, so that it reaches the target people, communities, civil society and the government more effectively and can articulate its messages. The core staff members appear to be in the need of increased exposure to current development approaches and how can be understood and crafted for local reality. It needs more capacities to critically assess the approaches and programme designs, which it agrees to implement as a junior partner with national level organizations and international NGOs.

Being mostly in the role of an implementer, Pollisree needs more capacities to assess the regional development context, identify creative development options based on its own capacities, local resources and environmental reality and present to development partners as an alternative to serve as a social contractor of national level organizations.

While Pollisree is advancing towards more income generation and creation of a resource base, its understanding of sustainability and exploration of other opportunities deserves further improvement. It needs to calculate more from a full-cost principle, while calculating income generation and valueing its existing resources in the light of overall spatial changes in the region induced by export processing zone, home of mango and litchi growing areas and expected link with Darjeeling and Nepal, a popular tourist destination for all.

4.     Financial sustainability


Microcredit is too limited to support an income basis in a highly competitive and challenging context characterized by environmental shocks (flood, river erosion, etc.). No clear growth concept and policy exist as to how microcredit should expand.

Existing accounting system to determine sustainability is based on the direct cost principle leading to incomplete consideration of costs. For example, the existing pricing of the physical facilities does not consider all staff costs, depreciation, replacement costs,utilities, and management costs. The project staff members are providing support and the cost of their time are not reflected in the price. Consequently, the operations of the income-generating facilities would not be sustainable in the long-run.

Pollisree gradually realizes that the pattern of development funding is changing in the light of Bangladesh’s entry to a middle-income country, and therefore more financially self-sustaining projects are to be undertaken. The idea of social entrepreneurship and social business efforts have not found sufficient access to the development thinking of the organization.


5. Resource Base


Pollisree is housed in its own building in Dinajpur. The Bread for the World, a German donor agency, provided financial support to use it not only as its head office, but also to use it for income generating purposes. The renting out of physical facilities (guest rooms conference room for training, workshops and community gatherings) and catering services is frequent. The facilities have recently experienced an expansion creating more rooms for income. Meanwhile, the venue has become an attractive place for public officials, NGOs and the private sector. In the absence of suitable alternatives in the city, Pollisree boasts of being a major supplier of event management services in Dinajpur.


Pollisree has further growth potentials, as some more land adjacent to its office and elsewhere may be added to its resource base. In addition, the existing facilities provide the opportunity for exclusive use as a venue for income generation by relocating or repositioning its head office, so that the venue is a separate body physically and institutionally. 





Vision :- The poor, particularly women, youth, disadvantaged groups, and ethnic minorieties, attain sustainable wellbeing and realize economic, social and gender equality.  

Mission: Pollisree is an enabler of the people, particularly women and the youth, in their endeavour to become vocal, rights-demanding, and users of their resources for sustainable well-being.

Values: Pro-poor, gender sensitive, resource-sensitive, mutually  respectful, tolerant towards diversity, accountable, innovative,  pro-environment, and sustainable.


E.     Visioning and Positioning of Pollisree - Rationale for Existence in future



F.     Goals, Strategies and Actions: Programmatic and Institutional




The Goals of Pollisree, combined effect of which should contribute to achieve the Mission, are broadly classified here into two types of Goals a) Program and b) Institution Building. While the program-oriented Goals eye changes in the situation of the target people,  the institution building and organizational development related Goals envisages its own development as a capable organization to achieve its Mission. In short, the program goals say what Pollisree does for the people, and the other Goals what it plans to do for itself to achieve the program goals.



1.     Programmatic Goals


1.1Youth-Focused Programme


The Youth-Focused Programme touches on Skills Development, Moral Education, and Girl’s Access to Human Development, with a special focus to adibashi girls.

Goal 1: The youth left-out by the formal educational institutions acquire growth sector based skills demanded in the regional economy (Export Processing Zone in Saidpurand Agro-Industry).

Strategy 1: Seek partnership with exporters in Saidpurin offering skills.

Rationale: The youth in the North-West region is virtually left-out. Being far away from growth centres (Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna), they have limited access to opportunities. They cannot afford Dhaka-based higher education and access to work opportunities overseas, as they lack peers to help. Being left to themselves and dependent on parents in a relatively agrarian economy with increasing mechanisation, the youth is frustrated and vulnerable to extremism, drug addiction and illegal trading at Indian borders. The EPZ in Saidpur is still evolving and the local population is not aware of the type of skills they require and the companies do not know the type of skills available. The existing skill provding agencies are not linked with local resource base and demand of the EPZ. Therefore, the youth remains disconnected from the growth potentials of the regional economy.

  • Action 1: Explore skill needs in cooperation with EPZ based companies. 
  • Action 2: Develop and implement cost-based partnership models (offer venue, food and training services against fees).

Strategy 2: Partnership with Export-Based Companies in Dhaka on specific skills.

Rationale: In order that the acquisition of skills is appropriate and the employment is immediate, the choice and the depth of the skills needs to be known. In addition, search for jobs in the growth centres is complex and sometimes too long to sustain for the youth coming from the region. Therefore, collaboration with specific export-oriented companies, which demand specific skills and are ready to share the costs of training is one option.

  • Action 1: Explore demand for specific skills (factory-specific)
  • Action 2: Provide training in collaboration with specific employers/factories.

Strategy 3: Providerelevant agro-processing skills followed by value-chain-driven specialized entrepreneurship.

Rationale:Since primary agricultural products face huge competition, more value adding activities in the area of agro-processing and food processing would provide new opportunities. For example, instead of garlic ‘garlic paste’, pre-cooked items linked with malls, maintaining the cool-line. In case of dry food, EPZ companies may expand facilities for countries, where Bangladeshi migrant workers live.

  • Action 1:Identify, develop and extend with co-opt facilities.
  • Action 2: Seek expansion of EPZ covering agro-processing based on local agricultural prodcts branding Dinajpur. 

Goal 2: The dropped out youth acquire demand-driven professional skills listed in the national skill system.

Strategy 1: Seek franchising of established vocational institutions

Rationale: There is a section of the youth who either never went to school, dropped out early with or without primary education have no access to formal training providing agency. They do not find access to traditional agriculture as this sector being in the process of mechanisation cannot absorb new human resources. Unlike other growth areas, which engage the youth in the garment sector, the youth has a limited choice. The good old days of selling vegetables to the urban areas has diminished as the agricultural development around big cities do not justify bringing goods from distant areas due to high transport costs. The limited opportunity which still exists will perish when the Padma bridge becomes operational after a few years. Under these circumstances, there is no other way than establishing access of the dropped out youth to skill acquisition. Since the region does not have a systematic offer of skills development, seeking franchise of established skill providing agencies are options. This approach is logical for Pollisree, because it does not have any track records of providing technical skills and only seeking franchise of established training institutions can help in acquiring quality training concept.

  • Action 1: Create training infrastructure in cooperation with the franchisor (e.g. UCEP or similar foreign training institutions of Singapore or Korea or Hong Kong).
  • Action 2: Adopt curriculum, exam and certification systemof the franchisor (e.g. UCEP) to ensure quality.

Strategy 2: Mobile and rotational delivery of skills

Rationale: Even though some skills may be in demand and the youth might find them attractive, but a high supply of similar skilled person may not lead to employment. In addition, if the skills are provided from a specific place, the youth living away from the school and originating from poor families, cannot access the services. The mobile and rotational delivery of skills will help offering skills which are in demand and attract the youth from all areas. This will provide the opportunity to de-list certain skills of less demand and include new skill areas as an ongoing process.

  • Action 1: Explore skill areas (informal, formal) which are non-saturated and do not exclude with criteria (education, age, gender).
  • Action 2: Provide accompanying measures for those youth, who is weak in certain knowledge areas (e.g. Mathematics, language) to practice inclusiveness.
  • Action 3: Establish mobile training infrastructure along community clinic sites.
  • Action 4: Providemobile technical skillsbased on innovation and rotation (new skills, new areas)

Goal 3: The youth practices a set of values (Citizenship, tolerance, creativity, interpersonal respect, pro-future).

Strategy 1: Use social media for dissemination of values (lives, stories).

Rationale: The society is evolving in a complex manner. The access to cell phone engages the youth with social media. The traditional role of family, school and religious institutions appear playing a limited role in shaping the behaviour of the youth. The external influence (social media, peers) plays a more prominent role. Extremism induced by external forces, because of its deliberate approach, finds easy access to the youth, who possesses limited critical capacity to assess. They fall prey to intolerant attitude preached by the opportunist people easily, who try to misuse the youth in their benefit.


  • Action 1:Form youth groups with connectivity
  • Action 2: Young leader’s capacity building (rotational principle) with soft skills 
  • Action 3: Develop network materials on values

Strategy 2:Organize youth festivals led by Youth Leaders (sports, cultures, innovators, creative)

Rationale: When schools and religious institutions are not promoting the values and social media coverage is not sufficient, outreach efforts are useful and effective. It may look beyond a certain school, grades and background. Social leaders at the national level with sensitivity for the youth are possible sources of value promotion. 

  • Action 1: Organize one event (sports, culture and creative event) 
  • Action 2: Separate event for girls

Strategy 3: Network Meeting (Issue-Based)

Rationale: The mere learning of the values may not suffice. The real situation, when the values need to be exercised, the youth may not be ready or not assertive enough. The fact that the youth possess cell phone and social media literate, they can be part of a network, when youth leaders can guide a group, many of which can debate and deliver when exercising of values are required.

  • Action 1: Advocacy for the youth (facilities from public officials)
  • Action 2: Conflict resolution system and process

Goal 4: The girls experience facilitated access to human development opportunities (Connecting with Info, Connecting with providers, Counseling for connectivity, Community of girls, inclusiveness of adibashi girls). 

The girls in the rural areas are subject to child marriage and sexual harassment. They do not have access to age-sensitive reproductive health-related information from a professional sources.  Since their parents are often not educated enough, they lack information and guidance about what to do when they are either dropping out from schools or completing primary or junior or secondary or higher secondary or colleges. Therefore, a system, which links them with providers of education, skill, health and employment is critical for the girls to emerge as a prospective youth.

Strategy  1: Bring the girls under a network of cell phone  users.

Rationale: Since the girls live dispersed, forming a group, which would require bringing them physically together will create costs and opposition from parents. A cell phone based network of girls led by one leader who will carry a smartphone and send messages to other members will generate an effective group. Such network of girls is in practice in other areas. 


  • Action 1:  Form village or school-based groups with a  leader (cell phone based).
  • Action 2:  Discuss the rules, benefits and way to participate.

Strategy  2: Establish access to information (data base) at Pollisree.

The mere connectivity makes more sense if the network leaders are also connected with a hub established at Pollisree. This hub will build in databases on various subjects of interest to adolescent girls.

  • Action 1: Collect info on Health, Education, Skill, and Security.
  • Action 2: Develop a database and website  for external access.
  • Action 3: Train Group Leaders on how to use it.

Strategy 3: Managing the InfoHub

Rationale: The proposed hub will remain useful if the database is permanently updated and the network leaders can download information for the benefit of girls. Therefore, Pollisree needs to manage the hub continuously and keep it users-friendly.

  • Action 1: Extend emergency info services by the InfoHub
  • Action 2:  Establish a community radio focused on girls.


1.3 Women-focused Programme


Goal 5: Women in the North-West Region are accessing effective health counseling along JIBON Chakra (pre-reproductive, reproductive and post-reproductive period – TeleHealth/Community Radio)


Strategy 1: Extend healthawareness along adolescents, reproductive age, post-reproductive age

Rationale: Women health situation remains an unresolved issue. The differentiated needs of women along pre-, during and post-reproductive age are still not met. The women, particularly in the rural areas are left with limited choices. Adolescent health and post-reproductive age related issues do not get proper consideration as the mother and child issues are getting. The access to specialist is not affordable and technically not easily reachable due to poor affordability.

Strategy 2: Preventive Counseling

Rationale: Even if the people are aware of their health situation, the improved awareness will create new demand for counseling from experts. Being situated in remote places and not financially and socially capable to see the professionals privately, they will remain unattended. Future access to smartphone and increasing coverage of fast internet will enable them consulting the professionals. This is true for adolescents, married women under reproductive age and those women who have entered into menopause phase. At the beginning, such consultation may not be possible without having the connectivity organized for them.


Strategy 3: Provide curative counseling

Rationale: While receiving preventive counseling, the women with online access to the specialists may realize that they also need curative counseling to be followed by treatment. Depending on the specific needs of the women, the counseling, diagnostic approach and treatment will vary. The women need to follow the advice in a systematic manner. Unless there is an issue-based affordable health management system which the women can follow, they will not benefit. In the absence of such a system, the women will be left alone and subsequently untreated. A guided approach would be beneficial to convince the male members of the family to follow up. 

  • Action 1: Accommodate dedicated counseling for curative purposes 
  • Action 2: Develop a post-counseling follow-up system to comply with specialist advice. 
  • Action 3: Develop a database of diagnosis centers and specialists to link women with case-sensitive services. 

Goal 6: Women in the North-West Region adopt knowledge-driven and innovative agriculture (farming system, multi-storied farming, agro-processing – Tele-Agriculture/Community Radio).

Strategy 1: Adopt innovative Farming System

Rationale:The agro-ecological zone in the North-West has been experiencing a gradual climatic change. While floods have become more probable, cold temperature in winter has become less severe. The cultivation of rice (mainly aman crop) has become vulnerable, whereas the mild weather allows other crops like maize farming more feasible, which is already popular among people leaving on chars.

In addition to the cultivation of rich varieties  of rice, the region has been a source of vegetables, which were transported to Dhaka. In the recent years, the demand from urban areas has become less, because intensive farming near big cities has been meeting the urban demand. Furthermore, the upcoming Padma Bridge will bring huge influx of lower priced vegetables from the south of Bangladesh, where dyke-farming adjacent to shrimps culture made cultivation of vegetable as an additional produce.In short, the potential of agricultural sector would be bleak, unless innovative products, production system and process are not undertaken. The farmers have already shifted part of their resources to maize farming and are vulnerable to tobacco farming risking health hazards. In future, the fertile land needs to be more innovatively used for new products and more to be added to the agricultural value chain.

  • Action 1: Adopt marginal and small holder-based and women-led farming system (leased or home-based or own land).
  • Action 2:Establish linkage of the women farmers with the innovation centres (e.g. RDA, DAE).
  • Action 3:Provide capacity building to farmers on pre-season agriculture.

Strategy 2: Introduce the culture ofHigh Value Plants

Rationale: The part of North-West region is the home of not only aromatic rice, it produces medicinal plants and spices. So far, the potential for cultivation of these products are not explored upon. There are small endeavours on the part of farmers to cultivate on a small scale without linkage with big traders or importers or manufacturers. Given the saturation of traditional farm products, these items could more prospective.

  • Action 1: Encourage adoption of the farming of spices and medical plants (amla, bay leaves, etc.).
  • Action 2: Establish collection points of the produce (spices, medical plants)
  • Action 3: Establish access to buyers of spices and medical plants.

Strategy 3: Participate in the value chain of the spices and medical plants (processing).

Rationale: Irrespective of traditional or innovative farming, the mere cultivation and selling in the market places provides limited opportunity for profit. The transport of primary products is also expensive due to high handling costs and damages. Nowadays, a new generation of shopping malls is emerging in the big cities and even district level towns, where semi-processed agricultural products are becoming more popular if they are properly packed and come with proper labels and quality seals. The processing of agricultural goods will add value linked with higher employment for the youth in the informal sector.

  • Action 1: Explore options of processing along the value chain.
  • Action 3: Linkage with support system (packaging, logistics).
  • Action 4: Introduce web-based marketing for suppliers.

Goal 7: Women under Pollisree are networked internally and externally (Makorsha Approach) pursuing gender issues, rights, and effective voice.

The women remain vulnerable to domestic violence. In the past, the women, organized in credit and savings groups of NGOs, met regularly to discuss social and rights issues. Such periodic meetings are nowadays very rare, as NGOs do not require their loanees to participate in meetings. NGOs are happy enough if they repay their loans. An alternative to group meetings is needed if gender issues, rights and women’s voice are to be raised.





Strategy 1: Bring the women under a network of cell phone users 

Rationale:  For many women, participating in meetings is also difficult due to its timing,  and household activities. The cell phone and internet, however, allow women to come closer even though they do not meet physically. They can discuss the issues of their interest internally with the peers and externally with health, agriculture and rights professionals.

  • Action 1:  Form village-based groups with a leader.
  • Action 2:  Discuss the rules, benefits and way to participate.

Strategy 2: Establish access to information (data base) at Pollisree

Rationale: The mere connectivity makes more sense if the network leaders are also connected with a hub established at Pollisree. This hub will build in databases on various subjects of interest to women. 

  • Action 1: Collect info on Health, Education, Skill, and Security
  • Action 2: Develop a database and website  for external access
  • Action 3: Train Group Leaders on how to use it.


Strategy 3: Managing the InfoHub

Rationale: The proposed hub will remain useful if the database is permanently updated and the network leaders can download information for the benefit of girls. Therefore, Pollisree needs to manage the hub continuously and keep it user-friendly.


  • Action 1: Extend emergency info services by the InfoHub
  • Action 2:  Establish a community radio focused on women.


1.4         Social Business Programme


Goal 8: Pollisree runs a full-cost based hospitality business (guest room, conference, food) maintaining national level standards.


Strategy 1: Provide services to satisfy varying  needs.


Rationale: Pollisree is a Dinajpur based regional institution. Many companies have their regional offices here. The people of Dinajpur feel Pollisree as their organizations. The companies and the people love to use Pollisree facilities for various purposes like meeting, conferences, workshops, and religious and social gatherings (e.g. Marriage related parties). The bondage with the community becomes stronger when people and institutions around Dinajpur can use their quality bedrooms, conference/training venue and food services at affordable prices, but still covering full costs and generating a profit.  

  • Action 1:  Allocate differentiated space for local events at affordable costs.
  • Action 2: Create dedicated space for non-locals at full costs. 

Strategy 2: Establish facilities for external demands (standards – soft and hard)

Rationale:The Dhaka-based organizations occasionally look for opportunities to hold training and workshops in the North-West to cover their clients. They look for facilities which satisfy national standards. Unlike Rangpur and Bogra, which offer national level standards, Dinajpur has yet to create those standards to attract them. If the standards are established (bedrooms, catering, training/workshop venue with modern systems, security), Dinajpur may be a preferred option during the winter and summer seasons. Given the attractive prices the national level agencies can pay for, Pollisree can generate profits for use in other areas and further investment.

  • Action 1: Establish a profit centre based facility
  • Action 2: Advertise for the renting out the facilities(web-supported)
  • Action 3: Extend capacity building of the support staff to maintain national standards (hiring professionals from Cox’s Bazar during off-season).

Goal 9: Pollisree operates EcoTourism (Linking family tourism to mango garden with Darjeeling tour)

Strategy 1: Offer local tourism for families with children during mango season .

Rationale: Dinajpur, being one of the beloved areas during the fruit season, can attract more visitors, particularly families with children, who are on vacation. Presently, Bangladesh offers limited safe holiday opportunities for families with children. The families in the urban areas are virtually left alone regarding how to spend their holidays. Sometimes, going abroad appears a better option, as the find the tours organized for them.  People are not sufficiently aware of the places of safe transport, stay, and food and what people can enjoy. Though it has potential, no agency has so far come with a package which will attract families.  There exists enormous scope to link the historical sites with fruit garden visits associated with the exposure of children to the rural context. With frequent flights to Saidpur by several airlines made the local tourism more promising.

  • Action 1: Establish tourism sites (accessible, safe, clean, management system) in mango cum litchi gardens to be leased.
  • Action 2: Establish a sales centre for varied bio-goods eying long-term client relationship.

Strategy 2: Mixed tourism (local and Darjeeling)

Rationale: While local tourism will attract a section of the population with families, an EcoTourism concept linking Darjeeling with Dinajpur provides an extended opportunity. Darjeeling remains an interesting tourist spot for Bangladeshis and the existing option via Kolkata is considered as troublesome. A route via Dinajpur would attract many, as they can combine family tourism in Dinajpur with EcoTourism in Darjeeling. An initial contact with Indian tour operators shows the sign of hope and prospect.

  • Action 1: Establish business relation with similar entity in India.
  • Action 2: Develop a Business Model for the Mixed Eco Tourism Concept (feasibility and profitability).

Goal 10:Pollisree becomes an effective FairTrader (spices, medicinal plants)

Strategy 1: Become a supplier of local resource-based products (collection, processing and packaging, marketing)

Rationale: The greater Dinajpur district offers the potential for a variety of agro and horticulture based products (aromatic rice, mango, lichis) and high value plants (medicinal plants, spices), which can be cultivated by farmers. They have monopoly in these areas of farming as other geographical areas do not produce them. At present, these products are sold as primary products. If they are processed to a certain level by the farmers under the guidance of Pollisree and then packed following quality guidelines (bio-farming), they can be sold in urban markets or even exported. There is an immense opportunity to acquire the membership of fair trade if Pollisree can prove that it engages the women farmers along the value chain in an ethical way. Pollisree’s participation along the value chain can be in the range of minimum to maximum depending on the interest of the farmers to participate in the process.

  • Action 1: Seek the Membership of FairTrade (national, regional and  international)
  • Action 2: Seek training to initiate and operate FairTrade.
  • Action 2: Start a FairTrade section within Pollisree popularizing BioWares. 

Goal 11: Pollisree functions as a guardian in social youth-driven ventures using start-up loans.

Strategy 1: Search for youth entrepreneurship (social needs-based)

Rationale: Pollisree plans to engage the youth. Since they are the sources of creativity and innovation, they need a guided tour towards how to generate ideas and capture the promising ones. The ideas will not mean much unless they are used for social and business ventures, which will produce goods and services for the people. Even if the ventures may produce useful products and services, they would not be sustainable, unless they are examined in view of feasibility (production, management, finance and marketing).  The youth in Dinajpur does not have any service provider, who can extend idea-specific counseling to the youth.

  • Action 1: Search for creative ideas for social or commercial business (a supplier to local EPZ companies).
  • Action 2: Assist in developing a business model for the ideas to be chosen (social or commercial).
  • Action 3: Develop a co-management and marketing model for up to three years.


Strategy 2: Link with financial institutions (venture capital, co-own).

Rationale: Finally, the youth, being generally from a relatively non-affluent region, may not have the financial means to finance the venture at the outset. The NGOs, which provide micro-credit are more focused to traditional farming-related ideas would not be in a position to provide funding for ventures and guide the youth in the entrepreneurial process. Pollisree can emerge here as a co-owner of the businesses and provide venture capital during the start-up processes. 

  • Action 1: Negotiate with start-up capital providers and develop a financing model.
  • Action 2: Follow-up the liquidity and profitability situation for up to three years.

1.5 Donor-led Programmes


Goal 12: Pollisree practices capacities to participate in calls for proposal in partnership with others.


Rationale:  Development funding to Bangladesh for NGO-implemented projects is expected to fall gradually. Bangladesh’s emergence as a middle-income country and the diversion of development budget of donor countries to refugee-related costs and other countries are mentioned as reasons. In addition, unlike previous practices, when the international NGOs/donors have funded the NGO-designed projects, the donors’ funding is now more call-driven, which predetermines the development issues, and objectives and practically allows the national NGOs to work as mere implementers of projects designed by international NGOs based in Bangladesh or elsewhere. The response to the calls of the donors is a technical initiative, and a regional NGO like Pollisree does not always have the capacity to act in an effective manner risking a loss of potential projects. Sometimes, Polliisree lacks the theoretical and conceptual basis of the thematic areas promoted by the donors. This demands that Pollisree becomes more capable to participate in calls independently.


Strategy 1: In-house capacity to participate in calls for proposals

  • Action 1: Develop a communication system to learn about the calls for proposal instantly.
  • Action 2: Develop proposal writing capacity in partnership with local experts (development experts, researchers).
  • Action 3: Engage selected Interns from reputed universities (research capacity) to establish data for future project ideas. 

Strategy 2: Explore International NGOs as partners

Rationale:Many donors in Bangladesh often invite proposals for nationwide or region-wide or issue-based development initiatives, the size of which goes beyond the geographical mandate of Pollisree. The nature and requirements of the calls for proposals are such that a regional NGO like Pollisree cannot comply with them and only an international NGO with own sources of funding for own contribution can participate in the calls. Under such circumstances, Pollisree needs capacities to search for lead partners and deliver support in such a way that it becomes a nearly indispensable partner of a potential lead organization.


  • Action 1: Enter into MoU with selected international NGOs with interest in Bangladesh.
  • Action 2: Engage Pollisree’s resources (HR, data, concepts) in designing joint programmes under the leadership of international/national implementing partners.

Goal 13:Pollisreeemerges as a planner and implementerof CSR funding.

Strategy 1: Develop and implement projects for national CSR funding.

Rationale: While the prospect of external funding of development projects in Bangladesh is slowing down, the corporate sector in Bangladesh is increasingly providing funding for credible CSR projects. Generally, they prefer one-shot shortterm but effective projects. Pollisree has so far been not sufficiently aware of this opportunity and has not approached any company for funding support. It does not possess the capacity and institutional linkage. However, the nature of target groups and types of projects would attract corporate bodies for national CSR funding. 

  • Action 1: Explore national level companies with extensive CSR funding
  • Action 2: Develop innovative proposals (small)



Strategy 2: Develop and implement projects for international level CSR.

Rationale: The scope of international CSR funding is still a relatively unknown area in Bangladesh except SaveThe Children, which channels external CSR funding through some local organizations. Like other national organizations, Pollisree is not experienced with project designing for CSR funding. There is not sufficient knowledge about which international companies offers CSR funding and what criteria they apply..

  • Action 1:Explore international companies with CSR funding
  • Action 2:Develop feasible proposals with the support of interns (national and international).
  • Action 3: Explore CSR opportunities through CSR centre or international organizations.




2.     Institutional Goals


Goal 14: Pollisree practices good governance (transparency, accountability internally and externally)


Strategy 1: Further develop and enrich the policies, systems and procedures governing the operations of Pollisree.

Rationale: Pollisree practices an HR policy and procurement policy. As a woman-led organization, gender issues also played a prominent role. However, in order that the organization aspires to practice good governance, it needs to build in policies, which will demonstrate external accountability and internal transparency to achieve higher level trust and confidence with the donors, government and community. 

  • Action 1:Adopt dedicated policies related to HR, Gender, Procurement, Security, Bribery, Communication, etc.
  • Action 2: Introduce internal audit system (financial and management) to follow up compliance of policies.

Strategy 2: Develop and introduce a system seeking internal accountability and transparencyof the management, and external accountability and transparency of the EC.

Rationale: Pollisree has a functioning Board represented mostly by the local elites with the founder as the General Secretary cum Executive Director.  This  constellation is useful when the organization is new and relatively small. As a growing organization with external expectations for transparency and accountability, the delegation of responsibility and safeguard of the organization in politically difficult times, necessitates that the Board takes up more of its roles.  

  • Action 1: Provide capacity building/orientation about EC’s role.
  • Action 2: Seek EC’s active involvement in fund raising and maintaining relationship with the community.

Goal 15: Pollisree’s human resources always apply research-driven, creativity-oriented, sustainable, efficient, relevant and effective approaches

Strategy 1: Engage programme staff in contemporary and upcoming development theories, issues and approaches (rights-based, results-based, etc., social business, CSR, TOC).

Rationale: Pollisree, now being a co-implementer of projects led by national level organizations, and implementer of traditional projects, do not have its human resources  sufficiently exposed to contemporary development theories and upcoming trends in development. Therefore, it possesses limited innovation potential from within. The current projects provide limited rooms for financing capacity building initiative. It has yet to develop a system to learn from within and from other organizations with the consequence that its staff members play merely an implementing role.


  • Action 1: Provide training on creativity and action research techniques.
  • Action 2: Provide training on understanding of sustainability (programmatic, institutional and financial) and introduction social entrepreneurship and social business in programmes.
  • Action 3: Provide training/workshop on Theory of Change, Results-Based Management, IT-driven M&E, Reporting, Advanced Communication Techniques, and CSR funding. New development approaches.
  • Action 4:Adopt a system of internal learning (documentation and dissemination of the lessons learned from Pollisree projects) and external learning (gathering lessons learned from others and disseminating them internally for discussion).



Strategy 2: Experiment with innovative ideas based on new theories/approaches/issues.

Rationale: The existing programmes of Pollisree do not include any initiative, which documents its new ideas or welcomes ideas of researchers for possible experimentation. No internal or external research is underway to encourage innovation on the part of the staff members that might reflect on subsequent projects. The staff members, being committed and long serving, have not been acquainted with this role. Not only new project ideas, the conceptualization and presentation of the existing projects are also of concern here.   

  • Action 1: Experiment with innovative ideas (internal)in selected project areas. 
  • Action 2: Offer scope for experiment to researchers from home and abroad.
  • Action 3: Seek publication of research results for public discourse with development experts.





G.    Organizational Framework


Pollisree will revise its organisational structure to adjust to the needs of the strategic plan. As such, it will establish three programme areas: Youth Programme, Women Programme and Social Business Programme. Pollisree will have a Finance and Administration Section to support the programmes with policies, systems and procedures on one side, and with materials, human resources and equipment on the other. A Planning Monitoring, Research and Training Section will provide conceptual and quality control support to Pollisree. An Internal Auditor will ensure that the compliance with policies, systems and procedures are followed up and reported on to the Executive Director and Executive Committee simultaneously.


Each Programme will be headed by a Programme Manager/Deputy Director. Depending on the number of projects/programmes under each programme, the number of Project Coordinator will vary.


The Finance and Administration Section will be headed by a Head/Deputy Director. One Administrator, one Accountant, and Logistics Officer will work under him/her. In addition, a set of support staff (drivers, administrative assistants, security and others) will work under the Administrator.


The Planning Monitoring, Research, and Training Section will be headed by one Deputy Director. One Monitoring Officer and Training Manager will work under the Deputy Director.




H.   Monitoring, Review and Change Management


The implementation of the Strategic Plan as elaborated above will be subject to periodic monitoring both internally and externally. The M&E Section will record of the state of the implementation against planned milestones for each Activity to be implemented. The M&E Section will also find out the reasons for possible non-performance and suggest remedial measures in consultations with the persons entrusted with the implementation of the Activities. The information thus generated will be the basis for periodic Progress Reports to be submitted to the Executive Director for consideration and guidance. The PLS may opt for an external evaluation of the implementation of the Strategic Plan after two and half years and seek guidance on how to review the plan to achieve the stated Mission. The following templates may be used for the monitoring system, research for evaluation and reporting on the progress of the implementation of the plan (see Annex).