SAFBIN Directors Board Meeting held in Bangkok

Meeting of the SAFBIN Directors Board was held on June 10, 2018 in Bangkok. Mr. Christoph Schweifer, Secretary General International Programmes, Caritas Austria joined the members of the SAFBIN South Asia Executive Directors Board, Mr. Francis Atul Sarkar, Caritas Bangladesh; Fr. Paul Moonjely, Caritas India; Fr. Krishna Bahadur Bogati, Caritas Nepal; Mr. Amjad Gulzar, Caritas Pakistan for a joint meeting. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Zar Gomez, Regional Coordinator, Caritas Asia; Mr. Fred Lauener, Head of Department Asia/Europe, Caritas Switzerland, Mr. Peter Seidel, Caritas Germany; Mr. Albert Grosse Hokamp , Caritas Germany, Ms. Helene Unterguggenberger, Caritas Austria, Head of Food Security Department; and Mr. Sunil Simon, Head of SARE, SAFBIN Programme.

During his introductory remarks, Mr. Christoph highlighted his two visits to Bangladesh and India a and interactions with the smallholder community. He urged the members to remember the smallholders while taking important decisions. He reflected on the process of developing the new programme and mentioned it as a historic moment for Caritas and smallholder community. He said that SAFBIN is an expression of the way of cooperation and we need a lot of cooperation and collaboration among us and other stakeholders to make it a success. He highlighted that the relationship between the stakeholders is important not as a donor and recipient but to have the common responsibility for the big goal.

An update of progress since the last meeting of the SAFBIN South Asia Executive Directors Board was shared by Sunil Simon. Helene shared the programme structure and discussed the role of South Asia Regional Enablers and Caritas Asia in the programme. As per the suggestion of the members, the programme structure is renamed as a governance structure.

It was decided that the additional members should be accommodated within the existing structure and it is important to ensure that the programme is not fragmented with the involvement of additional stakeholders.  Fr. Paul Moonjely suggested that the structure of SAFBIN Directors Board can play a larger role and look for additional opportunities within the region. Mr. Peter Seidel discussed how the work of Caritas Germany with Caritas India could be complemented.  He also shared about the opportunities available in Germany to collaborate on the issue of nutrition.

An agreement of strategic partnership was signed between Caritas Asia, Caritas Austria and the members of South Asia Executive Directors Board. SAFBIN is adopted as one of the strategic programme under the new strategy of Caritas Asia. Learning from the SAFBIN programme will be shared with other members of Caritas Asia in the region.