Saifuddin Ahmed

Ashoka Fellow
Bangladesh,
Fellow Since 2015
Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust

Citation

This profile was prepared when Saifuddin Ahmed was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Saifuddin’s vision of a liveable city is one that prioritises the environment, public and road safety and basic rights of general public. He believes that a living space is most effective when all these areas integrate to ensure that the public are provided with a safe, healthy and free living condition. Over the last 18 years, Saifuddin has successfully influenced public policies and institutions in Bangladesh to improve its health and public transport.

Saifuddin has built and leveraged the infrastructure and process to identify, advocate and implement strategic policies. In identifying issues to address, he looks at major problems surrounding the “liveability” of people, affecting poverty and compromising greater public interest. His track record shows that the sort of issues he picks, require both behavioural and policy reforms; often involves large scale solutions. He has built a strong network of citizen sector organizations, activists, leaders, policy influencers that can be mobilized to advocate for and implement policies that improve the living conditions in Bangladesh. In a country where policies are often steered by strong private and political interests, he has also nurtured a process to work with the bureaucrats and policy makers with evidence based proposals to integrate critical and often ignored areas of health, transport and human rights.

The efforts of Saifuddin and his network have already brought in key structural and policy shifts in Bangladesh. For example, the Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) which he anchored as was successful in influencing the Government towards pushing through various policies including complete ban on all form of tobacco commercials, tobacco controls in public places, increased taxation etc. To take the load off roads and make public transportation safer, he also conceptualized and successfully led the process of advocating for a separate Rail Ministry in Bangladesh.

With his past success in working with the public authorities, he is now working closely with the Rail Ministry and other agencies to push for an integrated public transport system. Quite recently they have implemented pilot initiatives like zebra crossings, separate pedestrian lanes around schools, bicycle lanes and stands. Last year the Government has approved National Multimodal Transport Policy 2013, which prioritises safe pedestrian-environment, according to WBB Trust’s proposals.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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