NFOWD, the national Disability Think Tank, and the only registered national network in the country is the well-recognized national apex federating body of NGOs working in the field of Disability in Bangladesh. Based on a consensus arrived through a National Seminar on persons with disabilities held in 1989, the National Forum of the Organizations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD) was formally established on February 3rd 1991 with a view to, safeguarding and promoting the rights and interests of people with disabilities in the society; lobbying with concerned government authorities/agencies to pass a national policy and subsequent legislation on disability. Having 388 active member organizations NFOWD is liaising with relevant government and non-government organizations to formulate a coordinated action plan towards establishing equal rights and participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of national life and providing backstop services to the organizations working with people with disabilities.
Based on a set of core values & operating principles, NFOWD has worked out a set of strategic & organizational objectives in order to work towards achieving its vision. NFOWD is a member on the governing boards of the Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation and the National Social Welfare Council. It has also been a member of the National Coordination Committee and the National Executive Committee on Disability. It is also a member of the MOSW Committee on PRSP, the MOSW Committee on Ageing, and the National Committee on Monitoring the implementation of the CRPD. At the Regional level, it is a member of the South Asian Network on CBR & the Asia Pacific Disability Forum. At the international level, it is an accredited NGO under the UN on the CRPD. NFOWD provides all secretariat support to the national Disability Rights Watch Group and the Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Disability.
Over the years NFOWD has gained a reputation & recognition within the country to work as the perfect interface between the Government & the NGOs in this field. UN-ESCAP has recognized this linkage as one of the ‘best practices of GO-NGO Collaboration in this Region’. NFOWD has two administrative tiers – the General Body and the 15 member National Executive Committee, elected to office every two years, and operates all its functions through an independent Secretariat. It has major programs, such as, coordination includes networking, help build capacity of the member organizations and liaison with both local and international organizations and the government, raising awareness & sensitization includes compile & analyze information on disability, update the information and share it with concerned agencies, education, training and awareness raising, hosting national & international events (arts & crafts exhibitions, cultural events, national fairs, film festivals, conferences etc.) and working closely with the media and finally policy advocacy & influencing includes assist prepare national legislation, policies, strategies & action plans concerning disability and disability-friendly national budgets and supporting the government in the implementation and monitoring of national & international instruments concerning disability issues.