BRAC, the world-leading NGO of Bangladesh, has very recently returned the fund worth USD 64,115 that they have received from Foundation for Smoke-Free World (FSFW), an organization established and supported by Philip Morris International (PMI).
This is in fact a praiseworthy decision of returning the fund to FSFW knowing that it is, in essence, an offshoot of tobacco industry, Philip Morris International (PMI). The moral stand taken by BRAC in this regard will go a long way in building a tobacco-free country as propounded by the government of Bangladesh taking apart from being a partner of tobacco industries and de-normalizing them, as FSFW is serving the cause and purposes of Philip Morris International (PMI).
With the decision to part ways with FSFW, BRAC has once again strengthened its trustworthiness and established a glorious example that is to be followed in the days to come. PROGGA hopes this experience will persuade BRAC to adopt a policy of no-collaboration with the tobacco industry to prevent a recurrence of such a situation in the future.
PROGGA calls upon the other recipient of the Foundation’s fund in Bangladesh to follow the same footstep BRAC has pioneered and return the money. The Foundation for Smoke-Free World (FSFW) boosts its own reputation by partnering with another high profile organization, which works among the poor in Bangladesh. The $92,620 according to record is for research on “harm reduction amongst slum dwellers”.
It is most unfortunate that this Philip Morris funded Foundation is giving money for research among the poor so that Philip Morris can push its new products in Bangladesh. Slum-dwellers are struggling to put food on the table. Money spent on tobacco is money that is taken away from food and other more important basic necessities. We hope this recipient will also reject this harmful partnership with the Foundation and its funder, Philip Morris International.
Anti-tobacco activists have already played an exemplary role in pointing out the sinister activities of FSFW in Bangladesh. They have already sent official letters to National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) of Health Services Division urging for issuing necessary directives to government and non-government organizations not to take any grant or fund or not to get involved with this Foundation in any way. We hope the ministry of health/govt. will issue necessary directives to make Bangladesh a tobacco-free country by 2040.