BRAC returns fund for anti-tobacco activities from Philip Morris-backed foundation

1 August 2019
Senior Correspondent

This organisation is established and supported by Philip Morris International (PMI).

Progga, an anti-tobacco group, has praised the decision.

In a statement it said “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 PMI.”

Earlier, in June, when bdnews24.com came to know about this collaboration, BRAC said it had scrapped the deal immediately after knowing that a tobacco company was behind it. The money was returned on July 25, according to the invoice bdnews24.com received.

With the decision to part ways with FSFW, Progga said, BRAC has once again “strengthened its trustworthiness and established a glorious example that is to be followed in the days to come”.

PROGGA also hoped that 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 called upon the other recipients of the Foundation’s fund in Bangladesh to follow the same footstep BRAC has pioneered and return the money.

The 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,” Progga said.

“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 sent official letters to National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) of Health Services Division urging for issuing necessary directives to government and non-government organisations 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”.

bdnews24.com