NEWSLETTER VOLUME 1, FEBRUARY-APRIL 2019
DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE
PLATFORMS FOR DIALOGUE QUARTERLY HIGHLIGHTS
P4D Opens Doors to 21 New Community Resource Centres
In January 2019, Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) finished establishing 21 Community Resource Centers in all 21 project districts of Bangladesh. These centers, which serve as a hub for citizen engagement and community development, are tailored to optimise civil society outreach and promote a participatory climate for all stakeholders: citizens, interest groups, local authorities and elected representatives. Community groups will be using these resource centers to hold meetings for the MAPs, community workshops and trainings, and will also provide resource support services for local citizens looking to learn more about the Citizen’s Charter and the Grievance Redress System. Citizens can also use these centers to access the internet, ask questions about government policies, and receive assistance when filling out applications for information under the Right to Information Act and through the new Grievance Redress System software. Most importantly, each CRC has a mandate to be politically neutral by the European Union in order to allow and encourage participation from all members of society.
Empowering Civil Society Organisations and Community Members: Lessons Learned Workshop and Training of Trainers
Earlier this year, Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) organised several workshops to develop community programming. The first were two Lessons Learned workshops with CSO partner representatives, MultiActor Partnership (MAPs) members, and British Council District Facilitators from Rangpur and Khulna. The workshops focused on learning about the challenges they faced in their work with P4D, local stakeholders, and the local government offices and how they overcame or addressed these issues.
Attending participants also had the opportunity to share their own experiences working with the project’s social accountability tools, specifically in tandem with other stakeholders. Despite some uncertainties of how to address sensitive issues such as drug trafficking and gender abuse, all stakeholders felt that the workshop further empowered
them to better implement social accountability tools within their organisations, specifically as it relates to government transparency and accountability.
In our ongoing effort to provide collaborative space and educational opportunities for the project communities, P4D also completed 6 Training of Trainers workshops on leadership, social accountability tools, advocacy, gender inclusion, democratic ownership, and social action projects in Chattogram, Jashore and Rangpur. The 7-day training
hosted 126 master trainers, 2 from each CSO partner, across 6 project regions. These trainings gave CSO master trainers the capacity to share tools and best practices related to improved social accountability, policy instruments, advocacy issues, gender inclusion, social action projects, and leadership skills with their organisations and their community members. These trainings not only increase capacity building for our partner organisations, but they strengthen democratic ownership and improve accountability mechanisms in the communities we serve.
GRS and CC Trainings Kick-off at Cabinet Division
MAP volunteers meet to plan social action projects in Kishorgong, Nilfamari. MAP volunteers from various districts came to Dhaka to learn about social accountability tools on March 3, 2019. With the support of the European Union-funded Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) project, the Cabinet Division (CD) of Bangladesh has started a series of trainings on the modernised Grievance Redress System (GRS) and Citizens’ Charter. The GRS training will enhance public officials’ capacity to respond to complaints and grievances from citizens and civil society by improving the organisational capacity through improved technology and services. Cabinet Division Honourable Secretary of Coordination and Reform, N. M. Ziaul Alam, inaugurated the first batch of training on the GRS. Nearly 250 government officials from various ministries and departments joined the training, making it an effective cross-cutting event for civil servants. The Citizens’ Charter training, inaugurated by Dr Md. Shamsul Arefine, the new Secretary of Coordination and
Reform, also provided helpful training on the second generation of the charter, where 150 public service officials were in attendance.
Community Members Are Ready for Social Action Projects
Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) is training community members across 14 districts of Bangladesh to plan and execute Social Action Projects (SAPs). These projects are organized by Multi-Actor Partnerships (MAPs), which are small groups of community volunteers from a common Upazila. These projects will address local issues by using policy tools
to improve community cohesiveness and engage local community members to rally around important issues. P4D has worked with these community members to provide leadership and communications training as well as training on social accountability tools. The training focused on the new Citizens’ Charter, the Right to Information Act, the Grievance Redress System, and the recently implemented National Integrity Strategy. MAPs are already beginning research to see which SAPs will be most impactful for their community.