Newsletter Volume 6, May-July 2020

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE | PLATFORMS FOR DIALOGUE QUARTERLY HIGHLIGHTS

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P4D Finalises 5-month Extension: What Our Activities Will Look like Moving Forward

At the end of June, P4D was granted a 5-month extension from the European Union to continue our work promoting social accountability tools and building the capacity of our partners. While activities like the study tour and in-person events have been postponed due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, P4D has shifted focus to providing impact from a distance.

Result Areas 1 and 2 have both provided online trainings and will continue to do so through November. Communications will continue working to spread information about Social Accountability Tools throughout our 21 project districts on social media, and RMEL will continue to assess our impact through distanced data collection. 

P4D is committed to our mandate of building the capacity of both our CSO and government partners, and with online tools, our project can continue to have a positive impact on communities around the country.

Communications Tools Training on Facebook, Canva, Google, and Wix

Due to the heightened need to move our operations online, P4D rapidly created a training programme to teach our CSOs how to use Facebook as an organisational tool, how to create beautiful graphics and designs for any medium on Canva, how to use Google Drive to stay internally organised, and how to create a free, custom website using Wix. Sarah Lewis, P4D Communications Lead, designed a TOT which was implemented at the end of June and beginning of July. With the support of Digital Officer, Monjure Haider, the Communications team provided in-depth, hands-on training for all P4D Regional Coordinators (RCs) and the Result Area 1 team. 

The training covered how to create and manage a Facebook Page for CSOs or MAP groups, how to create a Facebook Group for the community, volunteer or MAP groups, how to create design graphics using Canva’s online platform, how to use Google Drive to collaborate online, manage files, and keep an organised office in the cloud, and how to create a custom-designed website for CSOs or MAP groups. All the tools used to offer free versions, so all of our partner CSOs can easily access these resources. The sessions were comprised of instruction and demonstrations followed by hands-on practice. In total, the TOT lasted 6 days. 

After the RCs were more comfortable with the new tools, Result Area 1 coordinated a training programme to train District Facilitators and project beneficiaries (CSO Leaders, MAP members, and Community Resource Centre Chairs). The Communications team also provided manuals in English and Bengali so that trainees can refer back to these materials when practicing their new digital skills. Online trainings at the District level began in July, and will continue through November. In total, 200 beneficiaries (including 18 P4D staff members) will be trained on these communications tools.  

The importance of this type of training not only allows our partner organisations and beneficiaries to adapt to the current environment, but it will also allow them to grow in their own right. By providing these invaluable digital skills to CSO leaders around the country, they will have the means to promote their own work and increase engagement in their activities. Training for CSO leaders will continue through the remainder of the programme, and the Communications team will continue to provide support as CSOs build their organisation’s online presence.

Social Media Campaign: Promoting Social Accountability Tools in 21 Project Districts

Social Accountability Tools have not been widely promoted in Bangladesh. Despite the government’s efforts to create these tools, their training capacity of District and Union level officials has been limited and public knowledge of these tools is minimal. To help improve promotion of these tools, P4D engaged in a Social Media Campaign to educate our audience on what these tools are, how they work, and why they are important.  

During the campaign, P4D divided the content to independently focus on each Social Accountability Tool: Citizen’s Charter, Grievance Redress System, the Right to Information Act, and the National Integrity Strategy. Each section lasted for roughly 2 weeks, during which time we created infographics on each tool, posted photo graphics to describe what each tool does and explain why it is important, wrote human impact stories to show real-life results of using these tools, and created public service announcement videos and other audio-visual content to explain how each tool works and reinforce our general messaging.

The campaign lasted for roughly 2.5 months, with one week of introductory posts on what Social Accountability Tools are and a closing post summarizing the importance of Social Accountability Tools.

We also boosted selected posts after they had been posted, which dramatically increased our content reach and engagement. Over the entire campaign, several million accounts were reached, and we received tens of thousands of engagements via likes, shares, comments, and full views. P4D plans to create a second social media campaign during the Fall to remind our followers of these tools and provide additional information and impact stories.

Building CSO Capacity to Engage with Beneficiaries: P4D Produces CSO Brochures for each Partner Organisation

As part of our work to build the capacity of our partner CSOs, P4D has created a unique brochure for each of our 63 partner organisations. Giving our partners the physical tools to engage with beneficiaries and key stakeholders, including donors, in a meaningful way will help propel them in their future work. We gathered key information from each partner CSO, designed a brochure with their details and photographs, and then provided them with a template they can edit should they wish to make any updates. Brochures were finished at the end of May, and Result Area and Communications staff will continue to provide support to CSOs in need of further assistance.

Annual Performance Management Workshop: P4D Institutional Partner BPATC Works with Government Officials on Social Accountability Training under the APM

BPATC conducted a successful two-day workshop on the Annual Performance Management (APM) from June 26-28, 2020 under the leadership of Mr. Md. Rakib Hossain ndc, Rector, BPATC. Due to in-person working restrictions, the workshop took shape in a combination of online learning and some distance learning sessions. Of a total of 55 participants, 24 joined the workshop online while 31 participated in a distance-learning environment. Despite the new training format, participants were very engaged with the workshop, and several trainees commented that they learned a great deal about the APM and Social Accountability Tools.

Validation Workshop: A New Way of Assessing the Impact of Social Accountability Tools

In partnership with BPATC Rector Mr. Md. Rakib Hossain, P4D held the first ever Validation Workshop on July 4, 2020. This workshop aimed to validate a BPATC research report on government officials’ understanding of Social Accountability Tools through an online and offline innovative process. The Validation Workshop was a forum of relevant experts and other stakeholders who came together virtually to discuss and provide feedback on BPATC’s recent report.  

During the workshop, there were independent experts from universities and government agencies reflecting on the research methodology, findings, and recommendations. This is the last stage of independent external input before a final report is produced. Mr. Md. Kamal Hossain, Secretary of Coordination & Reforms, was the Chief Guest of the event and commented on the workshop saying, “I found the presentation very insightful. The session was brilliant in terms of participation and interaction, and I enjoyed it very much.” The feedback from the participants echoed Hossain’s sentiment.

Expert Panel Discussions: P4D Begins Sharing Policy Discussions with our Institutional Partners on Social Media

While our activities and in-person events are on hold, P4D has begun hosting online expert panel discussions with our institutional partners to encourage our community to continue to engage with social accountability tools and learn about their impact. In the inaugural discussion panel, Arsen Stepanyan, P4D Team Leader, spoke with Dr. Zohurul Islam, Director of BPATC. Their conversation focused around the recent BPATC study findings which assessed the training needs of government officers on social accountability tools.

The study was initiated because BPATC wants to redesign their regular training courses to incorporate social accountability tools in a more impactful and effective manner. The ultimate objective of the study was to enhance transparency and accountability for better public service delivery in Bangladesh. The discussion was posted to P4D’s Facebook page and YouTube channel for public viewing at the end of July. More discussions will be recorded and posted on our social media channels to keep stakeholders engaged and aware of our progress at the institutional level.

Adapting to Remote Work: How Working from Home has Changed P4D’s Approach

In March when the Coronavirus pandemic began, P4D quickly changed its approach and plan for the Spring and Summer months. As all organisations did, P4D quickly adapted to an online working environment and all in-person activities were paused. Our staff quickly learned how to use a variety of Microsoft Suite tools to help stay organised and keep clear communication despite working from a distance. Software like Planner allowed Senior Managers to create a departmental work plan, assign tasks, and monitor progress on a variety of activities, and Microsoft Teams allowed teams and colleagues to chat, video conference, or call online in real time. Many of these tools have in fact improved overall productivity and helped teams improve communication despite working from a distance.

While some work has slowed, other work has picked up speed. Trainings focused on building capacity to use web tools have quickly moved forward, and government trainings have moved mostly online, with some socially distanced in-person activities only when safety precautions were possible. Our RMEL team changed their approach of collecting data to web surveys and phone calls, rather than in person data collection. Communications has focused on online promotion of our activities and the social media campaign, and all human resources, financial, and administrative work has continued online. Since many of our scheduled activities were planned as in-person events, our work week has been slightly reduced, though we anticipate resuming a regular schedule by the Fall.

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