Upazilla Websites Get Updated Because of Civil Society Intervention at a Public Hearing in Bagerhat
Local government websites are full of useful information for citizens to understand and access public services. Despite the wide-scale use of smartphones and the internet, civil society representative Mr Shamim noticed that many of the Upazilla and District websites in Bagerhat were outdated. In an effort to improve public service delivery, Shamim raised the issue at a public hearing organised by local government and civil society representatives.
The DC (District Commissioner) of Bagerhat took the issue into consideration and instructed responsible authorities to update the websites as soon as possible. The DC also called a meeting with the District Unnayan Samanyay Committee (District Development Coordination Committee) and requested their advice to implement the next steps.
Bagerhat District Policy Forum (DPF) members actively participated in the meeting and shared their opinions. Their input, along with consultations with citizens and government officials helped resolve the problem quickly and effectively. Thanks to civil society representatives raising important issues such as ensuring accessible information from local government websites, protecting public interest has become a focal point at public hearings like this one.
Monitoring School Management Committees (SMCs) in Bagerhat
At the same public hearing, another DPF (District Policy Forum) member, Mrs Afroza Ahammed, claimed that some School Management Committees (SMCs) were not fulfilling their duties to ensure better education. Moreover, the Education Office was not monitoring committee activities, causing a lack of accountability and oversight of the SMCs. Hearing the complaint, the DEO (District Education Officer) took the necessary steps to monitor the SMC meetings. Assistant Director of the District Education Office, Md. Abu Hanif, visited Khasherhat Secondary School to monitor activities and reminded the SMC of their duty and responsibilities. The DEO ensured they will continue to monitor in order to improve SMC performance across the district.
Education in Bangladesh has been improving over the past decade, and many stakeholders have proactively collaborated to educate the next generation. SMCs play a crucial role in ensuring well-rounded and comprehensive education for students, however, without proper monitoring and evaluation, they may lose direction and lack efficiency in managing school operations. Bagerhat DPF members are working with local government bodies to advocate for quality education in order to provide youth with the knowledge and skills they need to help develop the district.
Overall, citizens in P4D's project districts are seeing more proactive and responsive local government thanks to interventions like this Public Hearing in Bagerhat. Our recent survey also showed that the majority of citizens in P4D's project districts, 62.3%, perceive that government officials became more accountable in recent years. P4D's interventions, civil society-led campaigns and initiatives, and government efforts to improve accountability and transparency at the institutional level are making a difference. Citizen oversight is crucial to maintaining this kind of impact, and we hope that our field-level partners continue to work with local government to hold them accountable and promote citizen involvement in the democratic process in their communities.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Platforms for Dialogue and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.