Policy Making For Citizens
Platforms for Dialogue begins forming District Policy Forums
Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) is initiating interventions at the regional level of Bangladesh after having successfully completed local interventions in 21 districts. This extended intervention will be carried out in 12 districts through District Policy Forums (DPF). DPFs will include representatives of district-based NGOs or Civil Society Organisations (CSO), socially acceptable persons not actively engaged and/or holding a leadership position in any political party (local government, representatives will be the exception), and educated tech savvy adults interested in participating in foundation training and forum events. Interested district-based NGOs, prominent civil society actors, and local government representatives will also be able to join the forums. This wide representation of various citizen groups will ensure diversity and inclusion of a variety of social cohorts.
The DPFs will promote social accountability tools at the district level, increase CSOs’ participation in decision making process and their ability to represent citizen's interest, and influence policy development and implementation. In order to facilitate the formation of DPFs, P4D will provide capacity-building training, technical and operational support on promoting policy dialogues, conducting campaigns, and organising advocacy events to the DPFs. A key activity of P4D in this regard will be to link DPFs with national networks, forums, platforms, organisations etc.
DPFs will be formed in Bagerhat, Bandarban, Bramanbaria, Jamalpur, Kishorgonj, Kushtia, Nilphamari, Natore, Panchagar, Patuakhali, Munshigonj and Moulvibazar. The original plan was to form 8 regional forums, but considering the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for social distancing, and restrictions on organising large-scale gatherings, P4D plans to organise 12 forums with around 20 members in each forum. The districts are chosen from the list of 21 project districts, based on the past performance of CSOs in implementing social action projects (SAPs) on priority issues like child marriage, service at community health clinics, quality education, and peoples’ participation in UP planning process etc. Eventually the activities performed by the DPFs is expected to feed into national policy making.
The orientation workshops are expected to continue throughout March 2021 starting from mid-March. After formation of the forums, week-long foundation trainings for the forum members and development of forum action plans will continue throughout April and May of this year. The DPFs will start implementing the action plan with necessary support from the project from June and are expected to complete by December of this year. The learning from the activities of the DPFs will feed into the national thematic forums in future.
P4D is working to promote a more enabling environment for effective engagement and participation of citizens and civil society in decision making and oversight on all levels. To that end, it is essential to bring together interested civil society actors and build their capacity for articulating and representing citizens’ interests, acting as a catalyst, and effectively using social accountability tools, including the Citizens Charter (CC), Right to Information (RTI), Grievance Redress System (GRS), and National Integrity Strategy (NIS).