DPF Foundation Training Completed and Workplans Finalised
One of P4D’s major milestones is to move project activities from the Upazila to the District-wide level. This quarter, we successfully completed the formation of District Policy Forums in 12 districts with representatives from district-based NGOs, P4D CSO partners, representatives from Multi-Actors Partnership Groups, and prominent civil society members. A 15-day capacity building and foundation training was organised for DPF members between May and June 2021, which was delivered online and organised separately for each DPF. A total of 240 DPF members participated in the training, of them 163 were male, 76 were female and 1 was transgender.
The foundation training covered a wide range of topics including P4D Project Briefing, Roles and Responsibilities of the District Policy Forum (DPF), Leadership and Team Building, Advocacy, Social Issues, and Social Accountability Tools. Except for the training on Social Accountability Tools, all sessions were conducted by P4D project staff. The session on Social Accountability Tools was facilitated by senior government officials from the Cabinet Division. Concerned Deputy Commissioners and the District Magistrate attended the opening sessions as chairperson and P4D Project Director, Dr Md Golam Faruque, Additional Secretary, was present in the session as Chief Guest.
After completing the foundation training, all 12 DPFs have developed their unique workplan for six months to promote social accountability tools and engage citizens in government decision-making and policy dialogues.
SAPs confirmed for 62 Multi-Action Partnership (MAP) Groups
In 2019, Social Action Projects (SAPs) were one of P4D’s primary local interventions to promote social accountability tools (SATs) and address local issues. These SAPs varied from district to district, and Multi-Action Partnerships (MAPs) groups were key in implementing this programming. During this project phase, we are again working with MAP groups to implement another round of SAPs.
MAPs are union-based, youth-focused community groups that formed during the 2nd year of P4D in 21 project districts. The project has provided foundation and refresher trainings to these groups to promote SATs and implement SAPs to address local issues by engaging community and government counterparts. The purpose of the SAPs is not only to address local issues but also to help marginalised people gain access to their rights, engage in the government decision-making process, ensure better service delivery and enhance accountability of public service providers. Throughout the project period, especially throughout the COVID Pandemic, MAP members were also very active on social media to promote social accountability tools through our social marketing campaign.
Recently, the project organised several online consultation meetings with all the groups to identify local priority issues. Through participatory consultations, a number of local issues have been identified. In the coming months, the project will provide support to these groups to implement these new SAPs. The key issues P4D will be supporting include:
Enhancing quality and access to Community Clinic Services
Regular updating of Union Parishad websites
Promoting Social Accountability Tools
Improving waste management systems
The SAPs will be implemented between August and December.
3rd SMC Concludes: Final Results and Next Steps
P4D’s efforts to raise awareness through social media campaigns (SMC) has proven to be an effective way to reach a large audience, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. In June, our third SMC came to a close, with strong results. Like in our previous campaigns, the primary goal of our campaign was to reach and engage as large an audience as possible, specifically in our 21 project districts, to promote social accountability tools.
Additionally, due to low numbers of engagement from women and from some harder to reach project districts in previous campaigns, we created a secondary goal to increase our reach to unique accounts as well as to try to maintain gender ratio in our follower base (as of June 2021, 35.28% of our followers are female). Unlike our previous campaigns, we also focused on ensuring engagement from all sub-target audiences in our project districts (women and unresponsive districts). Despite this additional layer of focus, we achieved a fair reach, engagement, conversion, and advocacy (R.E.C.A.) volume, and we did in fact reach people in remote parts of the project districts who engaged with our content. This rise in reach and engagement from harder to reach communities online is a good indicator that conversations about good governance are also on the rise, particularly among netizens. Cumulatively, we reached approximately 11.27 M accounts (including overlapping reach, i.e., accounts reached more than once over the campaign lifecycle). The number of unique accounts reached during the campaign (between March and June) totalled 4.62 M.
Simultaneously, we have been running like ads on Facebook to build our following. At the end of July, our Facebook page had over 40 K followers. With this large following, our future campaigns will be even more effective at reaching a large audience organically. To further strengthen our future campaigns, we will be creating new graphic content as well as expanding our online SMCs to other more mainstream media. The next focused campaign period will take place between RTI Day in September and Anti-Corruption Day in December.
Online Training: International Learning to Build the Capacity of Bangladesh Civil Servants on Citizen’s Charter and GRS Concludes
In June, P4D successfully completing an online training programme based in the Netherlands titled: International Learning to Build the Capacity of Bangladesh Civil Servants on Citizen’s Charter and GRS. Due to recent lockdowns and travel restrictions, P4D and the Cabinet Division pivoted away from the original plan of an in-personal study tour to a virtual training with our partners in the Netherlands. This was the result of dedicated collaboration and dialogue between P4D, the Cabinet Division, and P4D’s institutional partners.
The online training programme, originally meant to take place in the Hague, Netherlands, was conducted over 7 sessions by Digileren and Utrecht University between May 31 and June 14. 12 participants completed the training from various government bodies, including the Cabinet Division, Divisional Commissioners Office, Road Transport and Highways Division, Local Government Division, Health Services Division, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Department of Agricultural Extension, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd. (DESCO), and the Department of Livestock Services. The virtual sessions were hosted by Utrecht University’s innovative digital platform, BARCO, and focused on accessibility, digital government, quality service delivery, and effective communications with citizens (full schedule on the right). P4D and the Cabinet Division plan to organise follow-up activities with participants to use their new skills and knowledge to update operational guidelines for public officials as well as to develop second-generation Citizen’s Charters.
BPATC Formally Includes Policy Tools in Orientation Module for New Civil Servant Training
The Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre has formally included Social
Accountability Tools training in their Foundation Training Course for new civil servants. The thematic module on Public Administration will now include a specific module on Public Administration and Governance which will cover “Government Improvement and Different Tools and Strategies.” The Citizen’s Charter, Right to Information Act, Grievance Redress Mechanism, Annual Performance Agreement, and National Integrity System will all be included.
Third BCSAA Training on Consultation, Facilitation, and Management for Civil Servants
On June 19 and 20, the BCSAA hosted an online training titled Consultation, Facilitation,
and Management for Civil Servants. 40 government officials (11 female and 29 male participants) attended the online event, which was the third group of senior government officials to receive this training. The two previous training cohorts, however, were in-person trainings. Following our recommendation, the BCSAA organised this online training for the first time and agreed to conduct all remaining trainings online by 30 April 2022.
Updated Workplans for NIMC and BPATC
In July, P4D worked with the Cabinet Division to finalise and agree on additional activities for the National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) and the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC). According to the new agreements, both the BPATC and NIMC will implement new deliverables through April 2022.
The BPATC will broaden its mandate to encourage more service delivery by civil servants by promoting social accountability tools (SATs) at all levels. This will include:
providing trainings on SATs to 600 district-level civil servants from the 12 P4D working districts. (The number of districts may increase if time permits)
providing training on SATs as part of BPATC foundation course to 600 entry-level officials
conducting SAT policy discussion with 100 top and mid-level civil servants
conducting research on the implementation effectiveness of the SATs by government officials. These findings will be discussed in the policy discussion among top officials
THE NIMC will be expanding its scope of work to help district-level journalists understand the importance of strategic communications in promoting good governance. Specific deliverables will include:
creating a pool of 35 resource persons skilled to provide training on strategic communication and good governance. This will involve officials from the Ministry of Information, District Information Offices, and officials from the NIMC
training 360 journalists from 12 P4D working districts on strategic communications and good governance
arranging a competition among the trained journalists to produce materials for publication or broadcasting. The articles will focus on issues related to good governance, and a review committee will assess and award the winner with a small prize. This contest aims to encourage journalists to focus more on the quality of their writing.
The new workplans for both partner institutions will begin immediately in close cooperation with P4D.