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Newsletter | Volume 17 | February - June 2023

Updated: Aug 9, 2023



Newsletter Vol 17 February - May 2023
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DPF Regional Workshops Push the National Forum Agenda Forward


After conducting three national-level dialogues with the Cabinet Division, the National Thematic Forums (NTFs) reflected on the sustainability of their work and presented a series of next steps for the NTFs to take further action. One of the key outcomes from this reflection session was the suggestion to formally establish an NTF leadership structure and make the platform agile with interpersonal networks and connections. As the Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) project phases out in the coming months, the British Council is focused on ensuring a lasting impact and greatly valued the ideas and work plan generated by the NTF members.


Subsequently, four regional workshops were organised in Chattagram, Gazipur, Rangpur, and Khulna with 217 DPF member participants, 30% of whom were female. The purpose of the workshops was to enhance the knowledge and skills of DPF members on partnerships and NTF governance structure, with the specific objectives to build the capacity of both DPF and NTF members on partnerships, facilitate relationship-building among DPF and NTF members, review DPF accomplishments, and agree on the NTF national governance structure.


During the discussions on partnership strategy and NTF leadership structure, members shared various opinions on how to establish and manage leadership moving forward. Some of the recommendations that emerged from these discussions included the establishment of a singular National Forum and a P4D-formed National Forum executive committee with 21 members for representation from each district.

DPF members from Moulvibazar, Brahmanbharia, and Bandarban districts met in Chattogram on 4 February 2023 for the DPF Regional Workshop.

Participants voted to democratically select the National Forum's leadership committee based on nominations from each district (21 in total) for the positions of President (1), Vice President (2, one male and one female), Secretary (1), Joint Secretary (3), and Executive Member (14); a total of 21 members, an odd number, was settled to facilitate future votes.


At the end of these workshops, the participants discussed the National Forum executive committee selection process and voted to finalise their preferred nominees. 62% of the participants voted for an open selection process, but existing DPF Presidents and Secretaries were ultimately elected to fill the executive committee positions.


National Thematic Forums Combine


Over the course of Platforms for Dialogue’s project implementation, P4D has effectively formed and operationalised civil society platforms at the local, regional, and national levels following our bottom-up strategy. At the national level, three National Thematic Forums were formed as the apex body of grassroots civil society and local organisations. NTFs participated in National Dialogues with senior, national-level government officials, including the Cabinet Secretary and Secretaries of pertinent ministries.


Both National Thematic Forum and District Policy Forum members suggested combining the three NTFs into one National Forum during the National Dialogues and later convened at DPF Regional Workshops to make a combined effort to organise events, including dialogues on emerging issues. An online meeting with the DPF Leaders (DPF Presidents who are now also NTF Coordinators and DPF Secretaries who are also NTF members) was scheduled following the proposal on 29 April 2023. There, the 12-member ad hoc National Forum Committee was officially formed by combining the three NTFs with Professor Rabindranath Chowdhury elected as its convener. In cooperation with the core group members, this ad hoc committee will create the National Forum's executive committee within the next nine months. All the members of the three NTFs will also be members of the National Forum.


Celebrating International Social Justice Day


February 20th marks the International Day of Social Justice. To commemorate the event, P4D put together a short three-story digital booklet with inspiring accounts from our project districts. Each of the stories highlighted how local actors ensured social justice in their communities by using social accountability tools to hold local leaders accountable and prevent corruption. As International Social Justice Day comes shortly before International Women’s Day, we selected stories that specifically showcased how women are accessing and using these tools to uphold democratic values, demand transparency, and ensure accountability. The publication, titled 'Breaking Barriers: Stories of Communities Striving for Social Justice' is available to download on our website at p4dbd.org/socialjusticeblogs.


Impact Campaign


As P4D begins to wrap up activities and prepare for the project closeout phase, we have designed and begun implementing a final Impact Campaign to highlight the important cumulative impacts and outcomes of P4D’s work over the last six years. After careful consultation and planning with monitoring and evaluation colleagues, we have selected key metrics that demonstrate P4D’s performance and show stakeholders a high-level overview of the project’s successes. The campaign will last for a total of 16 weeks, with two posts per week between March and June. Please visit the P4D Facebook page for the full impact campaign: www.facebook.com/p4dbd.


Women’s Day Celebrations


In honour of International Women’s Day, 11 of P4D’s District Policy Forums celebrated the occasion with rallies and discussion sessions. This year, the theme was “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” Local events boasted participation from members of parliament, Chairman of District Councils, Deputy Commissioners, Police Superintendents, Director of Women's Affairs, and others. Many stakeholders from civil society organisations including the press club president, academicians, social activists, and NGO representatives were present. A total of 983 individuals participated in these events, and the vast majority, 624, were female.


The rallies, a highlight of the celebration, helped raise awareness about women's issues and the importance of gender equality to the greater community. The day’s events were covered by many local and national newspapers and 3 national TV channels (BTV, Machranga, and 71), as well as many online media outlets. The media coverage highlighted the importance of International Women's Day and the efforts being made to promote gender equality and women's empowerment by the DPFs.

In addition to the DPF’s own celebrations, P4D also honoured two female staff members, Sobnom Mostarty and Rehana Begum, both Regional Coordinators, on their accomplishments using digital tools. In a candid discussion, they shared their experiences learning about digital tools and improving their digital literacy while working on the project. They shared how their process, though difficult at times, has helped empower them to reach new heights in their careers and guide others to improve their own digital skills. Their stories are documented in a success story published in March, which is available to read in full on our website at www.p4dbd.org/impact.


The celebration of International Women's Day was a resounding success, as participants from all backgrounds voiced their support for women’s rights, women's empowerment, and increased digital literacy for all women. The event served as a reminder of the progress made toward equity, while also highlighting the work that still needs to be done to ensure equal opportunities and rights for women across the country.


Success Stories from the Field


Achieving Success through Public Hearings: Panchagarh DPF Takes the Lead


DPF (District Policy Forum) Advocates to Improve Traffic Management in Panchagarh City

Panchagarh, a municipality in northern Bangladesh is experiencing an increase in traffic management concerns. With the growing population, traffic police appointed to manage traffic have become inefficient and overall traffic management has fallen short of the city’s needs, especially due to the high number of auto rickshaws. The Panchagarh DPF raised this issue in a public hearing organised by the local government to catalyse action by the authorities, and the city is already seeing results. The Superintendent of Police in Panchagarh, Md. Yousuf Ali, agreed that the issue warranted swift action and took immediate steps to place necessary traffic personnel at important intersections. The DC (District Commissioner) of Panchagarh also took immediate action to resolve the crisis by allocating space to accommodate more than 200 auto rickshaws. This initiative has contributed to solving traffic problems in the municipality, and as a result, the city has since seen fewer accidents and significant improvements to overall traffic management.


Fixing an Unintended Gender Bias: Creating Space for Women in Panchagarh’s Passport Office

People in Panchagarh often travel to India for business and medical treatment. Because of the high cross-border traffic, the local passport office is constantly busy as travellers prefer to sort passport-related issues in their hometown instead of making a long trip to the capital. Earlier, the passport office had only one service area, without any special accommodations for women service recipients. Considering the conservative nature of Bangladesh and the expectation that women practice modesty by covering or maintaining adequate distance from men outside of their family, women were not able to access passport services equally compared to men without compromising their values. While this oversight may not have been ill-intended, once the issue was raised, it became apparent that this public space was not designed equitably for men and women. When District Policy Forum members raised this issue in the Panchagarh public hearing, the District Commissioner realised the implications of this unnecessary hardship for women, and steps were immediately taken to create a sitting space specifically designed for women. This not only improved access to public services and created a safe space for women in the passport office, but it ensures women’s right to freedom of movement which is essential for self-determination.


Patuakhali DPF Member Raises the Issue of Child Marriage in Public Hearing

In a Patuakhali public hearing, DPF member, Sohrab Hossain, raised awareness of the increase in child marriage during the Covid-19 pandemic. Local sources state that many parents decided to marry off their children during the pandemic while schools were closed, a trend that affected districts across the country. Considering the significance of the issue, the District Education Officer of Patuakhali (DEO) decided to research the issue further and take the necessary steps to address the situation.


The rate of child marriage in Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world. Although it has been decreasing over the past 30 years, the rate of decline is slower compared to other developing countries. Adolescent girls in our country are vulnerable to gender-based abuse, inequality, domestic violence, and many other alarming discriminatory acts (United Nations Children’s Fund, 2022) in addition to child marriage and the risks associated with it. Raising people’s awareness of the negative impacts of child marriage and promoting prevention mechanisms have been on a priority for many community leaders such as civil society organisations, conscious citizens, concerned international partners, and others. However, without proper consultation with policymakers and transparent monitoring, direct and sustainable preventative actions are difficult to take.

DPF members in Patuakhali are therefore bringing together community decision-makers to act and reduce child marriage as much as possible. The local administration has been receptive and is working to ensure proper legal support to stop unlawful child marriages. Not only will this initiative help the community secure a better future for the next generation, but it’s also an example of the participatory engagement of community leaders, local government, and concerned citizens.


Civil society, government, and citizens have unanimously agreed they need to work in better synergy to bring about positive changes in their communities. Through public hearings and other participatory mechanisms at both the local and district levels, relevant stakeholders are able to express citizen needs and discuss solutions to address these issues.


Endline Survey Report


Since P4D’s inception in 2017, the project has implemented a holistic and mixed-method approach to monitor and measure the outputs, outcomes, and impact of our activities. At the start of the project’s implementation, in February 2018, a baseline assessment was used to collect data for various indicators in P4D’s Logframe. Later in May and June of 2020, a midterm study was conducted to collect and report on the progress of these Logframe indicators compared to the baseline. With the project’s upcoming closure in June, the British Council commissioned an endline study in September 2022 to understand the most recent knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours of the general population and CSO leaders on social accountability tools and to collect data on various indicators for the final Logframe report. The study included a general population survey of 1,260 adults in P4D’s 21 project districts from 8 divisions using a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing surveying approach and focus group qualitative discussions with CSO members.


The report’s findings clearly show that P4D’s core objectives have been effective over the project’s lifespan. One key finding shows that the percentage of citizens in intervention areas who feel that the government is becoming more accountable has increased significantly since the baseline study (38.8% to 62.3%). There has also been an increase in the percentage who think the government is effective (from 51% to 68.3%). Nearly one-third of the surveyed population is aware of opportunities for citizen involvement in local decision-making and oversight mechanisms (20% to 31.3%), with just over a third of people aware that citizens and CSOs can be members of local committees. In fact, many P4D beneficiaries, like MAP members, are now partaking in local decision-making mechanisms (58.3% up from 16%). There has also been a substantial rise in the proportion who think the committees effectively improve government accountability (51%), with P4D’s target being met. Over two-thirds of people in intervention areas agree that CSOs are responsive or represent people’s needs. Awareness of all four social accountability tools has improved throughout the project, with survey results meeting or exceeding the 20%-increase target. Overall, just over 65.6% of people say they have heard about at least one of the four tools promoted and supported by the P4D project. Additionally, TV, word of mouth, CSOs, and government programs were all highlighted as key sources of initial information on the tools. Online sources, including P4D’s social media campaigns, were also commonly cited.


The study findings indicate that P4D has achieved almost all the targeted improvements we originally set, and in many cases, far exceeded these ambitions. The survey results indicate several potential areas for further social accountability support in Bangladesh so that the benefits of implementing the P4D project can be further sustained.



GCSI Implements Strategic Communications Workshop with Senior Government Officials


The Cabinet Division, in collaboration with the NIMC, formed a 12-member Strategic Communications Working Group (SCWG) comprised of officials from the Cabinet Division, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the NIMC. Their goal was to develop a communication strategy for the government to promote social accountability tools. To provide support, P4D teamed up with the UK government's Government Communication Services International (GCSI). The GCSI held an online training session on communication for the SCWG from January 23 to February 13. Additionally, the SCWG attended a three-day, in-person workshop held by GCSI at BRAC CDM in Dhaka from February 16-18, which resulted in a drafted communications plan. SCWG members received certificates of completion during a small ceremony after the workshop.


The communications strategy underwent validation in a workshop on 18 May, attended by government officials, communications experts, and representatives from the media. The experts lauded the strategy's breadth and provided valuable input to further enhance its efficacy. The formal launch of the strategy took place in the afternoon of 25 May, with senior officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Cabinet Division, the Press Institute of Bangladesh, the British Council, and the NIMC in attendance as esteemed guests. The event also welcomed over 100 journalists who were invited to cover the proceedings.


NIMC Wraps up Strategic Communications Workshops for Media Professionals and Creative Writers


During the third-phase training programs, the NIMC brought together 90 media professionals from print, electronic, and online media to enhance their skills and knowledge of social accountability tools (SATs). These trainings were held in January and February. Additionally, 90 young content developers were oriented online on social accountability tools in March and later submitted creative content on the SATs. A three-day residential training workshop was conducted in May, where a group of 20 talented content creators were carefully chosen from the online orientation to participate. The workshop focused on enhancing their skills and abilities. Notably, four exceptional scripts, developed by the participants during the workshop, were selected for future production, highlighting their creative prowess and potential. These initiatives aimed to facilitate the development of a governance ecosystem where good governance practices are easily accessible, and citizens are empowered to exercise their rights and access government services with ease. By equipping media professionals with the necessary skills, they can help raise awareness, hold public officials accountable, expose corruption, and promote a culture of transparency and accountability, ultimately contributing to a more stable and prosperous society.


GRS Update


GRS operation maintenance support is ongoing and will continue until June 2023, as planned. However, because the project will end on 30 June 2023, P4D plans to hold a handover meeting with the Cabinet Division and the service provider in early June to ensure a smooth transition.


BPATC Completes Reporting

Since the BPATC completed their research on the Social Accountability Tools, they have submitted two training pre and post-evaluation reports, as anticipated. At the end of May, they completed their activity report, which is now being reviewed and finalised by P4D.


3rd Party Monitoring Update


Following Participatory Management Initiative for Development’s (PMID) baseline survey, a monitoring tool was developed to track the progress of the Social Accountability tools. On June 14, 2023, a validation workshop was successfully held at the Cabinet Division under the supervision of the Secretary of Coordination and Reform. The workshop's goal was to validate the third-party monitoring tool as well as the baseline research findings. The consultants presented the monitoring tool at the workshop, along with comprehensive implementation guidelines. Furthermore, the baseline data was presented as the basis for developing the monitoring tool. The participants praised the P4D initiative and saw it as a timely and valuable product, especially given the government's emphasis on transparency. The initiative was praised for its potential to improve governance, transparency and accountability. The participants responded positively to the consultants' presentation and subsequent discussion during the workshop.


NIMC Media Award 2023


On February 27th, the National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) held its second-ever Media Award for journalists who promote good governance. The event marked the culmination of a three-year partnership between the NIMC and the British Council's Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) project to build the capacity of media professionals on social accountability tools (SATs) and encourage them to promote good governance through their platforms.


Since 2019, the NIMC has been working with P4D to develop and implement trainings on Strategic Communication and SATs. They have trained over 1,500 media professionals to date, and their influence goes well beyond the trainings. The NIMC has encouraged and supported trainees from the upazila and district levels to the national level to report on SATs on their respective platforms, resulting in hundreds of stories being published or produced.


For this year’s NIMC Media Award 2023, journalists submitted over 150 published pieces related to good governance and accountability tools for award nomination this year. A jury board consisting of senior media professionals, government officials, and media educators selected the winners. The Media Award, held at the institution’s Sheikh Russel Auditorium, was granted to 10 media professionals from highly reputable press houses in three categories: print, audio, and video. The Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, presented the awards as the Chief Guest. Mr Mahmudul Hossain Khan, Secretary Coordination & Reforms Wing of the Cabinet Division, Ms Ayesha Akther, Joint Secretary Cabinet Division and Project Director of P4D, Mr Tom Miscioscia, Director of the British Council Bangladesh, Ms Fani Farmaki, Programme Manager, e-Governance, and Mr Arsen Stepanyan, Team Leader of P4D were present as Guests of Honour. Ms Shahin Islam, ndc, Director General of NIMC chaired the event.


To read a more in-depth article about the award and ceremony, visit the impact section of P4D’s website to read the success story of P4D’s collaboration with the NIMC and the 2023 Media Award: p4dbd.org/impact


Pilot Citizen’s Charter Training


The Citizen's Charter is an agreement between the government and its citizens. It outlines the services, cost, quality, and timeframe of various public services, and it enables citizens to hold government departments accountable based on this information. To streamline the charters, the Cabinet Division, in collaboration with three district administrations, has begun to organise day-long trainings for Citizen’s Charter focal persons from different government departments. This marks the initial step in revising and updating the charter in a standardised format.


P4D coordinated the pilot programmes in three districts based on size and remoteness and which represent various challenges across the country. The first pilot training took place in Kishoreganj on 23 May, the second in Natore on 21 June, and the third for Bandarban officials on 26 June.

63 individuals from 40 government departments attended the Kishoreganj training, 58 joined the training in Natore, and 46 attended the Bandarban pilot programme online. Ms Ayesha Akther, Joint Secretary and P4D Project Director, and Mr Md. Mokhlesur Rahman, Deputy Secretary and P4D Deputy Project Director, provided valuable insights into Citizen's Charters' development and implementation. The training focused on familiarising participants with the concept of Citizen's Charters and the importance of aligning them with public needs. It highlighted the significance of adopting a standardised format for consistency and clarity across government departments.



P4D Empowering Government Officials for Enhanced Accountability: International Learning Exchanges in Armenia, Netherlands, and the UK


Bangladesh officials recently visited Armenia, the Netherlands, and the UK to enhance their knowledge and expertise in applying key social accountability mechanisms. Sharing best practices and cross-cultural learning exchanges are a key component of any capacity-building programme, and the EU and British Council are honoured to have supported this important professional development opportunity for senior Bangladeshi government officials.


The first visit focused on applying citizens’ right to information and learning about e-governance and CSO-government collaboration initiatives. The visit was organised by the Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) project and took place in Armenia from 8-17 April 2023. During the study visit, the officials had the opportunity to meet with various organisations, including the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights Defender Office, Cabinet Division, EKENG (e-Governance infrastructure implementation agency of RA), Media Initiative Centre, TUMO Centre of Creative Technologies, Freedom of Information and Expression Coalition of Armenia (NGO), and Harmonious Development (NGO).

Armenia learning exchange participants stand under the arch at the Ministry of Justice in Yerevan, Armenia's capital, with the group's translator

Armenia has made significant progress in recent years to strengthen democracy, good governance, education, and the IT sector. The country has embraced innovation and imported technology and knowledge from both Eastern and Western countries to develop its digital infrastructure. Armenia is advancing digitalisation, and its transition to e-governance systems is well underway. The public sector is citizen-friendly, and service delivery is mostly e-citizen-centric. The visit highlighted the praiseworthy collaboration between NGOs and the government, the proactive approach of the Human Rights Defender Office, remarkable CSO-citizen engagement, and freedom of the press. The officials were impressed by the government's commitment to personal data protection and the initiatives taken to increase digital literacy and IT-based labour forces.


The second visit, which took place in the Netherlands from 8 – 12 May, focused on innovative teaching methods and learning programme design. The visit was organised by Digileren BV, a Netherlands-based organisation specialising in digital learning solutions which also coordinated P4D’s online e-Citizen's Charter and GRS training for senior civil servants in 2021. Sessions covered during this trip focused on recent developments in teaching and learning in the Netherlands, such as Evidence-Based Training Design, new teaching methods, and online learning. Participants joined various classroom sessions and lectures to gain knowledge and experience on how to deliver capacity-building training to civil servants, as well as understand what innovative methods could be used to make learning more effective and practical.


Participants visited the Bangladesh Embassy in the Netherlands, the Hague Academy for Local Governance, Relevance Learning/Schouten & Nelissen Global, the European Institute for Public Administration, and Utrecht University. The training sessions included Management and Quality Control, Communication and Marketing, Online and Blended Learning Methods, Adult Learning Methods and the Adult Learning Training Cycle, Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace, Promoting Good Governance in the EU and Beyond, Institutional Framework and Governance in the EU: Implications for Civil Servants Training, Digital Teaching Methods, Competency Frameworks in the Public Sector, Function of the Teaching and Learning Lab, and Educational Innovation.

Finally, a team of twelve senior civil servants from Bangladesh visited the UK as part of a learning exchange visit on public management, governance, and leadership. The visit was organised by Public Administration International (PAI) between 22 - 26 May 2023 and focused on public management, governance, and leadership. The participants, who included government officials from the Cabinet Division, the Ministry of Health and Agriculture, and the ICT Division, had a unique opportunity to delve into the best practices of the United Kingdom's civil service system.

To enhance their understanding of effective governance, the participants visited esteemed institutions during their stay, such as the HM Land Registry, Center for Effective Dispute Resolution, and the London Borough of Hounslow. These visits provided practical insights and real-world examples of public management in action, enriching the learning experience for the delegation.

Overall, the visits had a profound impact on the participants and provided an opportunity for the Bangladesh officials to learn about highly relevant best practices in Armenia, the Netherlands, and the UK. Most importantly, participants gained valuable insights into how they can implement these practices in their leadership roles and as civil servants, negotiators, and policy shapers in Bangladesh. Participants reported feeling a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to apply the best practices they learned during the programs to their specific roles in shaping policies and leading their respective departments. The learning exchanges have undoubtedly equipped the delegations with valuable knowledge and perspectives that will contribute significantly to the development and progress of the government sectors in Bangladesh.

Looking ahead, in June, P4D plans to convene a reflection session where the participants will come together to discuss the knowledge gained during the programmes and explore future steps. The focus will be on designing learning exchanges more effectively to continue empowering government officials and fostering meaningful international collaborations.



Platforms for Dialogue’s Legacy: Showcasing Our Impact


Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) has been working over the past 6 years to create spaces for dialogue in communities across the country. With a focus on creating inclusive and equitable platforms, P4D has made significant progress towards building bridges between community members, institutions, and government bodies.


A P4D closing event will be held in June to commemorate the six years of project implementation and highlight our accomplishments. As part of the project closeout, P4D is proud to announce the release of two final products that showcase the project's accomplishments and impact.


The first is a documentary-style video that takes viewers through the journey of P4D, starting from the project's inception to the culminating moment of three National Dialogue events. The video features interviews with P4D staff, the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh, the British Council, and project beneficiaries. The video not only highlights the success of the project but also captures how each stage of the project served as a building block for the next phase of dialogue and trust building.

The second publication, titled "The Impact of Dialogue," is a comprehensive visual report that highlights key stories from the project. The book demonstrates how P4D has achieved its goal of creating platforms for dialogue and showcases the project's impact and outcomes. The publication features stories of individuals and communities whose lives were transformed by the power of dialogue while taking the reader through each phase of the project.


P4D-led initiatives have enabled many communities across the country to engage in meaningful and productive dialogue and build capacity for both civil society and government officials to effectively work with one another. The project's success is a testament to the power of dialogue and the importance of creating inclusive and equitable platforms for all.


We invite everyone to watch the video and read the publication on our website in mid-June. Together, let us celebrate the impact of dialogue and continue to build bridges towards a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.


Final PSM Meeting


Prior to closing the project, a final Project Steering Committee (PSC) was held at the Cabinet Division on 18 June 2023. Representatives from the Cabinet Division, the European Union, the British Council, and the Platforms for Dialogue project met to review the project overview and progress. The Cabinet Secretary, Mr Mahbub Hossain, chaired the event, and other attending Joint and Additional Secretaries from the Cabinet Division joined as members of the PSC. In collaboration with Project Director and Deputy Director, Ms Ayesha Akther and Moklesur Rahman, the project prepared a working paper outlining the progress of both physical and financial activity, as well as a visual presentation on the project progress, impact, and outcomes to accompany the discussion.


The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive with many remarking that the project has achieved great success in informing citizens and policy-makers alike about the importance of social accountability policies. Additional Secretary of Finance stated that even CSOs are taking up social accountability tools as part of their programming. On the topic of partner institutions, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information stated that through the NIMC, many journalists have received training on the tools, and they are enthusiastic and motivated to communicate the project’s successes and lessons to the people.


The Cabinet Secretary had perhaps the most praise of the project’s impact and outcomes stating that P4D was a fantastic project. He lauded how the project targeted the result or output rather than focusing on financial targets, and that the impact was “tremendous”. He continued by proclaiming that P4D is one of the best projects he has seen in his career in terms of achieving results, setting targets, and achieving expenditure outputs. He continued by saying that he had already informed his team to engage with development partners for the next project, and should it not be possible to work together, then they will implement it with their own funds. He concluded his comments by insisting that this kind of project needs to reach the people at the local level and cover as many districts and upazilas as possible.

This impressive level of support is propelling P4D stakeholders to push forward on designing and strategising a new project. Hopefully, after careful consultation and planning, an adapted and new project on good governance will begin in the new year.


Platforms for Dialogue Closing Ceremony: Celebrating Dialogue



On June 19, Platforms for Dialogue (P4D) held our final project event. Stakeholders from the European Union, Cabinet Division, civil society, and the British Council joined together at the InterContinental's Ruposhi Bangla Grand Ballroom to celebrate six years of building capacity for a stronger civil society, improving good governance, and fostering dialogue between civil society and government through Platforms for Dialogue's activities.


Mr Md. Mahbub Hossain, Cabinet Secretary, sent his regrets as he was unable to join the event as the Chief Guest, however, Mr Md. Mahmudul Hossain Khan, Secretary of Coordination and Reforms, Cabinet Division, joined as the event Chairperson. Mr Maurizio Cian, Head of European Union Delegation in Bangladesh, and David Knox, Director of Programmes for the British Council Bangladesh joined as Special Guests, and Joint Secretary and P4D Project Director, Ms Ayesha Akther moderated the event. Rectors from BPATC and BCSAA also joined the head table.


Ms Sanjida Sobhan, ndc, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Division gave the Welcome Speech, which was followed by a presentation on the P4D project by Ms Akther. The presentation not only included a summary of the project’s objectives, progress, and impact, but Ms Akther also reviewed the project’s learnings and challenges, including the inclusion and special consideration for women, marginalised groups, and minorities, the need for advanced and continuous planning, and the different impact between online and in-person activities. Team Lead, Arsen Stepanyan then introduced the project's documentary-style video, A Story of Dialogues, which was screened to the audience. Gathering perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, four representatives from national institutions including the National Institute of Local Government, National Institute of Mass Communication, and Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies as well as the European Union presented their brief impressions and takeaways on the project's success and achievements. This was followed by speeches from Special Guests and the Secretary of Coordination and Reforms.


Following the Vote of Thanks, guests were invited to dine in the ballroom, network, and reflect on the project's outcomes and impact. All participants received a tote bag with recent project publications including The Impact of Dialogue and newly updated impact fact sheets for further reflection.

 

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.

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