Promoting Democratic Governance in Bangladesh through a Focus on Representation of the Needs of Poor and Marginalized People


Major Activities
























The Sub-grantee will implement the following activities from August 2011 to September 2014 in six constituencies in Jessore district of Khulna division.

1. Produce two report cards during the project period tracking priority development issues at the constituency level such as poverty, education, gender parity and social safety net programmes. These reports cards will also be revealed the expectation of the community towards MPs and address the local issues to bring into the parliament. MPs will assist in tracking the findings of the report card, and will advocate with the relevant standing committee members and other stakeholders to introduce legislation as needed or maintain oversight on implementation of existing laws or resolve the problems. In Year 1, one report card will be produced.

2. Two meetings on the results of report cards will be fed into policy briefs and will be specifically shared with Women Parliamentarians at national level. Women MPs will raise the issue for necessary parliamentary action to address the policy deficiencies and develop an oversight mechanism to track the progress of the issues highlighted in the report cards. This meeting will also be organized with Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership (BDAWL) who are advocating and supporting women in leadership positions. This will help to build a In Year 2 and 3 the meeting will be held at national level.

3. Organize three radio programs (Government/Private/Community) with selected MPs (from the respective constituencies) to discuss the local problems and find out the solution with community. In addition the relevant burning issues at local level like poverty, education and gender disparity problems and policy solutions will also be discussed. This activity will take place from Year 2.

4. Based on the findings of the report cards, six public hearing sessions will be organized during the project period to address various issues related to poverty, education and gender parity at the constituency level by engaging the targeted MPs, CSO and GOB officials to generate feedback on the implementation of different legislation and selected policies, as well as discuss its effectiveness and impediments. In year 1, two public hearing sessions will be arranged.

5. DPPFs will organize six dialogues during the project period with MPs and representatives from government institutions to discuss the application and implementation of national policy on safety net programs (VDG card, VGF card, elderly allowance, widow allowance), along with gaps requiring new policies, legislation or oversight activities . In Year 1, two dialogues will be held.

6. DPPFs will organize four sharing meetings during Year 2 and 3 of the project at the upazila level with guardians and other concerned authorities to reduce the dropout rate at the primary school level. In addition, women representatives will be involved in promoting gender equality at the constituency level and discuss with representatives of different standing committees of the Upazila Parishad. The report from this session will be fed into policy briefs and will be shared with MPs and relevant parliamentary standing committees to advocate for policy improvements (which may include new legislation or amendments to exiting policies or call for oversight by Parliament).

7. Effective and rigorous campaigning to promote national policy solutions will be conducted throughout the project period. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials (such as bulletins, posters and brochures) will be produced. In Year 1 and 2 2000 copies of the brochure will be printed and distributed. In year 2 and 3, 6000 copies poster and year 2 and 2000 copies of bulletin will be published.

8. Issue based three District level Democracy festivals to deepening people's awareness and sensitize on democracy and governance. In these festivals Democracywatch will disseminate and publicize information on the local progress and challenges about the poverty reduction, education, Gender and Governance. These festivals will create an opportunity to make people more aware and sensitize on citizen's demand to make government more responsive in bringing the local development issues into the parliament. A number of 3 festivals will be held up to 2014.

The festival will have an exhibition where NGOs - local and international, embassies of mature democratic countries like USA, UK etc and international and local development & research agencies will take part. The exhibition of festival works as an excellent tool, which has been proven in last nine festivals (i.e. democracy, local government and youth festivals) organized by Democracywatch, to propagate democratic culture, values and disseminate information on democracy, good governance among the common people, who otherwise will not have access to this free information provided by different participating agencies. This will establish a bridge between the people and the government.

The duration of the Democracy festivals will be minimum two days. The festival will also have 2/3 seminars on topics of democracy and parliament relevance. These festivals will also be related to democracy and good governance issues. There will be scope for common people to voice their views in these open seminars. Besides a press conference will be organized to make people more aware and sensitize on the progress at local level.

During from the experience of successful 'Mukto Mancha' (an open platform, where anybody can speak on selected topics) Democracywatch will also include this event in the festival to track the people's view on the different development issues. There will be debate, quiz competition and Mock parliament to make general people more aware and sensitize on the development issues.

The overall objectives of the Democracy Festival are

" Making grassroots people, especially the youth and women, aware of their democratic rights and privileges to pave the way of good governance in Bangladesh
" Dissemination of information on progress at local level
" Creating the ground for interaction among policy makers, local people and stakeholders of the project.

The Outputs of Democracy festival:

People participating in different programmes of Democracy Festivals will become more conscious citizens of the country, who will be more aware and sensitized on their local issues and democratic rights and exert pressure on the policy makers for positive changes to achieve good governance in the country

9. Organize a number of 8 Mock Parliaments at School level at 8 Upazillas. In the proposed area, students will be taking on the role of speaker, deputy speaker, chief whip, whip, ministers, role of MPs as they attempt to pass legislation about their school through their own mock parliament. MPs of the local constituency will be invited through the intervention of the local MPS will be aware of the needs of the youths.
Mock Parliament will help students not only to understand the roles of MPs, but will also help develop important skills in public speaking, debating and argumentation. This will also create awareness about the political system of the country among the youths and motivation to be involved in the political process. The Program will continue during Year 2 and 3.

10. Two National Conventions on DPPF will be held to determine the achievement and key lesson learning during the intervention of DPPF, the DPPF members will be more strategic and proactive to address the local issues to bring into the parliament. This convention will also find out the ways to work with MPs in an effective manner. This National Convention of DPPF will create a sensation among the policy makers to bring the local burning issues into the policy level in a participatory process. This activity will continue during the 2nd year and 3rd year.

11. Two National Meetings with concerned parliamentary standing committees will be held to determine the real scenario of educational status at Upazilla level. Based on a comprehensive report of the locality, the DPPF members will present their findings on the concerned educational institutions and prepare recommendations for members of the parliamentary standing committees to bring these issues into the parliament. This program will be done during the year 3.

12. 46 Orientation for DPPF for enhancing organizational and advocacy capacity in the field of Democratic Governance especially on different aspects of parliament. This activity will be done in the first year of the project. The DPPF activities at the constituency level will create demand and provide community members/constituents with information on the current development issues at the locality. Side by side CSO organization will encourage them to reach out to their respective constituents and monitor the progress of development.

A number of 23x2=46 (Functions of parliament, Accountability, Transparency, Role of MPs, Civil Society role to promote parliament more effective and pro-people etc ) orientations for DPPF will be held during this time.

Members will learn about accelerating the development progress and advocacy with policy makers to bring these issues into the parliament. Through this process DPPF will built a strong 'Citizen Monitoring Mechanism' to identify the different gaps and policies at the sub national level, coping with policymakers especially with MPs on development issues, progress tracking process and influence local MPs to bring these issues into the parliament. Side by side the Members will learn about the Governance issue such as accountability, transparency and functions of parliament in a professional manner. The DPPF will also sensitize other contemporary Networks at National level through dissemination of information and media campaign.

13. Formal meeting between MP's and DPPF to inform officially regarding the objectives and activity of DPPF. The members of DPPF will also seek their cooperation and collaboration to work in their constituencies regarding the development issues. The DPPF will engage local Parliamentarian in the discussions about the progress and challenges of Poverty, Education, Gender parity and Governance. A total number of 6 formal meetings will be organized. These meetings will be held during 2013 and 2014.

14. 3 Advocacy Training will be held for DPPF members to raise the demand for better services at the community level. A number of 3 potential members from each committee will be given preference to attend these training sessions. These training sessions will be held during 2013.

15. A number of 3 Street drama and folk songs will be organized at 6 constituencies focused on gender equality and empowerment of women. This program will be organized at 2013.

16. A number of 2 bulletins and 2 posters will be published to make general people more aware and pro-active on the role of civil society organizations to make parliament more effective.

17. Annual Partnership Meeting. A total number of 3 Annual Partnership meetings will be held during the project period.