Trinamul Unnayan Sangstha(TUS) in partnership with The United Nations Democracy Fund(UNDEF), will be in the next two years (01 May, 2012 to 30 April, 2014) implement a project titled “Strengthening ethnic communities’ access to information in Bangladesh”
This project aims to enhance access to information among indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts on public services offered by local government institutions and departments, and NGOs, thus contributing to their active participation in the democratic governance process and to their access to public services for their livelihood and survival. This will be achieved via increasing awareness on the right to information, generating a demand for information, strengthening community-based institutions as a source of information, sensitizing the local government and NGOs about their roles and responsibilities for delivery of information, and strengthening and organizing local print media to cover and advocate for RTI issues.
Indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have little access to information on public services provided by local government institutions and departments, and by NGOs. This negatively affects their livelihood and survival, and impedes their participation in democratic governance. The underlying problems are an inadequate awareness among indigenous communities of the Right to Information and the importance of information on local government and public services for their livelihood and survival; the absence of a locally available source of basic information on public services; a lack of awareness and interest on the part of local government institutions and departments, and NGOs, in delivering information on their duties, services and facilities to the community; and a local print media that is not skilled and active in covering and advocating for RTI issues.
In this context, the project aims to enhance access to information among indigenous people of CHT on public services provided by local government institutions (Union Parishads, Upazila Parishads and District Councils), government departments (especially agriculture and livestock, health, education and food) and NGOs, thus contributing to their active participation in the democratic governance process and to their access to public services for their livelihood and survival. The project will a) increase awareness on RTI and the importance of information on public services among indigenous people of 540 paras (villages) in order to generate a demand for information, via monthly education sessions, cultural events, films shows, and IEC materials; b) increase availability of basic information on public services, democratic processes and governance, and citizens’ rights at community level by strengthening community-based institutions (Para Development Committees) to function as the grass-roots source of information at community level; c) increase access to, and availability of, information from local government and NGOs, from union to district level, on public services and facilities, by sensitizing them about their roles and responsibilities in the delivery of information to communities, via workshops and active dialogues; and d) strengthen, stimulate and organize local print media to cover RTI issues, to deliver information on public services and facilities, and to advocate for the implementation of RTI.
The project will be implemented led by Trinamul Unnayan Sangstha(TUS), in partnership with Eco-Development and ASHIKA, in Khagrachari, Bandarban and Rangamati districts of CHT with financial support from UNDEF.