Training Workshop on Rural Knowledge Center: How to Get Started and Keep Going in Bangladesh
For fostering the rural prosperity, all over the developing world a new concept of Rural Knowledge Centers (RKC) has been emerged through which villagers can proceed towards poverty alleviation by increasing their household income. Right at this moment, in Bangladesh not more than 10 such kinds of centers are operating and it of course falls far behind the requirement.
For fostering the rural prosperity, all over the developing world a new concept of Rural Knowledge Centers (RKC) has been emerged through which villagers can proceed towards poverty alleviation by increasing their household income. Right at this moment, in Bangladesh not more than 10 such kinds of centers are operating and it of course falls far behind the requirement. Under a policy,Bangladesh Government has taken a decision to establish a center resembling this RKC in every upazila. To aid the implementation of this government initiative and bridging the acute digital divide exists between rural and urban areas, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication recently conducted a three days training workshop focusing on establishment and management policies of Rural Knowledge Center under the title of Rural Knowledge Center : How to Get Started and Keep Going.
The workshop was conducted from 22nd Feb to 24th Feb, 2006 at YPSA Human Resource Development Center (HRDC), Sitakund, Chittagong. Mr. AHM Bazlur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer, BNNRC and Mr. Golam Nabi Jewel, Consultant- BNNRC & e-activist played the roles of Training Coordinator and Focal Trainer respectively. Besides, Mr. Debobroto, Head, ICT4D Unit– YPSA also conducted some sessions in the training. The inauguration ceremony was graced by local elected body Al-hazz Abul Kalam Azad, Municipal Chairman, Sitakund upazila. Mr. Jalal Uddin Ahmed, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO), head of local civil servants attended the unadorned concluding session.
A total of 19 participants from 10 development organizations of which nine are working in the coastal belt of Bangladesh attended the training. Participating NGOs were: YPSA, CODEC, ISDE, BRIDGE, SPEED Trust, COAST Trust, Dwip Unnayan Sangstha, SANGKALPA Trust, PGUS.
At the training workshop, Ms. Shipra Sharma, Research Officer, One World South Asia and Mr. Bibhusan Bista, Technical Officer, Bellanet South Asia (Nepal Office) were present as participant observer.
In a participatory way at the training workshop, the participating organizations tried to determine the information needs of their respective areas in a prescribed framework provided by the organizers. Besides they tried to distinguish probable activities administrable through RKC within their working periphery. Last but not least, finally an action plan under which the participating organizations will start the process of RKC establishment was developed.
Being a Network mandated to work for narrowing the digital divide BNNRC took this initiative for addressing her obligation to strengthen the ICT movement in Bangladesh. This is the first course of this type introduced in Bangladesh. This course was designed and organized aiming to aid achieving the five following targets : i) ICT matrix depicted in PRSP (within 2015 Bangladesh Government is determined to build tele-centers in every village) ii) WSIS action plan iii) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) iv) Action plan prepared by Bangladesh Caucus in OWSA ARM-2006 (one Rural Knowledge Center in every union by 2015) and v) National ICT Policy, 2002.
Through out the world, ICT has emerged as one of the complementary powers in long-last fighting against poverty. Even in Bangladesh, different organizations are trying to utilize ICT for creating a poverty free enabling environment. BNNRC believes that this workshop will apace the above mentioned process. one of the outputs of this training workshop will be a well structured, comprehensive and user friendly guide along with a national curriculum which will help in establishing, managing and organizing further Rural Knowledge Center all over Bangladesh.
Comparing to other parts of Bangladesh, situation is relatively worse in disaster prone and more vulnerable coastal region when we talk about initiatives facilitating access to information. In Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP), a recently developed government program, ICT has been considered as an inevitable favorable variable. In this context, currently the biggest challenge the country is facing is in shaping and determining the usage of ICT in these areas. It needs to develop a replicable course of actions that can assure success of this endeavor. So, almost all the participants selected for the first batch of this training workshop, came from organizations working in the coastal belt of Bangladesh.
This training workshop successfully instigated interest among the members from government offices, donor community, civil society and ICT practitioners. The next training workshop on establishment and management policies of Rural Knowledge Centers will be arranged in the next June, 2006. For ensuring optimum use of recently launched fiber optic cable and positive advancement of the livelihood of rural populace, BNNRC expressed her optimism of conducting such training in every three months and thus aids the spreading of RKC through out the country.
BNNRC feels RKC can play a significant role in empowering the target beneficiaries of all development initiatives. Standing on today’s ground, she no longer believes that ICT is a privilege only to the financially able or solvent populace, but wants to declare that it is one of the very basic rights for every human being irrespective to wealth, age, race, nationality or religion.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is a national networking body working for building a democratic society based on the principles of free flow of information, equitable & affordable access to Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for remote & marginalized population of rural Bangladesh. Establishing in 2000 as per Article 19 charter of UN bill of rights, BNNRC currently works with a project Promoting Appropriate Technologies and policies to uphold the value : ICT as Basic Human Right, with genial support by Cordaid, Netherlands.
BNNRC now strives for following core interventions to achieve PRSP and WSIS action plan and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper(PRSP) and WSIS Action Plan in Bangladesh;
Awareness on correlations of ICT, poverty alleviation and Institutionalization of Democracy (Right to Information);
Establishment of ICT Resource Center and Promotion of Radio Listeners Club as primary ICT catalyst in remote rural areas;
Advocacy and Campaign for Bridging the Digital Divide/Information Divide and open up air waves for Community Radio – voices for the voice-less;
Piloting ICT4D projects at rural areas to create show case examples for greater multiplication
Establishment of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction.
AHM Bazlur Rahman-S21BR
Chief Executive Officer
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication
House: 13/1, Road:2, Shaymoli, Dhaka-1207
Post Box: 5095, Dhaka 1205 Bangladesh
Phone: 88-02-9130750, 88-02-9138501
0171881647 Fax: 88-02-9138501-105