Active Citizens and Accountable Local Government
The project aimed to create conditions for more active civic engagement among poor rural citizens. It also aimed to strengthen the capacities of local government to be more accountable and effective in rural provinces in Bangladesh. Project activities were undertaken pre- and post-elections. In line with Bangladesh’s National Rural Development Policy and the constitutional mandate, the project made a deliberate effort to reach out to socially disadvantaged communities. The project’s baseline survey confirmed that the target area’s rural population was hardly involved in local decision-making processes and that little was known about the roles and responsibilities of their locally elected representatives, the Union Parishad (UP) members.
Capacity building and communication activities prompted UPs to activate public consultation mechanisms such as standing committees and topical community meetings. Poor citizens were brought into direct contact with their UP members. The project greatly facilitated access to and use of local resources and services corresponding to the needs of the rural poor and the marginalized.