Programs & Projects

Amader Gram Database program

Goal and Objectives:

The goal of the project is to develop participatory monitoring and learning system at the village level by using Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools and to facilitate joint tracking progress by the communities and other grassroots level stakeholders.

There are three main project operational objectives that are mentioned below:

Objective 1 : setting up a village communication, information and learning center and developing a comprehensive database to preserve, update and ensure long term use of village resources by the community people themselves.

Objective 2: developing guidelines and simple village level monitoring indicators by analyzing data and information to be used by the villagers so that those can really benefit the villagers in implementation of their development efforts and thus improve their socio-economic status.

Objective 3: create resource manpower through skill development training, particularly for the unemployed youth groups and adolescents girls, in ICT uses, data collection, compilation, analysis and information sharing among various stakeholders aiming towards sustainability of such effort.

How it comes into being?

The concept of the center was evolved as a new model for information retrieval and storage; knowledge acquisition and management at the grass root level and use those in the community development efforts. The data collected through Baseline Survey, on the beneficiaries' life was preserved as database in computer software. But the idea of setting up an Information center at rural level has been conceived when those data need to be updated, improved and need utilization. This has persuaded to set up knowledge and Information center in April 2001 in Bagerhat, (in South-west part of the country) as pilot basis. This Rural Information Center was designed to develop participatory monitoring and learning system at the village level. Accordingly, 10 Group leaders (women) have been trained to act as ISP/Focal points. Those trained persons are women group members and held responsible for data preservation, analysis and dissemination.

Set Up

The project has set up of village information, monitoring and learning center with equipment like computer, TV, VCP etc. One center for overall coordination and monitoring and 4 other sub-centers have been established by taking 5 villages in each group/cluster. The coordination center is based at Khulna City and the 4 sub-centers in selected spots; those are centrally placed within the villages.

The centers are primarily used as data reservoir containing

• All household data of the beneficiaries,
• Basic information of their socio-economic status,
• The conditions of the society
• Basic data on geography, culture, heritage, local resources and local governance issues

Not only be preserved, but also those data are updated, analyzed, discussed, shared and used by the trained group members. Group members share the data in their daily, weekly and monthly meetings, which give them scope of reflection on their improvement of livelihood status. Those data are accessible to the community people. It is helping the entrepreneurs (at micro-level) by providing market information and promoting their products in the markets outside of their locality. Not only serving as a resource database, the project is creating opportunity for a large number of unemployed youth groups in computer application, training and services. This is released their time for productive purposes.

In Bangladesh , providing education by using ICT is very new and rare. Most of the education institutes of urban area and universities are able to run ICT education in maintaining minimum standard. But in rural area it is unimaginable that the poor people will use ICT tools to learn or use communication techniques to improve their daily livelihoods. This project is addressing this issue to improve quality of lives in rural area of Bangladesh through this pilot intervention.

Computer and Internet are introduced to the people for information access. Preference has been given to the School Teachers and Youth groups to learn through this initiative. This has released their time for productive purposes. Interested and potential youths are chosen from the community /institutions of the area.

The AGLC of BFES is already a model now practiced and used as community data reservoir. This has been already proved a community Knowledge Center by its impact by the community people. At one level, this is a data/information reservoir for the community use; on the other hand an opportunity for mitigating digital divides at the grassroots.

Such a center has got immense potential to be used in upgrading community education. It will be handed over to the selected teachers and learners who will facilitate the community people to greater use of information, knowledge and educational inputs. BFES has planned to replicate this center in other areas of the country, after its pilot phase. Such an effort may provide some effective input to the coordinated poverty alleviation efforts of Govt and NGOs in the country.

AGLC has been showcasing in DFID reference (in Knowledge Bank) as a successful ICT initiatives at the grassroots level. This was presented as a successful case of Grassroots ICT model in the Multistakeholder Gathering workshop Bridging the Digital Divide, held in the last October 2002 in Kualampur, Malayasia which was organized by GKP, WEF and NITC ( Malaysia ). Educom Asia (a journal of Center for Commonwealth Education for Learning) has published the case of AGLC in their December issue.

The establishment and success of AGLC has been inspiring BFES to be more concerned and involved to work for Knowledge Management and Bridging the Digital Divide at the national and global level.