|Name of the Project||Developing an Enabling Environment for Application of RTI Act 2009 through Infolady Model [DEAR Infolady]|
|Working area||Dnet is implementing the current project at seven (7) upazila, these are respectively- Gaibandha Sadar and Shaghata in Gaibandha, Shariakandhi in Bogra, Kulaura in Moulvibazar, Purbadhola in Netrokona, Anawara in Chittagong and Monirampur, Jessore|
|Duration||Forty one (41) months, From August 2013 to December 2016|
|Sub-partners||Activity based partnership are in place with seven institutions at Upazila level to run the project activities.|
|DFID funds through MJF||34,938,720 BDT|
What is DEAR INFOLADY about?
The project titled ‘Developing an Enabling Environment for Application of RTI Act 2009 through Infolady Model [DEAR Infolady]’ had been designed on the basis of contemporary challenges and lessons to implement RTI Act 2009 (RTIA) in Bangladesh. This project is funded by DFID through Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) ().
RTIA 2009 is an act that makes both the government and non-government organizations (run by foreign or public fund) accountable to establish good governance and reduce corruption. At this early stage of implementation of RTIA 2009, Bangladesh has drawn a number of achievements. Information Commission, development agencies, NGOs, – and media have contributed to the achievement and progress. In the last few years, most of the actions by the state and non-state actors were concentrated on citizens’ awareness to utilize RTIA 2009. However, majority of the citizens are still unaware. There remains lack of understanding on the utilization of RTIA and citizens cannot contextualize the need of its use in their lives The integration of ICTs for the utilization of RTIA is poor . These lessons are showing the pathway of future attention be given in the implementation the RTIA 2009.
There are some successful models which have already been established in implementing RTIA in Bangladesh. Dnet’s ‘Infolady’ model is one of those. It works in the rural areas as an interface between the knowledge-base and rural marginalized citizens for the improvement of livelihood and empowerment. Infolady model has already exhibited success cases within this period. This model has drawn an attention in Bangladesh with potentials to implement RTIA and create benefits for the marginalized citizens to receive government guaranteed entitlements.
Project Dimensions: Utilization of the Rights to Information Act 2009
This project has addressed the causes of marginalization and deprivation of citizens from entitlements through the benefit of RTIA 2009. This project has two dimensions in implementation, i) the entitlement dimension and ii) the RTIA dimension; both dimensions complement each other. Infoladies are the intermediaries who assist citizens throughout the process of building awareness and filing applications for entitlement and RTI. It has been expected that eligible citizens are getting entitlements when they have taken necessary actions on the basis of satisfied response, which basically fulfill the goal of this project, i.e. improvement of livelihood.
In view of the contemporary problem of RTIA 2009 utilization, this project has been concentrated to develop an enabling environment for the application of RTI Act 2009, towards improving the livelihood of the marginalized citizens. Attention should be given to address the issues of awareness, information seeking process, linkage of RTIA with livelihood, and assistance to apply rights by the citizens. Consideration of the use and integration of ICT is also important to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and easy tracking, as well as follow-up of the RTI applications.
Project Activities & Outcome
Dnet had integrated RTIA issues with the Infolady model to experiment its usability, significance and effectiveness during the implementation of third phase under the financial grants by DFID through Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF). The outcome of the project exhibits significant success; many positive cases on application of RTIA have been developed by the Infolady. Now on DEAR Infolady project Infoladies are continuously working to create the social impact in the rural community. There are a number of activities under the DEAR Infolady project, these are:
- The use of ICT for exhibition of digital livelihood content (particularly the audio-video content) is an effective tool for enlightening marginalized group of people. Audio-visual contents are in regular use during group sessions conduction.
- Campaigns, group sessions and RTIA fairs have abridged the gap between the supply and demand side when the marginalized citizens are seeking information using RTIA and submitting application for entitlements.
- A web based RTI tracking system of RTIA applications (with SMS alert system) have been developed for enhancing the efficiency of application processing, management and follow up the associated actors. SMS are integral part of the system for automatic alert and notification of the progress and position of RTI application from the step of application filing to the submission of complaints to Information Commission. This tracking system also provides a real time reporting about the project outcome targets.
- Mobile phone application on RTI and content will be used to mobilize the citizens. Dnet has developed a Mobile Phone Applications and Content on RTI. The Mobile phone Applications will primarily be used by the general citizens, activists and the supply side authorities (who are responsible to provide information as per the Act