The Bangladesh’s National Stakeholders Consultation Workshop, held on 18 and 19 June 2008 at the Spectra Convention Center in Dhaka, was organized by Ministry of Science and ICT (MoSICT) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank and UNESCAP under the project titled ‘Empowering Rural Areas through Community e-Centres (CeCs)’. The two day long workshop was aimed at raising awareness among key stakeholders on the project, discuss the findings of the country baseline study, share best practices and lessons learned and recommend a Community e Center model for Bangladesh.
In his address in opening session, Mr. Manik Lal Samader, Special Assistant to Chief Adviser, Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock and Ministry of Science and ICT, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh noted that ‘Bangladesh has experienced a rapid growth in telecommunication sector over the last few years bringing all districts into telecommunication network. However, all the development made in this sector will be meaningful only when the benefits of ICT are taken to the common citizens especially rural population’.
Referring to the Country Baseline Study, Mr. S. M. Wahid-uz-Zaman, Secretary of the MoSICT told the participant of the workshop that there are more than 1000 CeCs or telecenters in Bangladesh which are providing a range of technology and information services for rural population. The services include access to information on agriculture, health, fisheries, employment opportunities and so on. The centers also provide technology services such as access to computer and internet, emailing, telemedicine, digital photo services which were previously unavailable in many rural areas. He mentioned that several model CeC will be set up in rural areas under the project ‘Empowering Rural Areas through Community e Center’ to bring the rural population closer to many government services and eventually empower the rural communities.
The workshop was chaired and moderated by Mr. Ahmed Hossain Khan, Joint Secretary, MoSICT and head of the Project Implementation Unit for the project. Representatives from various ministries, Bangladesh Computer Council, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Board, CeC implementing agencies, members of Bangladesh Telecenter Network, mobile phone operators, representatives of international development partners such as UNDP and UNESCAP, grass roots CeC operators were also among the participants.
- List of Participants
Part I: Review of telecentre initiatives at the national level
Objectives of the workshop and brief introduction of the project "Empowering Rural Areas through Community e-Centres", Mr. John Timothy Denny, Associate Economics Affairs Officer, ICT Applications Section, ICSTD, UNESCAP
ICT Policy and Regulatory Framework in Bangladesh, Mr.Mohammad Enamul Kabir, Secretary, Bangladesh Computer Council
Community based e-Centres in Bangladesh, Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, Access to Information (A21) Programme, MDGs and e-Development Cluster, UNDP
Mission 2011: A Multi-Stakeholder Partnership to create a knowledge based Society in Bangladesh, Mr. Mahmud Hasan, Chief Operating Officer, Bangladesh Telecentre Network
Prospect of Free and Open Source Software for Rural e-Development, Mr. Munir Hasan, General Secretary, Bangladesh Open Source Network
Community Information Centre (CIC): A Viable Business for CeC, Grameen Phone Limited
Telecentre in Rural Development in Bangladesh: Experience from GHAT, Mr. Mahmud Tokon, Executive Director, Digital Equality Network
Pallitathya Kendro (Rural Information Center), Mr. Mohammod Mosharrof Hossain, Senior Program Officer, D. Net
Part II: Towards a sustainable CeC Model for Bangladesh
National Baseline Study: major findings and recommendations, Mr. Nazrul Islam, National Consultant, Empowering Rural Areas through Community e-Centres, ADB
Recommendations for JFICT pilot CeCs
- The Daily Sangbad
- The Daily Star, 27 June 2008