PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH AND OWNERSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION AND CHANGE (PROTIC)
With an aim to addressing women’s economic empowerment in agriculture for resilience, the program titled Participatory Research and Ownership with Technology, Information and Change (PROTIC) has been initiated in 2015. The project partially fulfils the knowledge management requirement of ‘Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Change Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REECALL) Program’- which considers economic development, women’s transformative leadership, rights and governance, Climate Change adaptation and disaster risk reduction as the pillars for the development of poor, marginalized and vulnerable people.
Through the Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, PROTIC aims to enhance the economic situation of the poor and marginalized groups relating to climate vulnerability by providing relevant, comprehensive and accurate information, which is trustworthy and time being. Within the overall project period, this project aims to increase women’s participation, helps to strengthen their leadership role, and to enhance their economic situation by developing customized information systems for agriculture including crop farming, homestead gardening, fisheries, livestock, horticulture and poultry.
THE PROJECT LOCATIONS
- Borokupot village under Atuliya union at Shyamnagar upazilla in Satkhira-Coast
- Dakshin Kharibari village under Tepa Kharibari union at Dimla upazilla in Nilphamari-Charland
- Bhawanipur village under Dakshin Sreepur Union at Tahirpur Upazilla in Sunamganj-Haor
There are three ‘controlled’ villages near by the three ‘treatment’ villages to compare the progress and effectiveness of the intervention. Henchi, Uttar Kharibari, and Domal are the respective control villages. The definition of controlled village in this action research is: Where all sorts of support from the government as well as different initiatives from multiple stakeholders including the regular REE-CALL activities are on-going. However, in ‘treatment’ villages: PROTIC directly intervenes there, along with the existing other on-going initiatives from different stakeholders.
PARTNERS IN PROTIC
- Pollisree in northern Charland
- Shushilan in coastal Satkhira, and
- Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS) in Haor
The project has been piloted in charland and coast for one and half year. Based on the success while piloting, a new working area in haor was included, later.
In this project 300 women animators from the three ecosystems (100 from each area) have been equipped with smart mobile phone along with Internet facility. Through these mobile phones they are getting SMS, Outbound Dial (OBD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Apps and Call Centre services on agriculture, agro meteorology, weather forecast and early warning system. Community is also oriented to the use of Facebook, YouTube, Camera, Internet, Games, different modes of mobile apps (both in online and offline) and other forms of social media like: Viber, Imo, WhatsApp etc. through continuous capacity building initiatives, consultation meeting, organizing workshop and seminar. The project is funded by Monash University, Australia and as the academic partner the overall research initiatives is being carried on by nine public universities in Bangladesh. These Universities are: University of Dhaka, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Khulna University, Hajee Danesh Science and Technology University, Begum Rokeya University- Rangpur and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, United International University, Jahangirnagar University. WIN MIAKI Ltd, as a private sector oversees developing digital contents and data management system, Bangladesh Institute of ICT for Development (BIID) and Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB) are responsible to work on learning dissemination and capacity building of PAR approach through knowledge management hub.
The project is closely working with the local government including the Union Digital Centre (UDC) as well as the sub-district and district administration. PROTIC has been appreciated by the national government in a parliamentary discussion for its contribution towards Digital Bangladesh in line with SDG and Vision 2021. Creation of current, accurate, comprehensive, reliable and trustworthy interactive and localized information system for the community, particularly for women in agriculture- by providing access to information that would help to improve their life and livelihood.
- To develop and implement an interactive mobile phone information system and responsive community ‘hub’ in Bangladesh for isolated communities in Sand Islands (Charland), Coast and Haor communities as a model for further uptake.
- To engage multi stakeholder approach like: village communities particularly women in agriculture, local NGOs, universities in Bangladesh, local government bodies, private sector, think-tank, Oxfam and Monash University in Participatory Action Research (PAR).
- To get the community voices through the interactive knowledge management system especially functioned by mobile phone and internet scheme thus resulting in for meaningful changes for people in poverty; to affect changes in communications and information system design and implementation; to affect changes in how other stakeholders work with an advocate on the part of these communities.
- To develop significant practical and theoretical insights about information and communications and PAR to share with the development and academic communities in Bangladesh and elsewhere.
- To evaluate and demonstrate positive effects on community capacity; to document the change process; and to share the findings from researches, studies and fields to the wider audience to make people more oriented on Action Research.
- Community voice is heard to the relevant stakeholders in a localized PAR and the women farmers are resilient through information and knowledge on agriculture and technology to support meaningful changes in the life of marginalized women animators.
- An interactive knowledge management system using mobile phones is functional in the community level and responsive hub (Community Information and Advice Service) is capable enough in providing reliable and expert information on agriculture.
- An available structured information technology followed by Participatory Action Research which leads to the empowerment of women animators towards positive changes in their family, community and social lives in the remote and climate vulnerable areas of Bangladesh.
- Extension of significant practical and theoretical insights to share with the development actors and academic communities for further interventions.
Women Farmer were Empowered Through -
- Accessing lots of different information regarding agriculture, early warning system, weather forecasting, market as well as various government schemes.
- Participating in various capacity building initiatives on modern technology, rights to information, agricultural knowledge and information, social media platforms and different user-friendly software and apps.
- Developing a strong linkage and network with the local government, Union Digital Centre (UDC), different Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), private sectors and market.
- Disseminating the information through learning sharing, exposure visits, group meeting, and men engagement activities along with different form of researches, studies, articles and findings.
- Exercising local knowledge and skills through Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach and scale up the women animators’ confidence, decision making ability as well as communication skills through the effective participation in Community Action Plan (CAP).