GoUF: Digital Participatory Democracy
A digital solution for participation.
Bangladesh was liberated through democratic struggle transformed into armed conflict when majority’s will to power was denied by weapons of army. However, such democratic culture during the birth of a nation was hijacked later. Part of the reason is democracy never grew from the grassroots, from villages, where majority people live. Government officials as well as elected persons behaved as colonialists with the citizens/voters; rather than empowerment process of the majority citizens. Digital potential of bringing change to flourish democracy was never explored. Rural power structure dominated voting behavior.
GoUF (GonoGobeshona o Unnayan Foundation-Participatory Research & Development Foundation) is researching/experimenting a process where villagers/ community collect their own data on their own village, go for collective data analysis till participatory plan emerges and go for action where local government officials get involved. We found the approach as the most powerful mobilization tool when such knowledge is collectively generated.
GoUF is piloting in Cancra union in Jessore in the south west Bangladesh– ten villages – housed in union porishad equipped with computers /laptops for data entry & digital processing of data. Community led action research resulted in the involvement of government officials- elected and appointed- in delivering services to the right holding citizens in agriculture, health, forestry, fishery, education, legal aid etc. Result is: surrounding villages –once food deficit-are now export villages in vegetables and rice. We want to see farmers identifying problems and talking to scientists on solutions. We intend to continue piloting till we are in a position to replicate. Videos will be produced & will be uploaded preferably in u-tube.
Planned Use Of Funds
Funding would be used to provide for the following activities:
- Participatory based line survey
- Participatory Village History
- Computer data entry of survey and history
- Publication of series of village histories generating village vision
- Training of farmers, fishers, planters…by upazila/union level officials
- Participation of elected officials in the process
- Connections of farmers with scientists to solve their problems
- Training of Village Volunteers to facilitate the GG process
- Data presentation to the villagers eying participatory planning
- Advocacy with Planning Commission/ Political parties/MPs to replicate the process in other parts of Bangladesh
Stage of Development
- Early Stage
- Established Prototype
Organization to Receive Funds
(GonoGobeshona o Unnayan Foundation-Participatory Research & Development Foundation)