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Annex G Typology of CSO Engagement in Policy Dialogue: Comparison of the Four Thematic Areas

Type Primary Education CHT Land Rights Local Government Food Security
Direct and formal
1. Advocacy and campaigning Very strong, visible, coordinated activities through various campaigns around issues such as quality education, inclusive education, mother language education, preprimary education. These campaigns are often sustained, although in some cases they are one-off events. CAMPE and other networks and sometimes individual organisations take the lead. The campaigns seek to involve politicians and senior government officials. Strategic use is made of the media.

There is scope to make the campaign more strategic, focused and sustained. There seems to be a plethora of events which take time, efforts and resources to organise – however is would be good to assess the value and effectiveness of the workshops and consultations compared to other methods of policy dialogue.
Advocacy and campaigning on CHT Land Rights is quite visible and strong by the two leading CSOs. They have direct and formal spaces. Advocacy by students and youth are supportive and they use indirect spaces. Main problem seems to be their limited connection/ alliance with non-Adivasis community beyond Human rights organisations Still in infancy. LGAs have been focusing their attention first on building democratic and well supported organisations but are poised for mounting advocacy campaigns – using window of 2012 before attention will be diverted to preparations for elections.

The LGAs had some early success reversing the Parliament decision to increase the role of MPs.

The campaigns need to be more strategic and evidence based. Messages need to appeal toa wider population e.g. Local decisions and local budgets serve people best
Most NGOs working in the food sector are concerned with service provision rather than advocacy. ALRD (association of NGOs on land issues) is well known and campaigns on land access for the poor and marginalized.

A handful of NGOs undertake some advocacy and research on some aspects of food security in a limited way in small spaces of their own (e.g. UBINIG, Nijera Kori, Voice) This is largely uncoordinated with limited impact. These small NGOs despite their passionate protests have very little clout and get little media attention or popular support.

Protests around food prices and adulteration of food are vocal and common
2. Invited space for policy reform and Five year Plans Committee for formulation of National Education Policy included (and was headed by) civil society personalities and organisations such as a college teachers association and several university professors. This committee, with Government approval, then invited other CSOs for consultations.

CSOs were not invited to participatein the last Sixth Five Year Planprocess.

CSOs were involved formally in the formulation process of the primary education sector programme.
CHT CSOs (especially PCJSS and HA) are invited to GoB space regarding the implementation of the Peace Accord, which include land issues. But there is a growing feeling of frustration that little is achieved. This tends to be limited to known academics at central level. LGAs have to create space (lobby for space) rather than enjoy invited space.

No APPG or functioning Parliamentary Standing Committee for LG.
No or limited spaces. Government invites ALRD from time to time to review government policy documents on food and food security.
3. Providing evidence through studies and research Regular annual Education Watch reports of high research standards provide a means of focusing on various issues and are used by both Government, donors and NGOs.

Various other CSOs produce documents on project experiences and consultation carried out at local level.

But still regarded as insufficient.
There are annual reports published describing the status of the Peace Accord and land rights issues.

Insufficient evidence building and research. Existing research may be overly legalistic and needs simplifying.

Systematic documentation of abuse and harassment would assist in building the case for land rights abuses.
Very limited. Policy preparation usually closed door as limited central political will for decentralisation. The few studies that have been undertaken are usually donor commissioned and not widely shared. Exceptions are the detailed reports from UNDP’s long running pilot in Sirajganj which tested out the use of Block grants and increased citizen participation and many Rural Development Programmes pilots under LGED (but sharing of these is extremely limited). The Horizontal Learning Programme is promoting LGER-led action research and exchange of best practices. Although NGOs are involved (and in the RDPs mentioned above) this is a contracted arrangement and not NGO-led. Despite efforts to create a HLP movement many NGOs active in LG are not aware of their work. TIB produces high quality studies and LG has become one of its key areas of focus recently. Very limited research. Isolated and only marginally shared in the public domain.
4. Monitoring & holding to account CAMPE and a few individual NGOs are members of national-level steering committees which are supposed to follow-up policy and programme implementation. Reports on progress and annual plans are submitted there. This formally could be used for holding to account but in reality the NGO formal role in the committees is limited.

At the district level and below some NGOs and the committees/ bodies they support interact with the SMCs, PTAs and are part of the Education Watch Groups which hold the local education administration to account.

Local media is also used to publicise good and bad stories of local schools and school administration – e.g. cases of sexual harassment of students and measures taken by school authorities to deal with it.
There are major changes in the landlaws required. The Peace Accord is not being fully implemented and would benefit from international pressure to press home shortcomings.

The head of PCJSS addresses media occasionally to place his position on various issues and remind the government for their role on the CHT and Land issues but there is rare response.

At the regional and local levels seminars and conferences are organised by local CSOs to which local government officials are invited to face citizens.
Two public Interest litigations suits are pending brought by concerned individuals.

No LG Commission is regarded by most participating in the studyas a problem. Even though recent Commissions set up for other purposes have yet to function properly, most feel that at least this wouldbe a step in the right direction.

DFID funded BBC-Sanglap will recommence in late 2012 and intends to create a vibrant platform for a live audience and potential 40 million TV audience to hold politicians to account. It will facilitate a state of the art blog and interactive website.

At local level, there are mushrooming numbers of citizen forums using a variety of means to hold duty bearers to account. TIB uses citizen scorecards. VERC and others are using social audit instruments. A vast number of NGOs are facilitating platforms of LG-public engagement such as Ward Shava meetings, open budget meetings, Union Coordination Committees and activating moribund LG standing committees. Public hearings and Face-to-Face meetings are also widely used. Media is integrally involved in these activities and some public meetings are aired on cable TV.
No involvement of CSOs and NGOs.
Direct and informal
1. Behind the scenes lobbying This is a very important means of influencing and has been used in Primary Education. It is based on the relationships that CSO leaders build up with government officials and policy makers, either by working together, travelling to and attending conferences together, or because of earlier social networks.

Personal networks in the urban educated middle-class are strong as this class is relatively small and has strong ties.

This means of influencing, by nature, lacks transparency and accountability is hard to ensure – the person doing the influencing has to personally ensure that it is not a personal interest issue that is being advocated for but a collective interest.

Attribution of influence is also difficult – the strength of the approach is that the policy maker is able to own the position or issue without having to acknowledge that there was any influence on her/him. The Organisations and individuals engaged in the insider lobbying will not be able to publicly claim the outcomes.
Jumma Net lobbied Japanese parliamentarians to sign a declaration in support of full implementation of the Peace Accord which was presented to the Bangladesh Prime Minister by the Japanese Ambassador. No access. Only one MP (ex Chair of MAB) is openly sympathetic to decentralisation agenda. We were told that LGD resists links with NGOs. Status and personal network strongly linked to access and most activists held at arm’s length. None as far as we could ascertain.
2. Networking and coalition building CAMPE is a very good example ofa network that represents a sector and NGOs within the sector. It has been able to reach out to small local NGOs providing education services as well as to teachers associations. Its Council represents the established (larger and experiences NGOs working in education) and they have been able to provide leadership to the other smaller NGOs. INGOs also have the scope to be represented by CAMPE and are happy to have the coalition speak on behalf of all members, especially for formal meetings and consultations. One of the major reasons for success of the CSO working in the primary education sector is the strength of the coalition. PCP, HWF and BAP networks and coalitions of Adivasis themselves increasingly active. Their link with ALRD, human rights and legal rights organisations is very important. LGAs are beginning to build critical mass and the three main ones increasingly work together (potential force of 100,000 LGER).

NGO networks limited, fragmented and ineffective but providing useful support to LGAs.

For the few Round Table discussions and conventions undertaken, organising CSOs purposely invite GoB, research and media participation but the value of these events is questionable.
ALRD network is in place on behalf of the NGOs but its main focus is land access which is only a limited part of the wider range of food security issues
3. Demonstration and massaction Teachers associations have staged various demonstrations and hunger strikes in order to highlight their demands, get media attention and public sympathy.

There are also cases of spontaneous protest (demonstrations and gherao) by parents and students around cases of abuse of authority in terms of student admission, results and also sexual harassment.

The CSOs have not taken the strategy of mass demonstrations.
PCJSS, HA, PCP, HWF and BAP organise demonstrations, rallies and campaigns involving mass participation of Adivasis and citizens who are well wishers of Adivasis join together in such programs. Adivasi days are observed by them jointly. These are spontaneous support.

ALRD, the net work of NGOs on land issue also organise public demonstrations in support of CHT issues separately with NGO members.
LGAs staged street protests and hunger strike over attempts to increase MP role in LG in 2009-10 and intend to continue these sort of protests if their demands are not met through dialogue (which they initiate).

Local ’gherao’, human chain and street protests are common to protest injustice in local service provision. These get good media coverage and often redress. These have led to a growing confidence in people power. But there is a trend developing to take more violent actions including threatening LGER, ransacking offices and facilities.
Spontaneous rallies and street marches protesting food prices are common. Demonstrations around more controversial food security and sovereignty issues are rare and have little impact. World Food Day observed each year.
Indirect contribution to dialogue
1. Information, education and training CAMPE undertakes a range of training for both NGOs and government education staff. BU-IED is mandated for the capacity development of the education sector, especially government. Most of the CSOs active in PD in education carry out various workshops, meetings, day observations, publicity and media campaigns to increase awareness of the priority issues in education and disseminate information on the status and priorities of the education sector, to the general population, government, other policy actors, the media, etc. PCP, HWF and BAP organise discussions and training on various necessary issues of Adivasis within the CHT.

Adivasi-led NGOs in CHT region supported by UNDP, Shiree, MJF and other donor organise trainings on community empowerment and confidence building, including legal awareness and legal aid by BLAST, Madaripur Legal Aid Foundation.
NGOs have been facilitating local level citizen rights awareness, supporting voter education and some have been championing the connection between tax paying and voice. Tax melas, Democracy Fairs as well as rallies and courtyard meetings have been used. TIB supports Citizen Charters. Talk shows on TV and radio have contributed greatly to opening up debate about LG role. Print media is interested in the issue, particularly corruption and name and shame tactics have produced results locally.

Movements such as Shujan and Supro champion the issue of good governance at central level raising public opinion in support of decentralisation.
ALRD organise discussions on distribution of government Khas lands for the poor and the marginalised. They also organise trainings occasionally on land regulations and land laws which support the landless people. Ubinig has farmers associated with them who pledge not to use GM crops or pesticides and fertiliser but their numbers are small.
2. Building commitment and capacity of supply side of CS-GO engagement An important aspect of the engagement of national level CSOs (both INGO as well as National NGOs) as well as individuals of CSO background, is providing technical support for curriculum design, teacher training, class room management, preparation of various guidelines, etc. For example, CAMPE provided the support to the Bureau of Non-Formal Education to carry out a mapping of NGOs working in Non-Formal Education. CAMPE functioned as the Secretariat for the exercise. Two persons from CAMPE member organisations took the operational responsibility and various committees were formed to advice the process with Government, DP and CSO involvement.

Experts with CS backgrounds have on various occasions provided technical support to Government on a consultancy basis.
Very little work is done to change the mindset of those with vested interests in the CHT. Considerable NGO activity is directed towards capacity building of LGI and helping them see the benefits of civic engagement. NGOs also help the LGIs to facilitate CS engagement by finding ways to operationalise the official platforms (ward shava meetings, open budget meetings etc). Little information/ education on the main issues.
No policy dialogue engagement
  There are a very large numberof NGOs active in providing various kinds of primary education, either outside government or funded by Government (such as non-formal primary education under the Bureau of Non-Formal Education). They are not involved in policydialogue at all. CHT based local CSOs do not participate in policy dialogue fearing losing their registration with NGOAB which prohibits political activity. Decentralisation is a resisted issue which can result in risk to CSOs which may be regarded as overtly criticising the government. Effort has been focused at local level policy dialogue where there is more support, opportunity and less risk. CSOs and NGOs largely are not engaged in policy dialogue in food security. This is quite difficult to comprehend. The study participants hint at a variety of reasons such as the clout of major interest groups e.g. Food Aid, multi-national companies (agricultural inputs and those with non food agricultural interests (e.g. tobacco companies) and Government itself. It is also regarded as a rural issue.



This page forms part of the publication 'Support to Civil Society Engagement in Policy Dialogue' as chapter 19 of 20
Version 1.0. 03-01-2013
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/11191/index.htm

 

 
 
 
 
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