Improving Access to Services through Technology in Bangladesh

A_a2i-logo-final-1The Access to Information (a2i) Programme is located at the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office and is supported by UNDP and USAID. The Programme began in 2007, marking a “mindset change within Government to embrace ICTs [information and communications technology] as a powerful enabler for the nation’s socio-economic transformation.” It is dedicated to innovation in service delivery, with the objective of providing communities with access to simplified public administrator services. There are four components used to achieve its objective of increasing transparency, improving governance, and facilitating the attainment of  government services.

  1. “Strengthening existing e-services and launching a second generation of integrated, inter-operable e-government applications.
  2. Sensitizing government officials, training service providers and expanding digital literacy among the general public.
  3. Forging strong policy and strategy links to ensure implementation of needed legal and regulatory changes in support of the project.
  4. Promoting innovation in the delivery of e-services.”

Some of a2i’s projects include:

  • Policy Interventions, as one of a2i’s objectives is to assist the government in mainstreaming use of ICTs into national development policies.
  • Rethinking Temporary Migration. Since Bangladesh is the highest remittance recipient among the least developed countries (LDCs), the government needs to find innovative ways to provide safe and secure migration process for groups seeking employment abroad.
  • ICT in Education – content development by the teachers for the teachers.
  • e-Tathyakosh enhances access to livelihood information covering 12 categories including agriculture, health, and law and human rights.
  • e-Purjee works towards equitable market participation. correcting information asymmetry. There is a new procurement system that enables sugarcane farmers to sell their harvest on time.
  • The National Portal Framework (NPF) harmonises government websites. Governments go online to make public institutions transparent and responsive.
  • Capacity Development involves changing values, attitudes and skills.
  • Union Information and Service Centers (UISC) are newly established service outlets operating at all 4,547 Union Parishads of the country. These centers are run by local entrepreneurs. The UISC Blog is a learning and sharing platform for the UISC entrepreneurs and associated Local Administration officials. The blog allows entrepreneurs to seek help from peers across the country, in turn reducing pressure on Local Administration. The blog also serves as a platform for citizens to voice their concerns and demand quality service from authorities – this has pressured Local Administration to become more responsive, citizen-centric and ensure prompt quality service.

A2i is an innovative program that seeks to increase government accountability and accessibility for the citizens of Bangladesh.

More information is available on their website.

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