BITA’s journey towards institutional development
The potential areas where BITA has explored itself as development partner for resource poor population of the society and different patways that have drawn through the journey are being brifed below:
Cultural Action: BITA‟s cultural approach involved marginalized community participate in different issues related to rights and livelihood. For applying the approach more significantly for the betterment of poor people, the BITA staffs have gone through a series of capacity development initiatives with the support of Heinrich Boll Foundation Germany. BITA staffs received training from renowned national and international training and theatre experts like Philippines Educational Theatre Association (PETA), CHOL Theatre, UK. They have participated also regional level cultural intervention like attending festival on Image of Asia in Denmark, Identity vs. Globalization which has also enhanced their capacity on cultural diversity. They have participated also regional level Theatre for Development training which has also enhanced their capacity on community theatre. As result BITA‟s cultural resource team could deal with diversified communities to make them participated in Theatre for Development (TFD) activities. Till now a now of more than 100 TFD groups were formed and capacitated from local communities who have reached to more one million people with messages.
Community Mobilization: BITA has been working on rights based approach since its inception through mobilization of people on rights and governance issues under different projects. In these projects community participation is ensured through a process that includes desiging, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Different innovative tools including community based cultural campaign, awareness session, children space, court yard meeting, bazar meeting, FGD, community consultation have been facilitated to sensitize on issues of early marriage, human trafficking, child education, gender parity, local government’s roles and responsibilities, rights and entitlements, youth particiopation in decision making, access to public resources, gender equity, arbitration process, thereby developed community based safety net and protective machanism.
Presence of Community Groups: BITA feels that community mobilization can only be sustained if there exists community based motivational groups could be formed and sustained with full activation. EKATA (Empowerment, Knowledge and Tranformative Action) groups, Village and Slum Development Commiittee (VDC, SDC), Community based Adolescent Forum, Women Circle, Socio Cultural Watch Group, Violence Against Women Forum, Change Maker Forum, CiG (Citizen in Governance ) Forums, UDC(Unit Development Committee) etc. are some of those examples and total 520 such groups are so far formed including local elected bodies, social and religious leaders and representatives from all segement of populations among which 160 groups are funtional.
Training: BITA has formed a trusty namely BITA Culture and Communication Trust (BCCT) with its own resources and capacity. The trusty conducts training and education course using its own residential facilities and logistics available at its training centre which is also used for program implementation. BITA has developed and conducted number of issue-based and project based training courses and capacity building initiatives in collaboration with likeminded development agencies as well as grass roots communities. As capacity building initiatives, BITA has addressed different stakeholders namely: School teachers, local elected bodies, journalists, lawyers, university students, grass root artists, local civil society, grass root women and children.
Monitoring: BITA has Participatory Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting System (PMERS) in organization and project level for examining the values progress, constraints and achievements of project and programs by stakeholders. A unique independent monitoring unit of BITA is responsible for conducting periodic and regular based monitoring of different interventions through the organizational central monitoring system. In its monitoring process BITA gives equal importance on progress as well as process monitoring. Tools like GIM, PIFA, PRRP, MBL, Tracking Sheet, Checklist, FGD, IPTT, Case Study are widely used for monitoring. BITA considers baseline survey as prerequisite for initiation of any development projects and this baseline works as bench mark for tracking the progress of the intervention.
Working with Local Government especially UP: BITA with assistance of ARD, funded by USAID implemented a project Promoting Awareness on Local Government Issues where different innovative tools like cultural campaign formed by different modalities like Ghombhira, Putul Nach, Dhamer Gan, Palagan, Yatra have been performed at union Parishad level. BITA also capacitated 20 local NGOs to conduct such campaign so that the methodologies of people‟s mobilization remains with local level organizations. Eventually BITA developed promotional events and information tools like flip sheet, audio cassettee, TV Spot, reasearch on the roles and responsibilities of Union Parishad for local development and accountability of public resources. Another project Engender Women Social Recognition through Legal Empowerment, funded by German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) has supported the local government with Union Parishad‟s capacity improvement on gender sensitive arbitration process and functioning village court to ensure justice for poor people. Through SHOUHARDO programme supported by CARE Bangladesh funded by USAID, BITA has been supporting the local elected bodies to facilitate the hard core poor with food security and livelihood improvement by initiating local development on public resource management, increase accountibility to the public on services, strengthening the standing committees of UPs.
Social Audit: A group of BITA staffs have enhanced their capacities on social audit and public accountibility by attending national and international level training including Report Card Mathodology, Citizen Monitoring, Understanding the Art of Policy Advocacy and Building Advocacy Skill for Sustainable Development, Participatory Planning and Budgeting which are being used to improve the governance situation of the targeted communities. BITA is developing a model union in Chittagong using these tools involving both community people and local government in strengthining governance system.
Experience on violence against women issue : BITA has been working on women rights, domentic vilence, human trafficking, legal rights issues since its inception. BITA has been working to create mass awareness through cultural campaign, make community level Change Maker and volunteers who build solidarity and collective actions towards realizing the rights of women and men and reducing gender discrimination, exploitation and violence against women and girls. BITA also provides different capacity building initiatives including conducting women circle activity, reflect, formation of watch groups, livelihood support for economic empowerment, providing training on women socio- economic, legal and political rights at the grass roots level so that this larger population can understand their need and rights and make a position to claim such.
Program Management Skills : A good number of skilled human resources expertise in different arena have been working with BITA. Potential human resources including Director, Thematic Coordinators, Project Coordinators and need-based Resource persons are rendering services to meet organizational objectives. The staff relating to HR, Admin, Finance, are quite capable to handle the issues professionally. There are experienced personnel to disseminate training on livelihood skills, human rights, culture & development, child rights, local arbitration, low cost materials making, Capacitated staff and resource available to administer Advocacy & networking, Campaign, Social Marketing, Impact study, and other Motivational activities. BITA has gained appreciation from the community as well as developments actors to move forward with its multi-dimensional activities. Moreover, BITA owns specialized resource and equipments on participatory video to visualize community achievements and successes. Vehicle, e-communication facilities and other logistics present to deliver the project interventions in the central and regional coordination offices. BITA has indispensable bonding with BITA Culture & Communication Trust (BCCT), the Institution established through initiative of BITA. The extent of existing logistic support and equipments needs to be expanded.
BITA has its operational set up at Unions, Upazillas and District level in the working area to effectively implement the project intervention. The Central Coordination Office located in Chittagong which supports program staffs with management and operational facilities. Other two Regional Coordination offices are in Lakshmipur and Bandarban districts.