The BITA Initiative: An Alternative Approach of Development

Sisir Dutta

Executive Director, Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts, Chittagong, Bangladesh


Mousumi Chowdhury

Director, Policy & Collaboration, Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts, Chittagong, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts (BITA) is one of the non-governmental organizations, which has initiated its development activities through various modes of cultural interventions. Most of the non-government organizations are working for material development by focusing on such areas micro-credit and savings, income generation, health and family planning, and awareness building activities. BITA has started its activities from a new perspective. It has realized that empowerment is the precondition to fulfill human desire and potential, which is based on a recognition and faith in people’s own power and resources. The power, aspirations and resources of the communities can be nurtured, utilized and developed through systematic cultural interventions. With this realization and vision, BITA has established itself as a community focused organization by performing different activities for cultural development since 1994. Here in BITA, we believe that ultimate target of development concerns people and culture is correlated with development.

Culture as a Tool of Development


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Why BITA, Mandate, Organization Accountability
Rationale for existence (Why BITA?)

Rationale for existence (Why BITA?)
o BITA‟s experience, achievements and the existing development context suggest its raison d‟Etre also in future. The communication gap continues to exist as the poor and disadvantaged people yet to have scope to communicate their concerns or receive information of their importance. They do not sufficiently know their rights (human rights, women rights, minority rights, etc.) and the mechanism to seek their materialization and enforcement.
o The conventional means of communication is one-way, requires much time to reach, not systematic and are driven by interest of others than theirs. Since the duty bearers remain unreachable or unapproachable, the views and answers of the poor remain unattended resulting in extreme information poverty and poor access to socio-political decision-making at local and higher level.
o Culture as a mode of wide human communication is itself in disarray. Therefore, dissemination of values and human expressions remains blurred or limited. Culture and cultural event has become a target of groups apprehending its strengths to educate people in their own way. Protection of cultural values has gained momentum as an agenda.
o While the overall situation of culture based development is critical, the situation from religious, ethnic minorities and gender perspective is much more precarious.
o BITA, with all its experience and endowment with capacities and moral support by the civil society has the comparative advantage of human communication for the poor with special focus to gender and ethnicity. Therefore, BITA will continue to work for changes.

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The Core Programmes: An Analysis


Figure 2: The Core Programme Conceptual Framework

The Goals of Core Programmes

Cultural Promotion

  • To enable the grass root community people through cultural education in establishing their rights.

Information & Knowledge Management

  • To enrich training and communication process by integrating BITA’s approaches and resources.

Rights and Governance

  • To conscientise the deprived people about their rights and assist them in achieving their rights.


  • To institutionalize the culture and development approach of BITA by establishing network and collaboration with relevant development agencies and activists.

Right based approach: BITA’s view in poverty reduction

Since last three decades, material and economic development have been emphasized in development stream, which only protected institutional development, but did not make a sense in reducing poverty of poor people. Therefore, in present development trend, material development is not the core considering point rather human development is considered as fundamental point. BITA has been working in development since 1993 to bring to light the importance and effectiveness of human development in materializing the overall development in a sustainable approach.

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BITA  Approach: Moving Towards Community


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