Young Bangladeshi activist advances his social development goals thanks to newly honed research skills.
Bhola is a coastal community in Bangladesh where fishing is the major contributor to the local economy. A young intern with the local NGO Move Foundation was able to conduct a study in May 2019 to advance the social participation in decision-making of that area. This was due to in-depth knowledge he gained by participating in a USAID sponsored research training for CSOs in Bangladesh. The USAID Promoting Advocacy and Rights (PAR) Activity in Bangladesh stresses that effective advocacy and effective development requires a proper understanding of research and its methodology to provide evidence for substantiation of a policy position or proposal.
Using research to support a development project or support an advocacy campaign was a new notion for the 25 civil society organizations participating in a training program under the USAID Promoting Advocacy and Rights (PAR) Activity in Bangladesh. The training program was organized at two knowledge levels in January and February 2019. At the basic level CSO actors were introduced to the basic research that can be accessed for supporting advocacy campaigns or development projects. The five-day mid-level research training provided more depth and practical application of research methods to support CSO work. The participants came together to Dhaka from 13 districts of Bangladesh to learn how to enhance their organizations’ ability to effectively advocate for change in their communities. PAR selected 25 CSOs through a needs’ assessment of the organizations and developed training content accordingly.
Mr. Jahidul Nahid took part in the mid-level research training February 03-07, 2019 in Dhaka. He was the youngest participant among the thirteen participants from different organizations and geographic districts. He was nominated as a youth representative in the training by the Move Foundation in Dhaka where he was an intern.
After completing the training, Nahid designed a project for the livelihood development of the Internally Displaced People (IDP) for the Move Foundation which is awarded funding. He drew on his knowledge gained in the training on information collection and sources of information, policy brief and proposal development session in writing the successful proposal.
During the training, he noted that other participants helped him a lot by sharing their experience which greatly broadened his outlook. He learned to identify the relevant stakeholders and the necessity of advocacy for ensuring good governance and development. The training also instructed him on ways to attractively and convincingly present the research findings without violating research ethics. Nahid, a fresh university graduate, commented, “I highly benefitted from the PAR research training, and gained more practical information in a few days than I had in years of my studies.” He presented his research findings in a final report using different infographics and charts as a way of promoting evidence-based advocacy for his work in Move Foundation. The report received much attention from the higher officials of relevant government departments and they took steps immediately to resolve the issues with different projects of the ministry as per the recommendation of the research . The training also illustrated how to use the indicators of Sustainable Development Goals to ensure overall economic growth.
After the successful presentation and designing of these findings and the study report, Nahid joined was hired by Move Foundation as an Associate Program Officer. Now, he is also designing a project for the Promotion of Jute Polymer Sonali (Golden) Bags and the Livelihood Development of the Slum Dwellers.