Social action projects were implemented by 226 schools financed by the British Council, Bangladesh in  Rangamati, Chittagong, Sylhet, Narayangonj, Manikgonj, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Kurigram, Thakurgoan, Lalmonirhat, Potuakhali, Chuwadanga, Magura, Gopalgonj, Jossere, Khulna, Dhaka and Moulvibazar. BARCIK played facilitative role by briefing the schools to assist them conceptualize the issue. The projects started in January and schools were briefed about the projects in April. Schools sent applications for grant in April and May. British Council and BARCIK screened the projects sent by schools and provided grants. BARCIK also conducted re-orientation and ICT sessions to help schools implementing their designed project and enable them uploading their activity report onto the prescribed website of British Council successfully.

The objective of social project is to connect students with society through getting them involved in societal issues where they at least play role in accelerating the solution of the societal issues. Besides, this projects aim to bridge students with other students and communities in home and abroad maximizing the use of ICT skills.

However, schools started implementing their designed activities in June and July. They have addressed 30 societal issues such as eve-teasing, dowry, early marriage, environmental pollution, drop out, poverty etc through social action projects. People of all classes attended in these programs arranged by schools and public awareness on these problems was created in those particular areas. According to the reports of the schools their initiatives were appreciated and played vital role in raising awareness. Besides, the projects reports of those schools were uploaded onto the website.

Implementing these projects was not easy to all schools due to some limitations, particularly ICT related. On the other hand, inexperience, lack of skills in management and report writing technique has also slowed the pace of implementation. But in spite of some limitations, implementation of social projects put positive impacts on students and communities. Students feel proud of being able doing something for their society and the sense of social responsibility has developed among them. Community people appreciated students and teachers for taking such initiatives.

Schools involved in social projects have placed some recommendations to make the implementation of social action projects smoothly and in more dynamic way. They proposed for extension of timeframe, increased budget, provision of ICT equipments, initiate reward etc. This report contains the description of outcomes of social action projects including other aspects.

1.  INTRODUCTION

Social action projects play important role to provide space for the students to get involved in the community problem solution process. This opportunity increases students’ skills and confidence. Students are social beings and therefore, they have to contribute to create a peaceful and progressive society. Students along with the cooperation of teachers had contributed significant role in the liberation war and language movement of Bangladesh. In addition, there were several instances of students’ involvement in social reformation. But the modern coaching centre based and commercial education system has somehow detached them from the society. They spend hectic days to please their parents and teachers by scoring highest marks in the exams. No time for them to retreat and think about their role in the society. It is not a long time ago when community people would come to the teachers and students when face social problems. Teachers and students were social actors. They instructed community people to get solution of their problems. Teachers held a respectable position in the society not only for providing education but also for their social responsibilities.

However, social action project has flashed back this culture and practice of students and teachers in the society. The projects help students identify social problems, design project to address the selected problems and create social awareness incorporating the community people in the process. Being involved in social action project sense of social responsibility and ownership among the students has developed. They also feel proud of being able to do ‘something’ for their society. On the other hand, students have the scope to share their works with other students from home and abroad being trained of using information, communication and technology under the project. Students and teachers thus are able disseminating their innovations, creative works with others which enables students becoming global active citizens.

2. METHODOLOGY AND IMPLEMENTATION AREA

This document has been prepared based on the outcomes of social action projects implemented by 223 schools in 19 districts of Bangladesh in 2012. BARCIK team briefed the schools and made a regular monitoring of their activities. Where it is required, BARCIK did provide additional supports to the schools. Thus the information, figures, qualitative description, photographs and recommendations shaped in this document have been extracted from the schools reports, monitoring and facilitation reports of BARCIK team. Social action project was implemented in the following districts:

  1. Dhaka,
  2. Manikgonj,
  3. Narayangonj
  4. Khulna
  5. Magura
  6. Chuwadanga
  7. Potuakhali
  8. Chittangong,
  9. Rangamati
  10. Sylhet
  11. Thakurgoan
  12. Lalmonirhat
  13. Kurigram
  14. Dinajpur
  15. Moulvibazar
  16. Gopallgonj
  17. Sitakunda
  18. Jossere
  19. Rajshahi.

It is to be mentioned that the schools in 19 districts are divided into cluster system and a coordinator (mainly headmaster of the selected schools) is responsible to coordinate the whole activities and motivate the schools under his/her cluster. There are 21 (Sitakunda and Chittagong city corporation) cluster coordinators in 19 districts. Eight (8) students from every school were engaged in the implementation process directly while the other students of the schools were indirectly involved in the process. On the other hand, two teachers from each school were directly involved to facilitate and help students implementing the activities of social action project.

3. ORIENTATION

In order to provide skills to the schools identifying the problem of their own community and design a program aiming at acting on that, BARCIK arranged orientation workshops in every cluster centre schools started from January and ended in March. However, the orientation workshop was designed to provide skills and technical supports to the students as well as teachers, so that they can design their project and formulate planning for implementation of the project with the grant they receive. To support them, BARCIK developed supporting materials such as hand notes, module prepared based on the outcomes of social action project in 2011 and guidelines with the assistance of the British Council, Bangladesh. In each of the orientation session, two teachers and two students from every individual school participated including prominent persons of those areas.

Students performed group works with the facilitation of the teachers where they discussed to each other regarding identifying their problems. They noted down the selected problems with due priority and presented in front of all. They developed an action plan to execute their activities being trained and facilitated by BARCIK. However, among the problems students identified during the orientation programs included: Early marriage, women torture, child labor, sanitation, awareness on earthquake, drug addiction, eve-teasing, students dropout, deforestation, riverbank erosion, waste mismanagement, dowry system, illiteracy and adolescent crime etc. Application forms for grant were distributed during the orientation programs where students and teachers were practically trained on how to apply for grant. BARCIK received 223 proposals from the schools. BARCIK, after in-depth screening of the projects approved and administered grant to the school with the consent of the British Council, Bangladesh.

4. RE-ORIENTAION

In order to ensure smooth implementation of social action project-2012 and give input to the schools implementing their designed project BARCIK arranged reorientation workshops in each of the selected schools in April. The orientation also aimed at ensuring intensive communication with all schools under the project. Teachers and 8 selected students of each of the schools participated in the orientation workshops and presented their planning and activities associated with the implementation of their social action project’s activities.

However, based on the societal issues/theme they (schools) have selected to address, BARCIK produced some hand note papers and provided those papers to them so that they could incorporate the information and guidelines in their documents that they will publish for creating awareness on the problem they have chosen to address this year.

5. ICT SESSION

One of the objectives of social action project is uploading the reports of the school onto the website of British Council that is http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org.  To facilitate schools doing the uploading properly, BARCIK conducted ICT sessions for the students and teachers of the schools. BARCIK developed materials and practically briefed the school on how they could upload their projects reports.

Besides, BARCIK also shared with the school regarding the basic things of the website. After the sessions, most of the schools have been able uploading their reports and all the uploaded reports are displayed onto the website.

6. IMPACT AND RESULT

In order to measure the impact of the social action project implemented by schools in different part of Bangladesh, we need to examine the objectives of social action project. The main objectives of the project is to connect students with society by addressing social issues and help them growing as active citizens by sharing their works with other in the globe using ICT. However, based on the objective of the social action project we set the following success indicators to measure the impact: 1) schools implement their project successfully with the participation of students and 2) Schools upload their activities reports onto the website to share their works with others. Besides, the activities of the schools were covered by some national and regional dailies and weeklies.

6.1 SCHOOLS IMPLEMENT THEIR PROJECT SUCCESSFULLY

Participating in social action project, schools implemented various ranges of activities to address different social issues. The document has been prepared by briefly discussing some of the major social issues which have been address by most of the schools under their social action project:

6.1.1 Illiteracy is curse

Education is the backbone of a nation. An educated citizen is asset for a state. On the other hand, lack of education or illiteracy is a curse for nation and an illiterate citizen is burden for a state.

However some schools implemented SAP activities to address illiteracy. They implemented several activities such as rally, discussion and press conference to create social awareness.

6.1.2 Eve-teasing the silent killer girls’ future

Schools formed eve-teasing prevention committee with the participation of guardians and members of school managing committee.

These schools also organized rally, human chain, published posters and leaflets as well as arranged discussion to discuss about eve-teasing, identify the reasons as well as to find ways of preventing eve-teasing

6.1.3 Giving and taking dowry is crime

Dowry is a social problem. It kills a family, a society and a human being. When wives fail to give the demanded dowry they are often assaulted physically and gets divorced many times. However, to address the social issue, schools implemented activities under their social action projects.

For creating awareness among the communities and others, the schools arranged discussions, organized rallies, human chains, staged dramas, published posters and leaflets and distributed and even the students and teachers of the schools discussed with villagers, rickshaw pullers, van drivers, vegetable sellers, and hawkers etc to make them aware about dowry.

6.1.4 Drug the silent killer of life

Drug is a growing social disease and many teen ages’ youth are addicted to drug. Drug is harmful for health and causes youth community addicted to lose their physical and mental balance when get addicted. Schools are aware about it and took several activities to address the issue.

They arranged discussions, organized rallies, human chains, published posters and staged drama etc where almost in every activities of the schools guardians, representatives of local administration, teachers, students, social workers, NGO representatives, members of civil society, journalists attended.

6.1.5 Say ‘NO’ to early marriage

Marriage is a big episode in the life of an individual as well as for his or her close relatives. On the contrary,  early marriage is quite the opposite and it brings despairs and often fatal consequences, especially for the bride.

In Bangladesh, early marriage is widespread due to poverty, lack of awareness and education, patriarchal beliefs and values, social unrest, and negative attitude towards female children. Some schools address the issue very successfully.  They conducted discussions, meetings, organized rallies and human chains, staged dramas and published posters and leaflets to create awareness about early marriage.

6.1.6 Let us protect our environment

Environment pollution is one of the burning issues of today’s world. As result of environment pollution, source of fresh water is getting contaminated, agro production gets declined and outbreak of diseases gets increased. Climate change scenario is one of the devastating results of environment pollution.

Thus conserving biodiversity, planting trees and saving forest from degradation as well as encouraging friendly waste management needs to be adopted to save environment pollution. However, schools having facilitated addressed this issue through social action project.

6.1.7 Ensure 100% enrolment in the schools

Bangladesh has committed to ensuring 100% literacy rate by 2015 and it is one of the Millennium development goals that Bangladesh is striving to meet by this time. However, to ensure 100% literacy rate as well as meet the MDG goal, Bangladesh needs to prevent the dropout rate in education, particularly in primary education. Students and teachers of various schools addressed this problem very significantly by creating awareness.

They visited slums and remote villages where the dropout rate is high, to motivate students and parents about the importance of education and curse of being illiterate. In order to boost their activities they arranged rallies, organized discussions and meetings.

6.1.8 Motivate people adopting sanitation

Most of the people in grassroots areas are poor and have little access to sanitation. Using unhygienic latrines and being unaware regarding the importance of sanitation has led them suffering from various kinds of susceptible diseases.

Adopting sanitation is not an expensive measure yet for lack of awareness and motivation, these people have reverse concept about it. Hence, to motivate and encourage as well as provide messages about the importance of sanitation schools conducted activities to create awareness on sanitation.

6.1.9 Women are not inferior to men

Women violence is almost a common event in Bangladesh. Women are victims of rape, physical and mental assault. Women have to maintain household works, look after children, help men in agriculture and even some women toady are involved in small business & trade and some are doing office along with men.

Our social concept, norms, values and tradition often disfavor women and that is why discrimination against women gets started from the family where the importance of male children is nakedly seen. However, to address this issue, schools arranged discussion, organized rallies, human chain and published posters and leaflets to depict the negative of violence against women.

6.1.10 Child labor

Child labor is almost a common social phenomenon in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a signatory country to the UN child right convention (CRC) but child labor is widespread. School going children are found working in the factories, shops, workshops, restaurants, fields, streets, offices etc.

Even it is found children working in high risk works! However, to address the issue, students and teachers through social action project arranged activities to aware community people stop sending their children to work in such an early age!

6.1.11 Tree plantation

Bangladesh is gradually losing its green beauty shape due to extinction of varieties of local trees as well as due to forest degradation. Experts said that to mitigate the devastative impact of climate change, forest conservation and tree plantation is a must.

Thus to address the burning issue, students and teachers of various schools arranged activities to create awareness about the importance of tree plantation. They also planted trees in the roadside and fallow lands to encourage community people.

6.1.12 Earthquake awareness

Bangladesh is a very risky country to earthquake. If even a small earthquake occurs it could damage all infrastructures of the country. It is an important duty of us all to be aware about the risk of earthquake and design our buildings in such way that they could resist earthquake.

Students and teachers of the schools organized activities to address the issue by creating social awareness about earthquake and its consequences.

6.2 SCHOOL UPLOAD THEIR ACTIVITY REPORTS ONTO THE WEBSITE

The schools did not only arrange various types of activities to create social awareness but also did share their works with students of home and abroad by uploading their reports onto the prescribed website (www.schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org) of the British Council.

Almost 90% of the schools’ reports are found in the website. Teachers also commented about their fellow teachers works and posted some of their innovative works using the website. They also wrote in their own blogs and share in the forum.

7. MONITORING

As part of facilitating schools implementing their social action projects, BARCIK made regular monitoring to every cluster centre schools during the project period. The aim of monitoring is to facilitate and assist schools implementing their projects properly. In this regard, BARCIK conducted orientation session to brief about the social action projects to the schools in the very beginning of the project period. It also prepared documents and distributed among schools during this time. Each of the school under a given cluster participated in the orientation session. However, BARCIK made frequent visits to the schools and where necessary, the organization made intensive visit so that school could perform their project properly. During grant administration, BARCIK also provided inputs to the schools on how they could arrange activities to make the successful implementation of their social action projects. Besides, during this time, if found that few schools lack concept and idea and were not clear about what they should do to implement their projects, BARCIK staffs sat with them and briefed them separately. BARCIK also helped schools arranging and conducting activities and attended in that programs arranged by schools as part of their social action projects to encourage them. Within the project period, BARCIK made frequent visit to the schools to monitor their progress. Besides, BARCIK made e-mail and telephone communication on regular basis associated with social action projects to learn about the progress of their projects. BARCIK also distributed report writing format to assist school in producing their reports easily.

Assessing the schools activities implemented under social action projects, BARCIK found students and teachers are now able identifying social problems. They have capacity to address these problems organizing events by ensuring the participation of local communities, elites and members of civil society. Analyzing the objectives of the social action projects, we can set success indicators: Schools are able to identify problems, students work on the issues and the output of the projects is shared in the internet. However, matching and comparing the initiatives of schools with the set success indicators, it can be said that schools have succeeded in addressing social issues and involve students and communities. But schools have not much succeeded in proper utilization of ICT equipments due to some reasons.

8. NEWSLETTER PUBLICATION

BARCIK produced two newsletter based on the outcomes of social action project which have been uploaded onto the website of BARCIK. Teachers, students, volunteers and BARCIK staff wrote article and shared their feelings being involved in social action project as organizers and facilitators. Going through the newsletter, it is hoped one could understand what have been so far done through social action project, what students think about their role in the society etc.

9. RECOMMENDATIONS

Below are some recommendations recommended by teachers and students:

  • Continue the implantation of the project for another 2 or 3 years.
  • Provide ICT equipments to all schools involved in the project.
  • Increase the amount the grant that allow schools conducting awareness activities throughout the year.
  • Award schools based on the performances.
  • Extend the project in other areas.
  • Ensure intensive monitoring of the projects and schools activities.
  • Make schools accountable regarding implementation of their project activities, producing reports and keeping financial records.
  • Ensure the participation of students in the management and planning of social action projects.

10. CONCLUSION

In spite of some limitations, social action project was implemented successfully. Some crucial social issues were addressed and students were found pleased having involved in the societal issues. The project has assisted to crate awareness among people of all ages. Students are able to perceive their role in the society along with their studies. Teachers regain the respect from the community people as when face problem community people consult teachers. The successful use of ICT has increased among the teachers. They now can communicate with each other using internet. The most important thing is that social cohesion has increased among teachers and community people which is the prerequisite of building a peaceful society.