The Gyaner Haats - knowledge bazaars - of Bangladesh

From Global development | The Guardian Wed Jan 2 2013, 10:52:21

Faruk Ul Islam explains how his charity is developing networks that build on official channels to reach deeper into communities

A lot has been written about how we should reach the "last mile" - ensuring supplies and personnel reach the people who need them. This is particularly true in knowledge sharing and communication for development.

It is relatively easy to share knowledge with development practitioners, educated people and people based in urban areas - but reaching isolated people in poor rural communities (mostly semi-educated and illiterate) can be much more challenging. But it is something that Practical Action has been working on and learning about for the past few years.

The government of Bangladesh with the support of the UN Development Programme has established some 4,500 information centres across the country with the aim of giving people greater access to various government and private e-services and multi-sector information associated with their livelihoods. These centres are at union level, and geographically at sub-district level. But while representing decentralisation - they are still facing challenges in reaching the last mile, ie households at the community level.

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