CEP recognises the power of information in addressing many of the social inequalities that exist in rural Bangladesh. We use community media such as, popular theatre and community radio to create awareness and address the gaps faced by poor people in accessing information. We use local dialects and the medium of entertainment to maximise the effect of information and messages. In addition, we focus on creating awareness at the grassroots level on Bangladesh's Right to Information Act, enabling rural citizens to benefit from it.
Popular theatre is an effective communication medium for disseminating information within rural communities, particularly to those who are illiterate. Through popular theatre, CEP deals with a wide range of issues of local and national significance such as gender equality, dowry, child marriage, gender-based violence, good governance, environment, health, migration, HIV/AIDS, road safety and agriculture. Popular theatre also promotes women's voices, mobility and participation. The plays are usually staged in the evening, drawing large audiences including many women and children. A play typically draws an audience of between 250 and 500 people. Our popular theatre groups are formed by local folk artists. The stories are based on real life incidents and local context, and the messages are delivered in the local dialect. The plays stimulate the audience, create awareness and generate dialogue on issues that affect their lives. Our popular theatre activities are successfully being implemented by430 local popular theatre teams across 61 districts in Bangladesh with the active involvement of 4,300 local performers (30 per cent women) who act as agents of change within the community.
Download Popular theatre brochure
Popular theatre implementation guidebook
Radio Pollikontho, community radio project
Radio Pollikontho, a community radio station located in Moulvibazar in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh, is an initiative of CEP to ensure rural communities' access to information. The radio station covers a radius of 17 km reaching approximately 0.4 million rural citizens in the Moulvibazar district. Radio Pollikontho programmes are designed to address socioeconomic issues within the community. The programmes prioritise issues related to women and children. In addition, it promotes local folk tradition and culture. The community radio currently has 743 listeners’ clubs consisting of women, youth and children.
Visit Radio Pollikontho's web portal at:
Right to Information
The Right to Information (RTI) Act was passed in Bangladesh in 2009. However, the rural communities often cannot benefit from this act due to a lack of awareness about citizens' rights, the provisions in the act and how to use it. To enable poor rural citizens to benefit from the RTI Act, CEP is implementing a project called ‘creating awareness on RTI law for community empowerment’. The project aims to promote and popularise the RTI Act among the rural poor as well as to develop a cost-effective, community-based mechanism for accessing information. It is being implemented in 17 sub-districts under three districts. In addition to raising awareness through popular theatre and community mobilisation, the project is creating a cadre of community-based infomediaries from pollishomaj members and popular theatre groups who are assisting the rural poor to access information using the RTI Act.
Right to Information handbook
BRAC-WB RTI Project Evaluation Report
Poster on Right to Information Act
Poster on accessing information from union parishad