Bring­ing Knowl­edge

Southasia - - 9 -

The Bangladeshi trend of Info Ladies has had a trans­for­ma­tional ef­fect on so­cial aware­ness within the coun­try. The women who carry lap­tops and tech-gad­gets on their back, ride their bi­cy­cles to re­mote vil­lages and spend days trans­mit­ting in­for­ma­tion, cre­at­ing so­cial aware­ness, as­sist­ing with vocational train­ing or very sim­ply, open­ing young minds to the power of the in­ter­net and the reach of the global com­mu­nity. Not only do the Info Ladies serve as a source of com­mu­ni­ca­tion but they also serve as men­tors, friends, ad­vi­sors and in some cases, me­di­a­tors. This ini­tia­tive has had a phe­nom­e­nal ef­fect on a so­ci­ety that still re­mains largely un­in­formed.

By many es­ti­mates, Bangladesh is en­hanc­ing its IT sec­tor and the gov- ern­ment is mak­ing a con­sci­en­tious ef­fort to es­tab­lish the coun­try as the next tech­nol­ogy hub. How­ever, the bit­ter truth is that such ad­vance­ments are in­creas­ingly con­fined to ur­ban cen­ters alone. Ru­ral ar­eas, which form the ma­jor­ity of the coun­try, re­main back­ward, marginal­ized, il­lit­er­ate and un­in­formed. In such cir­cum­stances, Info Ladies pro­vide an ex­cel­lent alternative to dis­si­pate tech­no­log­i­cal knowl­edge and trans­form the Bangladeshi so­ci­ety into one that is wholly rel­e­vant to a chang­ing world and in con­trol of its des­tiny. The pro­gram has seen para­mount success and could be an ex­cel­lent model to em­u­late in other parts of the re­gion, in­clud­ing In­dia, Pak­istan and Afghanistan, where strong ur­banru­ral tech­no­log­i­cal di­vides plague so­cial and mo­ral ad­vance­ments.

Prithika Raj Dhaka, Bangladesh

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