The Second Annual General Meeting of IID was held at the IID Meeting Room on 5 April 2014.
Public policy without evidence and participation can make journey towards development blind, observed eminent professionals and members of the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) during its annual general meeting held in Dhaka today.
Ananya Raihan, member of IID and Executive Director of Dnet, argued that people’s right to information is a part of the freedom that Amartya Sen highlighted in ‘development as freedom’.
But that free flow of information requires a supportive environment which the government should create through pro-free speech Right to Information and ICT Acts, observed Barrister Sara Hossain, Member of IID and Honorary Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust (BLAST).
The Editor of Dhaka Tribune, Zafar Sobhan, remarked that in our society often both public and private sector decisions are not profoundly based on evidences, owing to a severe lack of proper information.
Rafiqul Islam Rowly, the new Chairperson of IID and Managing Director, CSL Software Resources Limited also echoed with the statement. He mentioned that while public sector often remains reluctant to use information, private sector also suffers from the lack of proper information.
Asif Saleh, Senior Director of BRAC and BRAC International noted that most institutes often fail to fathom the enormous role ICT is playing in public life. Consequently, traditional policy advocacy remains roundtable oriented, leaving little or no scope for wider public participation. Both policy making and policy advocacy need to make proper use of information and ICTs to increase its reach and effectiveness.
Meghna Guhathakurta, Executive Director of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) emphasized on the need for ICT to be mainstreamed into the development process. ICT is not just a technical tool, rather it can help the entire process of policy advocacy connecting grassroots to policy making, she observed.
Syeed Ahamed, CEO of IID, stressed the need for correlating data with people’s everyday needs. He gave examples on how IID use ICT to bridge the digital divide between the haves and have-nots of access to development discourse.
IID’s new website was inaugurated by the distinguished participants at the end of the meeting.