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Visit 21 August to Bhola, Barisal Division, by Elias Kanchon and Shahedul Chowdhury for Archives awareness programme
August 29, 2017, 10:59 pm
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1. Visit to Fozilatunnessa Government College
We started our program at Fozilatunnessa Government College meeting shortly with College principal Samsul Alam for a discussion on archives and archives management. College Principal introduced us with the College record-keeper to learn more about management of College’s archives. What we discovered after meeting the record-keeper was:

There is still no awareness about ARCHIVES and Record Management systems. There were some files, which files had no date and no file access code. The Registrar and Record keeper wanted to know from us more about the system of Archives Management. This is an important step because expressing this wish by the registrar is the same as expressing the need for training in Archives and Archives management which is the start of awareness!

College Principal suggested us for next programmes to bring with us a Government – given letter of introduction or certificate.

2. Visit to Bhola Municipality
As our next step we went to the Municipality of Bhola in order to meet with staffs of the so called Room of Certificates (Birth registration, Tax collecting, Land registration) and documents service. We saw their documents systems and talked about storage of original documents, specially in hard copy form. Our first findings of this visit:

There was no real Archives Room (repository), they just were using a room as a sort of “store house” to put in their Documents. There was still lack of awareness about system and method of Archives & Record Management. And important to note: there was no connection with the National Archives of Bangladesh in Agargaon, Dhaka to transfer records in the future.

3. Meeting with members and journalists of the Bhola Pressclub
After the programme at Municipality of Bhola, we went to the Bhola Press Club and met and discussed with Mr. Khoslo. He is working as Press Club Office Assistant. We collected the cell phone numbers of Pressclub President, General Secretary and the Prothom Alo
Journalist Mr. Niamol with whom we had a meeting of 30 minutes. After that, he shared all Pressclub members names, pictures,  e-mail adresses and contact cellphone numbers. We got a complete list of key-persons.

4. Meeting at the Bhola Pressclub with Umme Ema’s youth group
We met with all members of Umme Ema’s youth group at the Pressclub Hall for meetings for a first training / discussion about the need of archives and archives management:
Explaning essential archival questions:
1. What are Archives?
2. What is the relationship between Archives and Good Governance.
3. How can we preserve our documents as archives
4. Importance of  archives for government, Non-government organization (NGO), as well as for our Personal Life.
5. Why to use Archives for Right To Information of citizens, for research and writing decent / reliable history, for planning hospitals and schools, for environment control, producing reliable original and powerful archival documents for these reasons.
6. Elias gave 3 practical examples:
1. Archival documents in Netherlands about the building of the Jamuna Bridge.
2. Cricket as started in Kishoreganj.
3. Touhid Hasan Moyna Bhai in bogra, about his Family Archives and feelings.
7. The amount of Archivists needed in Bangladesh as well as according to international standards.
8. Bangladesh Medical & Dental Council (BM&DC) requirement that all Medical Colleges & Hospitals must have their own Archives Repository and Archivist staffs. Without this the BM&DC will not give any permission for establishing such a hospital & medical college. We know this information also from Florus and from Shamim, since 2 years archivist of the Dr Gazi Mizan Medical College and Hospital in Khulna
8. Especial lecture about the importance of archives as tool for the RTI Act. How helpful archives are as tool for RTI for giving power to the citizens.

All participants were quite happy about the lectures of Elias and Shahedul which were finalized with an important OPEN FLOOR DISCUSSION with the young leaders with remarks like:
1. Archives management and Right To Information and Good Governance is a very much sensitive matter, we should know more and more about it.
2. While acquiring more knowledge about Archives and Information in Society and Government the young persons like in Umme Ema’s group and other local groups of the Archives Network should visit schools, hospitals, health care centers, local government offices etc. and start discussions with the staffs about use and management of the Archives.
3. These visits will enlarge the awareness of the importance of archives and records and the GROWING NEED for taking BETTER CARE for these archives and records.
4. Connection is needed of the members of Archives Network with Local Government on Archives and discuss use of Archives by the media (local newspapers and TV channels) and specially with local Pressclub.
5. Archives are tool of real development of our country Bangladesh, archives are needed for real use of the Right To Information Act of all Government officials and VERY IMPORTANT, of ALL Citizens. Archives will be the sources for good quality of Research and writing of our History. Archives as a tool also will help and improve general management by government, schools, colleges, private enterprises and specially improve the planning.

If our Archives Network members find any problems in Archives management and use they can get in contact with coordinating persons in Archives Network. Elias gave the participants the book “60 Questions on NGO – Archives” and the  RTI leaflet, explaining about the Right To Information, RTI act 2009,  written by Lutful Haque and Azizul Rasel.
Meeting finished at 03:15 PM

After the Program we returned to our Hotel, took rest and went to the restaurant for taking our lunch. In the evening we started our return journey from Bhola to Dhaka by launch.

By: Elias Kanchon & Shahedul Chowdhury

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