The Centre for Research and Information (CRI) works to bring politics closer to the people, particularly to the young people, in Bangladesh. The organisation conducts numerous development projects and fosterage of international exchange of opinion, the foundation supports youth engagement, democratized debate, empowerment of citizens and promoting policy awareness.
It started its journey from 1996, aiming to create a platform for public discussion on important matters of national policy in Bangladesh. Analyzing key challenges facing the nation, CRI explores, through people-centered debate, the political ideas and the policy reforms that will define progressive politics and policies in a new, digital Bangladesh. CRI Focuses on youth engagement and democratized debate and intends to bring politics closer to the people.
CRI conducts detailed research on national development issues and undertakes in-depth case studies in sectors of national economy. The organisation disseminates information which are of national, economic and social interest among the general public of the nation.
CRI believes that Bangladesh has come a long way in realizing the dream of creating a "Golden Bangla", with its remarkable advancements in a plethora of sectors indicative of social and economic progress. CRI believes in promoting and engaging with programmes, organizations and individuals who share this vision of Golden Bangla. CRI believes that communal harmony across the country can help the country’s economy to progress further.
CRI believes that the time is right for the country to engage in green policies which will ensure the safety and security of future generations. Pro-activity from a developing country like Bangladesh will also encourage more developed nations to play their part in safeguarding the environment - given the fact that the country’s carbon emissions per capita is one of the lowest in the world.
CRI produces exclusive reports on areas such as this issue of resource use, as well as politics and economy. In 2016, CRI published two reports including 'Bangladesh: countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism' and 'Bangladesh Security bulletin.'
CRI also works in tandem with other organisations. For example, for millennia, Bangladeshi farmers have been relying on local knowledge to protect their crops from diseases. Taking this as a lead, last year, the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), also located in Gazipur, initiated a project named E-Village.
Working in partnership with CRI and a Chinese software company, the concept was to develop a specialized digital device that would make use of multiple sensors and work in tandem with smartphones to give crucial information about soil, environment and crop health. The farmers would use these devices through a specialized smartphone app to collect data from the crop fields and vegetable gardens and send them to a server using internet. Analyzing the data, agriculture experts would give them specific advice on the use of pesticides, fertilizers, irrigation, etc.
CRI takes a strategic approach to achieving its goals. It combines its resources and expertise with market research and polling aimed at various groups, especially young and student groups, to produce the following:
- High quality research into the concerns and priorities of young voters and the youth demographic in Bangladesh;
- Unique platforms for voicing the opinions of young Bangladeshis, such as Let’s Talk and Policy Café;
- Publications and blogs produced to the highest editorial, design and production standards, whether in print or digital form;
- Pioneering marketing and promotion efforts, through television, radio and social media outlets;
- Cutting-edge media and publicity efforts aimed at and, in some cases, created by and for, young people themselves
CRI basically focuses on youth oriented programs. CRI sees youth participation as a vital component for the future development of the country, and believes that the young people of Bangladesh do not have to wait until later in adulthood to shape their nation. Keeping this overriding objective in mind, CRI has arranged for the following programmes specifically tailored for the youths of Bangladesh:
- Let's Talk: Let’s Ta!k provides a much-needed avenue for young people to constructively engage with Members of Parliament, ministers and other prominent politicians and debate topical issues which are of relevance to them.
- Policy cafe: Policy Café is a forum for the youth to voice their assessments on national policy frameworks. It is an avenue of democratic exercises where every young person is expected to share his/her thoughts, opinion and ideas regarding the formulation and functioning of policies
- CRI Junction: CRI Junction invites young poets, writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, actors, performing artists and other cultural leaders to express their views on society and the world around them.
CRI, through its youth platform “young Bangla,” hosted “joy bangla concert” for the third consecutive year on 7th March, 2017. Young Bangla arranges this musical program to pay tribute to the historic 7th March 1971 speech by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The aim is to culturally inspire the youth of today through the words and message of the historic speech, which speaks of the timeless message of equality, justice and standing up for what one believes in, notwithstanding the odds against.
On 23rd March, 2017, Centre for Research and Information (CRI) organized a Let’s Ta!k. This took place in the run up to the upcoming 136th Assembly of Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) scheduled to take place in Dhaka to facilitate a dialogue among the youths and other representatives from Civil society concerning the reduction of inequality. For the ease of discussion, the event was divided into five segments: economic inequality, social & political inequality, governance and access to services, equality in law and policies and a rapid fire round.
CRI facilitated a 'Workshop on Political Party Strategic Planning' organized by the International Republican Institute (IRI) at Dhanmondi, Dhaka. The workshop was attended by Honorable MPs and leaders/representatives belonging to Bangladesh Awami League, its associate bodies, namely, Bangladesh Chatro League, Jubo Mohila League and Bangladesh Mohila Awami League and CRI.
The workshop aimed to orient the participants on a political party scenario-planning tool which would assist them in conducting strategic planning to proactively anticipate and respond to political change. Participants examined the approaches to understand, analyze, plan and potentially adapt to existing and emerging political situations.
The discussion focused on four related goals: provide analysis of the current situation, facilitate forecasting of potential future changes, understand current organizational strengths and weaknesses, and plan appropriate strategies to adapt in the future. An expert from Washington DC facilitated the workshop, while three more representatives from IRI were present as well.