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Base de données d'évaluation

Evaluation report

BAN 1999/800: Rapid Assessment on the Operational Status of the Para Centres in the Hill Districts

Author: Hussain Khan, A.; Kabir, K.; Ahsan, K.; Sharifullah, A.K.; Islam, S.; Nasim Akhter, B.

Executive summary


The Chittagong Hill Tract Development Board (CHTDB), created in 1976, is the major governmental agency for local planning and development in the region. UNICEF has been assisting the CHTDB in the implementation of "Integrated Community Development Project" (ICDP) since 1980. The major activities of the project include construction of community centres (Para Centres); pre-school; grade 1 and 2 learning; health and sanitation education; and income generation. The Para Workers, majority of whom are Tribal women, are entrusted with the responsibilities of pre-school learning, setting up and maintaining a kitchen garden, and motivation of the community, especially women, in health and hygiene education.

Purpose / Objective

The primary objective of the study was to know the feelings of the local community about the para centres and the level of performance of the para workers. The specific objectives of the study were the following:
- Appraisal of the para centres by the local community
- Appraisal of the para workers by the local community
- Appraisal of the overall management of the project activity
- Identify the future role of the para centres through the perspectives of the community at various levels (children, community, local leaders, para workers, CHTDB etc.)


30 para centres were selected from the 1,681 centres in three hill districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. 10 centres were randomly selected from each predetermined category of "good," "moderate" and "poor" determined by project personnel. Focus group discussions were held with the communities of the para centre; with the mother of children attending para centres; and with the children attending the para centre. Questionnaires were developed for rapid assessment of the para centre; household community survey; key informants; and "project management aspect" for project personnel. Interviews were held with local inhabitants of the selected para centres; public representatives of the three hill districts including the chairman of the Regional Hill District Council; traditional kings of the hill areas; concerned district, thana and field officials of the three hill districts; para workers of all the selected centres; and selected project personnel including the Project Director of ICDP.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The concept of para centres is well appreciated by all levels of people, from the grass roots community beneficiaries to the Chairman of the Regional Hill District Council.

On average, 75% of children were attending the centre for pre-schooling. Attendance is around 76%. 93% of children interviewed who attend the para centres feel "good" for attending class; 7% felt "moderate." Children were tested for counting capability, alphabet reading, picture/colour identification, word building, translation of word, and rhyme/drawing. Scores were mainly in the moderate or poor range.

The majority of para workers had "satisfactory" health knowledge, with perhaps a quarter excellent. Immunisation rates ranged from 70% to 80%. Most of the respondents were aware of the importance of using iodised salt 94% and breast feeding 97%.

The site selection of many of the para centres was not done properly, which ultimately lead to problems in achieving project objectives. Additionally, the physical construction of the para centre was very weak and temporary in most situations.

The quantity of education materials in the para centre was found to be insufficient, specially books. Only two books were supplied to each para centre. The book is not available at the local market.

Through visiting the para centre and discussing with the para workers as well as the para community, it seems that monitoring and supervisory activities are not up to the desired level.


Para centres should be established within the central part of the local community for easy access of children to the centre. Necessary repairs should be made. Para centres need to be more permanent. There is also a chronic problem of drinking water in the remote hill communities. A well should be supplied for each para centre along with sanitary latrines. There is an extreme need to supply sufficient materials to the centres.

Para worker selection criteria should be for the SSC level of education instead of class VIII to maintain quality. Project monitoring needs to be improved. Specific organisational changes are given. The project is gradually expanding its area of operation but the number of Para Officers is not increasing.

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Report information





ECD - Center Based Care

Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development


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