In September 2015, Counterpart International issued the Bangladesh Leadership Development Program (LDP) Final Report. This study reports on a follow-up survey measuring participants’ knowledge and engagement after their training and compares it to their 2013 LDP Baseline Assessment.

Implemented by Counterpart International and 5 local civil society organization partners, LDP was a five-year initiative funded by USAID (2012-2015) aimed at enhancing citizens’ engagement in democratic processes and community development. The program provided training to adult and youth leaders seeking to enhance their knowledge, ability and participation in identifying needs and leading development activities within their communities.

This final report highlights Counterpart’s success in training participants in democratic orientations and participation in community development. While areas for additional focus are identified, and gains vary in magnitude, positive outcomes are apparent across virtually every topic examined.

The study showed the following:

  1. Measurable data that demonstrates positive advances in trainee’s political and community engagement attitudes as well as their commitment to community development.
  2. LDP participants’ in 2015 showed positive advances in democratic orientation including their interest in politics and government, knowledge of how government works, endorsement of democratic values, views of the role of religion in government and views of the roles and rights of women and minorities.

The only indicator with nominal change was use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) such as internet, social media, SMS texting or an internet enabled cell phone to promote democratic principles. Until internet access becomes more widespread, training effects on this outcome will remain negligible.

Key findings of this review included that when compared with the Baseline Assessment of 2013, LDP leaders had a better understanding of democracy, felt more informed about government and were more accepting of the participation of women and minorities. LDP training prepared ad enabled future leaders to participate effectively in efforts to improve conditions in their local communities. The overall results of the assessment indicate that the program was highly successful, with important lessons to be learned for future community leadership training efforts.