Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when A.K.M. Maksud was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Maksud is using education and literacy as an entry point to build citizenship and community development among the nomadic Bedes. He has initiated a carefully designed mobile boat school program that provides uninterrupted primary education to the Bede children as their families travel around the country. To maintain uniform education standards, Maksud recruits and trains teachers from within the community who travel with the boats. From the foundation of education, Maksud recognizes that it is equally important for the Bede communities to exercise other human rights. He is introducing self-governance among the adult Bedes through participatory democratic committees that discuss important issues facing the community and make decisions as a group. Although the government does not formally acknowledge this group Maksud has successfully used media focus and lobbying to get them included in the representative government of the country. By demonstrating that group advocacy can help them achieve significant citizenship and human rights, Maksud is underscoring the importance of education and governance within the community.