Diakonia - People change the world


Diakonia operates in partnership with NGOs in Bangladesh, increasing awareness and respect for human rights, improving access to social and economic resources and action through mainstreaming gender equality. The work is mostly carried out in the rural areas of the country.


Extreme poverty and instability

Bangladesh is a small South Asian country by the Bay of Bengal, bordered by India and Myanmar. The country is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The main income comes from agriculture, the service sector and industries such as garments. People from Bangladesh also migrate to other countries as expats and construction workers.

Bangladesh maintains a steady economic growth and social development. The country  has been successful in reducing its poverty rate - real per-capita income has increased over the last decade. However, there is a substantial inequality in wealth and income. More than one third of the population is struggling with abject poverty, the vast majority of the poor is concentrated in the rural areas and living under the poverty line of $1.25 per day.

Geographically, Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world with cyclones, floods and water-logging, droughts, landslides and earthquakes. These events are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Emitting the least greenhouse gases, Bangladesh is nevertheless extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.

Violence against women is a major concern

Gender based discrimination and particularly violence against women is a major concern and obstacle to real development in Bangladesh. Women suffer from poverty and economic and social disadvantages at much higher rates than men.

Gender discrimination manifests itself in unequal property rights and wages, in violence against women, both at home and outside, in gender stereotyping and in discriminatory beliefs that restrict women’s economic, political, social and cultural opportunities. Women’s economic dependency limits their opportunities to protest against disadvantages or to take action against discrimination within their own family and society.

Our work in Bangladesh

Diakonia is the first registered organisation under the government’s NGO Affairs Bureau. We have been working in Bangladesh since 1970, when  a devastating cyclone hit the southern parts of the country.

The long presence in the country has strengthened our relationships with stakeholders. This enables us to work for equality and justice in different times of difficulties, through support during crises such as disasters; political instability, human rights violations and gender based violence.

Together with our partner organizations we work to empower rights holders, create resilient communities and promote people’s participation in socio-economic, cultural and political governance processes.

The partner organizations work at a national level as well as in various rural districts with a special focus on disadvantaged women and young people. Our partners are also work with community leaders; civil society, local government, media and government authorities.

Some of our results

We have built awareness and respect for human rights; created space for democratic environment, improved access to social and economic resources, broadened disaster mitigation strategies and promoted gender equality.

Together with our partner organizations and the most vulnerable men, women and youth we have strengthened community based actions and support, facilitating community groups such as gender development forums, social entrepreneur groups, adolescent groups, student volunteer groups and village development committees. These groups have been formed by women and men to monitor and respond to violence against women, increase awareness and respect for human rights and uphold people's rights to access social services.
Through this focus, there have been successful cases of communities preventing child marriages and violence against women.

Read more about our work in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh: She feels free on her bicycle

    Samarthy Rani Roy had to face bad comments from boys when she started to go to school on a bicycle. But with more and more girls cycling the overall environment has changed for the better.
  • Bangladesh: Playing football to break gender norms

    “When I started to play football, it was against my father’s will. He thought girls were not supposed to play football. But that changed when my team won a tournament: ‘Okay, girls can play football if they...
  • Bangladesh: Empowering the community

    Power. Power for people to influence the decisions affecting their own community and getting more involved. That is the outcome of a project carried out in the northwest of Bangladesh. Meet some of the people...
  • Bangladesh: No to child marriage

    In Bangladesh, the Diakonia partner Manab Kallyan Parished, MKP, works for equality and human rights. Recently its staff members manages to stop the forced marriage between two little children.    Read more about the work of MKP
  • Bangladesh: Minoti Rani, the Milktrader

    With the support of the Diakonia partner organization Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) Minoti Rani in Bangladesh is now a successful business woman. She looks at the future with hope and expectations. 
  • Bangladesh: Hasem Bepari survived the tragedy at Rana Plaza

    On the 24th of April, the Rana Plaza in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed and thousands of workers got stuck in the rubble. At least three of them are active members of Diakonia's partner organization ADESH. So far, only one of them has been found alive. Here is the story of Hasem Bepari.
  • Bangladesh: BLAST leads case against Rana Plaza owners

    Diakonia's partner organization BLAST is active in the court case against the owners of the Rana Plaza, which collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the 24th of April. In relation to this, BLAST has released a press statement, demanding justice for the victims of the tragedy. More about BLAST's press release
  • More than 1,000 people found dead after accident in Dhaka

    A nine-story building, Rana Plaza, collapsed on the 24th of April 2013 in the Savar area in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka. Staff from Diakonia's office in Bangladesh and dedicated activists from our partner organization ADESH were involved in the rescue operation. More about the accident
  • Bangladesh: PARTNER wins award for tree plantation

    In Bangladesh, Diakonia's partner organization PARTNER has received a prestigious award for its environmental protection work from the Government of Bangladesh. The award was given to PARTNER by the Prime Minister at a ceremony in June 2012. The tree plantation project was a cooperation between Diakonia, PARTNER and local communities. More about PARTNER's award