Diakonia operates in partnership with NGOs in Bangladesh, increasing awareness and respect for human rights and gender equality, improving access to social and economic resources. The work is mostly carried out in the rural areas of the country.
Bangladesh is a small South Asian country by the Bay of Bengal, bordered by India and Burma/Myanmar. The country is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The main sources of income are agriculture, the service sector and the textile industries.
Bangladesh maintains 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 substantial inequality in wealth and income. More than one third of the population is struggling in abject poverty. The vast majority of the poor is concentrated to 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, waterlogging, droughts, landslides and earthquakes. These events are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Despite emitting the lowest volume of greenhouse gases, Bangladesh is nevertheless extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.
Violence against women - an obstacle to development
Gender-based discrimination, particularly violence against women is a major concern and an 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 in the home and outside it, 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
We have been working in Bangladesh since 1970, when a devastating cyclone hit the southern parts of the country. This makes Diakonia the first organization registered under the government’s NGO Affairs Bureau.
Our long presence in the country has strengthened our relationships with stakeholders. This enables us to work for equality and justice in times of difficulty, by offering 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 also work with community leaders, civil society, local government, media and government authorities.
We have built awareness and respect for human rights, created scope for a democratic environment, improved access to social and economic resources, broadened disaster mitigation strategies and promoted gender equality.
Diakonia’s work makes a difference
Together with our partner organizations and the most vulnerable men, women and young people, 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 to monitor and respond to violence against women, increase awareness and respect for human rights and uphold people's right to access social services. Through this focus, we have seen successful cases of communities preventing child marriages and violence against women.
Read more about our work in Bangladesh
“Knowledge is power”These words are from Ripu Akther, aged 16, in Bangladesh. “I want to spread the light of education everywhere in my village,” she adds. “I dream of becoming a good teacher. My village is off the beaten track,...
Played a key role in repairing the community's pondThe pond was vital for the community’s living, but heavy rainfall damaged one of the embankments, and water and fish started to escape. The money needed for the repairs was beyond the poor villagers’ capacity....
The river bank turned into a green landWhen cyclone Aila hit the south of Bangladesh in 2007, the village of Pankhipara was inundated by saline water. Whole areas of the river bank were washed away and became infertile land. Today – thanks to a...
Bangladesh: Our society doesn’t appreciate girls playing football.“My greatest desire is to become a famous football player in the national team. When I play in front of hundreds of people, I feel proud and like a big player. Our society doesn’t appreciate girls playing...
Wanted the same freedom as the boysA two-wheeler with an iron structure, the so-called bicycle has given a girl the feeling of flying like a bird and to have the taste of freedom. This is thanks to a gender project in the northern part of...
Bangladesh: She feels free on her bicycleSamarthy 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 communityPower. 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 marriageIn 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