Diakonia - People change the world


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

  • Hunger looms for Nazmul Huda and his family

    When the Bangladeshi government closed all workplaces, Nazmul Huda’s life changed overnight. A painter paid on a day-by-day basis, he was now out of work and the money he had would only buy food for a week....
  • Young people are saving lives

    In Bangladesh, Diakonia’s partner organization BARCIK quickly began working to curb the spread of Covid-19. Now, youth groups are trying to provide information and help to people living in rural areas and the...
  • Karate creates a new role

    It’s sometimes said that 1+1=3. The idea is that if you combine two things, they become greater than the sum of their parts. This is how it seems to work with karate + knowledge 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 pond

    The 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....
  • 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...
  • 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

Download documents

Fact sheet about Diakonia in Bangladesh 654 KB PDF