Bangladesh: Health and neighbourhood development programme

Fighting poverty means training women and improving their position. YWCA Bangladesh does this at 13 different locations with its health and community development programme.

Background Bangladesh and Programme Environment

Bangladesh has 160 million inhabitants, 20 million of them live in the capital Dhaka.
The political situation has calmed down, no more strikes for two years, the corruption index has fallen from around 140 to 100 The income is growing, but at the same time the needs are growing because globalization (Internet, social media) shows what is possible and in.

The South Asian state is known as one of the world's largest textile producers. However, Bangladesh's global economic relevance to the textile industry must not obscure poverty, social grievances and health problems. There is a lack of running water, hygiene awareness, organised medical care and a qualitative education system. In addition to inadequate health care, the problems are caused by poorly trained social workers and political instability. One third of the population is between 15 and 34 years old. According to World Bank statistics, 78% of Bangladeshi live below the poverty line of CHF 3 per day, 44% of them below CHF 2 per day. Two thirds of all children are undernourished or malnourished. 40% of people have no toilet. 56% of births take place at home, without the help of obstetricians. (Source: World Development Indicators of the World Bank)

Target Groups

A health and neighbourhood development programme (Health and Community Development Programm; HCDP) with 750 employees looks after around 75,000 women and their families. Women receive training in health, education, income generation, women's rights and environmental awareness.

Aims

The HCDP strives for a sustainable livelihood, good health for the beneficiaries and secure women's rights. Women are looked after, build up knowledge and acquire skills and competencies. They are involved in community networks and campaigns. At the same time, YWCA is pursuing a holistic approach with the training of children and young people, which has a positive effect on the micro, meso and macro levels.

The beneficiaries should control their own behaviour and improve their social and economic position in society (empowerment). As a result, maternal and child mortality rates are falling and at the same time the average family income is rising above the poverty line of CHF 2 per day.
The HCDP concentrates on the five thematic areas:

  • Organisational development, women and junior managers
  • Social, health and sexual rights of women
  • Economic equality of women
  • Democracy and good governance
  • Awareness raising and prevention in the field of climate change

Activities & Effects

Organisational Development, Women and Junior Managers

YWCA Bangladesh's forty years of experience and successes show that women's organisations make an existential contribution to gender equality. The focus here is on mobilising and empowering women to know their rights and to demand them.

Activities
  • Social development activities
  • Leadership seminars/ workshops
  • 13 different International Women's Day events
  • 13 Seminars on equality
Effect

By learning and implementing what they have learned, women help themselves and become leading advocates of their rights. They use the offers to exchange their physical condition, social, intellectual and spiritual experiences and abilities.

Social, Health and Sexual Rights of Women

The legal inequality between men and women in Bangladesh is the cause of the discrimination and poverty of women in Bangladesh's society. The untiring commitment to women's rights is YWCA's core task.

Activities
  • Seminars and workshops on "reproductive health
  • Courses on HIV/AIDS
  • 900 events on breast and uterine cancer
  • Women are informed about their rights and gender equality
Effect

Strengthening women's social, cultural and health rights in both the private and public spheres.
The society is sensitized to communicable and increasingly occurring diseases (e.g. breast and uterine cancer).

Economic Equality of Women

Every two weeks, the microcredit groups meet to pay in the savings deposit (30 centimes to approx. 1 franc). The meetings are important discussion and training forums. At the same time, women continue their education in the following topics: health and child education, hygiene, women's rights, early marriage or domestic violence. By reading and discussing the current media together, women learn, become aware of their own situation and at the same time strengthen their leadership qualities.

Activities
  • Discussion rounds on saving and lending groups
  • Women and men from YWCA savings groups take part in group meetings
  • Microloans in the amount of CHF 1,650,000 are granted to group members.
  • Employees participate in job trainings, workshops, seminars
Effect
  • Building up technical and market-related knowledge enables members to generate income and thus reduce their poverty.
  • Women in marginalised groups have access to loans at preferential conditions to support their business profitability.
  • Promotion, further training and support in finding and evaluating business ideas increase the chances of unemployed women in the labour market.

Democracy and Good Governance

Every two weeks, the microcredit groups meet to pay in the savings deposit (30 centimes to approx. 1 franc). The meetings are important discussion and training forums. At the same time, women continue their education in the following topics: health and child education, hygiene, women's rights, early marriage or domestic violence. By reading and discussing the current media together, women learn, become aware of their own situation and at the same time strengthen their leadership qualities.

Activities
  • Members take part in the 45 events on "Democracy & Responsible Leadership".
Effect
  • The culturally induced gender equality deficit is tackled on a grassroots basis:
    Women are sensitized and empowered to raise their voices and to participate in decision-making processes. They thus improve their living conditions and contribute to the development of democratic values.
  • Participants receive social security in the form of retirement provisions or scholarships.
  • Member groups are involved in the budget preparation of the administration.

Awareness Raising and Prevention in the Field of Climate Change

Statutory environmental rights mean access to unspoilt natural resources that allow a dignified life. This includes land, housing, food, water and air. In Bangladesh, these environmental rights are massively affected, especially for poor people and marginalised groups, as a result of disasters, environmental degradation and climate change. The YWCA programme on environmental justice raises awareness of this discrimination and in particular of environmental protection.

Activities
  • Construction of latrines and wells
  • Provision of seedlings and plants for schools, children, students and civilians
  • Events on environmental protection, disaster relief and climate change
  • Demonstrations on climate change to raise society's awareness
  • Awareness raising material, building social networks with governmental and non-governmental organisations at local and national level, developing joint measures
Effect
  • Strengthening the competence, capacity and measures of authorities and residents to reduce environmental pollution and disaster risks.
  • Youth groups and pupils become active as actors and change leaders in informing and raising awareness about sustainable environmental and climate policy.

 

 

Results (2018)

Organizational development for women and junior managers

  • 2,196 women actively participated in social development activities.
  • 539 women participated in leadership seminars/workshops.
  • 2,189 women attended the International Women's Day events at YWCA's 13 local offices.
  • 3,038 women attended a workshop on the prevention of violence against women.

Women's social, health and sexual rights

  • 4,968 women took an active role in family decisions regarding the enrolment of their girls.
  • 2,229 members attended seminars and workshops on reproductive health.
  • 5,000 women participated in courses on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • On 273 occasions, 5,406 women were informed about breast and uterine cancer.
  • 539 women were examined in 6 screening programmes.
  • 3,518 women were informed about their rights and gender equality.

Economic equality for women

  • 2,641 members of a savings group have founded a small business.
  • 21,079 women and men from 1,852 YWCA savings groups attended group meetings.
  • 6,252 women have increased their household incomes.
  • Microloans amounting to CHF 4,232,448 were granted to the group members.
  • 278 beneficiaries attend job training courses, workshops and seminars on the subject of small entrepreneurship

Democracy and good governance

  • 4,968 women were sensitised and enabled to raise their voices and to participate in decision-making processes within the family.
  • 1040 participants received social security in the form of retirement provisions or scholarships under the microcredit programme.
  • 4 women were elected community leaders on local committees.
  • 2,127 women took part in the 73 events on "Democracy and Responsible Leadership".

Awareness-raising and prevention in the field of environment and climate change

  • 14,041 households have access to clean drinking water
  • 12'704 households used the sanitary facilities
  • 56 youth environmental groups with a total of 964 participants were founded
  • 1,640 young women played an active role as change leaders for environmental protection
  • 802 trees were planted by students of the community schools.
  • 1,550 trees were distributed to the population for reforestation of the communities.
  • 4,800 people took part in events on environmental protection, disaster relief and climate change.
  • In 201 public demonstrations, society was sensitized to the topic of climate change.

 

Locations

Erfahrungsberichte

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Further information

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Facts about the program

Title: Health and neighbourhood development
Partner organization: YWCA of Bangladesh (BGD)
Location: Barisal, Birisiri, Chandpur, Chittagong, Comilla, Dhaka, Dinajpur, Gopalgonj, Jessore, Khagrachary, Khulna, Pabna, Savar
Goal: Education, health promotion and income generation for disadvantaged young women
Target group: 22,000 beneficiaries women and children from the slums of 13 towns and villages
Required funds 2019: CHF 280'000
Duration: 2019-2020
Responsible: Susanne Furler, susanne.furler@horyzon.ch

Horyzon is withdrawing from YWCA Bangladesh's health and community development program by the end of 2020 after more than 30 years of commitment. More Information

Facts about Bangladesh

Capital: Dhaka
Population: 165 mill.
Human Development Index: 0.608 (rank 136.)
Life expectancy: 72.8 years
Median age: 25.6 years
Youth unemployment (15-24 years): 11.4%

Source: Human Development Report