The hyper-salinity of the soil caused by recurrent floods makes agriculture particularly difficult and threatens people’s livelihoods. Food insecurity and malnutrition are increasing. These nutritional problems are aggravated by the poor bacteriological quality of the water, as well as the presence of arsenic in the country’s main water sources.
Bangladesh is experiencing rapid urbanization, with populations migrating to the cities to escape rural poverty and natural disasters. Between 300,000 and 400,000 people arrive in Dhaka every year, and 30% of them settle in one of the capital’s 5,000 slums, where the lack of access to drinking water and electricity, unhealthy conditions and pollution are glaring. These invisible and marginalized populations cannot make their voices heard and claim their rights alone.
The country is also facing in the Cox’s Bazaar region, the influx of more than 900,000 Rohingya from neighboring Myanmar, mostly since August 25, 2017 following the wave of violence in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar. These hundreds of thousands of people face an inextricable humanitarian situation and alarming needs in terms of protection, food security, health and nutrition and access to basic services such as water, hygiene and sanitation. After more than 3 years, the presence of these refugees has led to critical pressure on the management of water, food and shelter resources, access to land, and renewed tensions with the already vulnerable host communities in the area. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has further exacerbated the various challenges faced by Bangladesh and the Rohingya who are refugees there.
- 163,5 million inhabitants
- 21.8% of poverty rate
- 135th out of 189 on the Human Development Index
opened in 2007
- Team 200 national staff
- Budget 7M€
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been operating in Bangladesh since 2007 mainly on activities to respond to natural disasters and combat problems related to unsafe water, contaminated by bacteria, arsenic or sea water. Our teams are working to improve the health of local populations or Rohingya refugees, through better access to drinking water, in particular through infrastructure or domestic purification techniques, but also through the construction of latrines, treatment of fecal sludge, distribution of hygiene kits and the implementation of awareness campaigns.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s activities also aim to respond to the risks of natural disasters impacting water quality and food security, and are aimed at reducing disaster risks and strengthening the resilience of populations.
In Satkhira, to fight against malnutrition and loss of income of mainly rural populations exposed to natural disasters, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL works in partnership with a local NGO to provide training and distribute more resistant tools and seeds to farmers. In Teknaf, and in 2020 in Bandarban, risk management committees have been created to sensitize and prepare the populations to natural disasters, and thus increase their adaptation and mitigation capacities.
In Dhaka, slum dwellers formed into community associations are supported to claim and exercise their right to access quality water and sanitation and to participate in local governance in collaboration with local authorities, through the strengthening of their technical knowledge and capacities.
Following the August 2017 crisis, a new large wave of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar’s Rakhine State arrived in Southeast Bangladesh, more precisely in the Teknaf district where SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL had already been working since 2010. At the forefront of the emergency response to this influx, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL continues to meet the vital needs of refugees and vulnerable host communities in Teknaf and Ukhia districts. These actions are focused in the sectors of water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL also plays a coordinating role of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partners in the host communities of the Teknaf area.
In 2020, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL was able to adapt its action to meet the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, our activities have mainly focused on essential activities such as water supply, hygiene promotion and sanitation in order to limit the spread of the virus in the camps and among the host populations. Specific activities related to the identification of contact cases have allowed us to develop a targeted response that allows the disinfection of public infrastructures and affected households. Finally, the distribution of cash to the most vulnerable beneficiaries helped to mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
Just a few days after Cyclone Amphan hit the coast of Bangladesh in May 2020, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL deployed an immediate emergency response to meet the basic needs of the affected populations and subsequently strengthen the infrastructure damaged by the cyclone.
Implementing Partners: Action contre la Faim (ACF), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Clowns Without Borders, Ground Water Relief, Cart’ONG, Resource Integration Centre (RIC), Traidcraft, Sushilan, GRAUS
Funds: OFDA/BHA, ECHO, EuropeAid, Crisis and Support Center, SDC, Fondation AGIR, BPRM à travers IOM, EU, DFID/FCDO à travers UNOPS, Start Fund Bangladesh
Multisectoral response to emergencies
116 130 beneficiaries
– Distribution of purifying tablets and hygiene equipment
– Prevention and response to epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic through disinfection of affected homes, installation of hand washing stations, distribution of hygiene kits and sensitization of communities
– Unconditional cash distribution
– Reconstruction of damaged collective and individual infrastructures, through the direct participation of the beneficiaries
Empowerment and resilience of vulnerable populations
47 701 beneficiaries
– Advocacy for access to public services for the most marginalized populations (agricultural aid in rural areas, drinking water and sanitation in shantytowns)
– Creation and accompaniment of Income Generating Activities
– Community training session on waste management in the slums
– Specific support for agricultural and food professions: provision of resistant cereal seeds, improved granaries, training in maritime safety for fishermen, creation and support of mobile veterinary units, improvement of sanitary conditions for butchers, etc
– Accompaniment to the development of domestic market gardening
– Cash-for-work programs for the realization of mitigation and protection infrastructures
– Capacity building of Disaster Management Committees
– Collective awareness-raising sessions on disaster prevention
Sustainable and inclusive access to water, sanitation and hygiene services
49 495 beneficiaries
– Hygiene awareness
– Construction, renovation and maintenance of water points
– Management and maintenance of faecal sludge treatment sites
– Maintenance and operation of water networks in refugee camps
– Creation and reactivation of water point management committees
– Construction, renovation and maintenance of latrines and sanitation infrastructure
Should you have any questions, please contact Raphaëlle Goepfert.
News from Bangladesh
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Bangladesh: our emergency response
Rohingya: organise the response, relieve suffering
At head office