Bangladesh is a country with great social capital and plentiful fertile land combined with social inequality, poor infrastructure, and a lack of access to essential services. Almost a fifth of the 163 million population live on less than $1.90 (£1.40) and struggle to survive. To support local communities, we’re helping families combat the effects of climate change and break out of the cycle of poverty.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated nations with soaring levels of food poverty. With 32% of the land consisting of coastal plains, the smallest fluctuation in rainfall, or worse, a cyclone, can destroy the delicate ecosystems and increase salt levels in both land and water.
As a result, livelihoods are slowly eroded. Over half of families living in these areas experience food shortages for up to six months a year as increased salinity of cultivable land dramatically reduces crop yields. Children therefore become vulnerable to child labour and trafficking, whilst communities risk contracting water-borne diseases.
Islamic Relief has been working in Bangladesh since April 1991 and currently works in 17 districts. Our programmes focus predominately on sustainable development, community empowerment, and some emergency relief.
One of our key goals is to eliminate the chronic levels of household poverty. We work to combat the exponential effects of climate change and resulting climate-induced disasters. We also improve access to safe water sanitation, promote better hygiene practices and tackle issues of discrimination against women and girls, orphans, the elderly, and disabled citizens.
By promoting climate adaptive livelihood options within climate vulnerable households and offering alternative income generating activities, communities have transformed their own lives. They are now more resilient in the face of climate change and disaster.
Our work also prioritises the needs of women and children, particularly protection to empower families to become less vulnerable to early marriage, child labour and sexual harassment. Our Alternative Orphan Sponsorship programme enables children to continue their education whilst also establishing sources of income for parents/carers. Within four years, families become self-sufficient and can lead safer, more dignified lives.