Since 1999, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh has been working
with low-income families to build decent homes and repair or
renovate their houses. To improve the health of families, HFH
Bangladesh and its partners provide access to clean water and safe
sanitation, and raise personal hygiene standards. Find out more at
The housing need in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is among the most populous countries in the world with
more than 1,100 people packed into every square kilometer. Nearly
one-third of the 160 million population is living below the national
poverty line, according to World Bank’s data in 2010. More than two
million people in the capital city of Dhaka either live in slums or are
without any proper shelter. Urban migration is mainly due to better
employment opportunities, especially in the readymade garments
sector, and educational opportunities. While most people migrate for
economic reasons, more than 26 per cent leave for the cities because
of natural disasters, river erosion and recurrent flooding.
How Habitat addresses the need in Bangladesh
HFH Bangladesh works with partners and volunteers to provide decent homes as a way out of poverty. Responding to disasters such as cyclones or storms has enabled Habitat to help Bangladeshi
families rebuild more resilient homes. Improving communities’ access to clean water and safe sanitation along with raising hygiene standards lead to better attendance in school and greater economic productivity.
Improved living conditions and health through housing and WaSH Intervention
HFH Bangladesh is working in Dhaka and Gazipur districts as well as in the north to implement integrated housing, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) projects. In a partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), 164 low income families will receive new houses or repair their houses while 62 permanent latrines will be built and 32 tube wells will be installed. The wider community in these districts will also receive WaSH training.
Community-based disaster mitigation and preparedness
Funding support comes from partners such as the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Australian Government Direct Aid Program and Habitat programs in Great Britain and Canada.
In urban Mymensingh, HFH Bangladesh is working with Dutch and Korean partners in separate projects to build up the local community. The partnership with Foundation Op Eigen Wieken from the Netherlands aims at promoting a healthy living environment, particularly for women, children and young girls. Habitat will provide technical support to help female-headed households improve their housing. In the same area, a KOICA-funded multi-purpose building will serve as a community center for social gatherings and livelihood training as well as provide classrooms and a public library. The building also comes with gender-specific public toilets and bath houses.
Meet a Habitat family
Collecting water used to be a daily struggle for Shabana, a 30-year-old mother of four, who lives in Talab camp
in Dhaka. Things have changed since HFH Bangladesh installed wells in the community and provided water filters for home use. Shabana is among some 3,000 people who received AusAID-funded training in WaSH and waste management. Shabana said: “Everyone is feeling good and happy that something has been done for the community.”
With Habitat’s help, Shabana replaced the old mud floor of her house with a cement floor. The home is now more
comfortable for Shabana, and her three daughters and a son. Shabana became the sole breadwinner after her husband left the family five years ago. Shabana and her two older daughters, Popy, 13, and Roshni, 10, work from home. By sewing beads on shoes, they earn about 1,000 taka (US$13) a week. More importantly, replacing the flimsy wooden door with a steel door which can be locked has made the familyof mostly females feel more secure.
Urban slum upgrading
HFH Bangladesh is partnering with HFH Australia to strengthen the Beguntila slum in Dhaka through the
provision of clean water supply, improved toilets, communal bath houses and training in better hygiene. The project has the potential of being replicated in another urban slum.
- June 2011: HFH Bangladesh successfully completed a 10 month WaSH (water and sanitation and hygiene awareness) project funded by AusAID through HFH Australia. This project assisted 4,250 individuals by providing training, knowledge and awareness on WaSH issues while an additional 201 families have benefited from improved sanitation facilities.
- March 2011: HFH Bangladesh started a community-based disaster mitigation project to help 280 low-income vulnerable families in Satkira and Netrokona districts. Habitat will provide training, technical and financial assistance to make houses more disaster-resilient. In addition, 2,700 people from the communities, along with Village Disaster Management Committee members, are expected to be trained in disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction and mitigation. The project is funded by Jersey Overseas Aid Commission through HFH Great Britain.
Population: 166.3 million (July 2014 est.)
Urbanization: 28.4 percent lives in cities (2011)
Life expectancy: 71 years
Unemployment rate: 5% (2013 est.)
Population living below poverty line: 31.5 percent (2010 est.)
Access to improved: 84.8 percent (2012 est.)
Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities: 57 percent (2012 est.)
Sources: World Factbook