Bangladesh -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
BANGLADESH, A GIANT DELTA region formed by the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, is flat, low-lying and subject to droughts, river erosion, cyclones and especially floods. Flooding engulfed nearly two-thirds of the country in 2004, damaging nearly a million homes and destroying almost two million acres of crops.
In addition to being a frequent victim of natural disasters, Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. An estimated 45 per cent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day in 2004.
Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh started in 1999 in Mymensingh district, some 120 km. north of the capital, Dhaka. Since then, HFH Bangladesh has increased its services into 15 areas around the country.
To reach out to lower-income families, HFH Bangladesh introduced Save & Build, a Habitat housing microfinance program that enabled these families to pool their savings to build their own houses. The home partner’s average monthly repayment is about US$8
In Bangladesh, Habitat uses the Building in Stages model that allows a family to extend their home once the initial mortgage has been repaid. A core two-room house measures between about 13.5 sq. m. and 20 sq. m.
Habitat is also emphasizing the development of Habitat Resource Centers (HRCs) to extend the reach of its programs. The HRCs are partnering with non-governmental organizations with microfinance expertise in order to build cost-effective and sustainable housing. Apart from developing new systems, technologies and house designs through HRCs, HFH Bangladesh is also looking to increase its capacity to respond to disasters.
HFH Bangladesh has built various partnerships that give its programs a vital boost. Among Habitat’s partners are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as World Concern, World Vision and Hunger Free World, oil major Unocal/Chevron, local NGO Dipshikha, and international schools in Dhaka.
Volunteers from within the country and overseas also contributed their labor on builds in Bangladesh. Habitat has hosted volunteer teams from Japan, India and the United States while youth teams from international schools have also lent a hand.
• An 11-member team from the Japan Exchange and Teaching program built two houses in Haluaghat in Mymensingh district, in April 2006. A month earlier another team from Japan, from Doshisha University, constructed six houses in Jessore, western Bangladesh. Earlier volunteers from Meiji Gajuin University built three houses in Kaliganj.
• More than 20 volunteers from the American International School built three houses in Tala, Satkhira district in western Bangladesh, in spring 2006.
• In 2003, Indian students travelled to Bangladesh to take part in “Across the Border Build”. The following year in 2004, Bangladeshi students reciprocated with a build in the eastern Indian state of Orissa
• A “Children's Summit” on housing rights for children attracted about 250 students from 17 local schools to raise awareness of poverty housing through paintings, speeches, theatre
Population: 147,365,352 (July 2006 est.)
Area: 144,000 sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Bengali 98%, tribal groups, non-Bengali Muslims
Languages: Bangla (official, also known as Bengali), English
Religions: Muslim 83%, Hindu 16%, other 1%
Updated August 2007