Individuals served in FY19: 10,590
Volunteers engaged in FY19: 456
- Population: Almost 162.7 million
- Life expectancy: 72 years
- Unemployment rate: 4.2 percent
- Population living below the poverty line: 24.3 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Bangladesh
Since 1999, Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh has been working with low-income families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. Habitat Bangladesh currently operates in Dhaka, Chattogram, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Khulna and Barishal districts. The programs include decent, affordable housing, clean water and safe sanitation, training in appropriate construction technology as well as disaster response and mitigation.
The housing need in Bangladesh
While Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction, one in four people is still living in poverty, according to the World Bank group.The capital Dhaka is the most crowded city in the world with 41,000 people per square kilometer, based on a Demographia survey in 2019. People move to urban centers in search of work or after losing their homes and livelihoods following disasters fueled by climate change. UNICEF estimates there are 4 million slum dwellers in Dhaka. Three in four slum households live in one room, mostly in dwellings made of poor quality construction materials. They often lack access to clean water, safe sanitation and waste management. Slum dwellers face eviction threats as well as disaster risks from living in low-lying areas.
How Habitat addresses the need in Bangladesh
Habitat 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.
Decent, affordable housing and advocacy
Future homeowners build core houses comprising one room, a toilet and a veranda with the option of expanding their living space in the future. Habitat Bangladesh provides technical support to families and training to construction workers in building or renovating homes.
With funding from the Australian government, Habitat had improved the lives of about 9,000 slum dwellers in Dhaka city in its first urban project that began in 2012. Habitat Bangladesh also engages multi-sector partners through urban forums and dialogues organized since 2014. In April 2019, Habitat Bangladesh and other members of a multi-sector steering committee launched the Bangladesh Housing Forum —a collaboration platform for local housing stakeholders —at a national seminar in Dhaka. The committee also issued a seven-point declaration to address housing and land issues in Bangladesh.
Disaster response and mitigation
Habitat helps disaster-affected families through the distribution of emergency shelter kits and transitional housing in the initial phase and provides technical support when reconstruction takes place. Since 2007, Habitat has enabled more than 5,000 families to rebuild their homes and lives and to better prepare for future disasters.
While Habitat Bangladesh is currently not hosting Global Village builds, local volunteers continue to lend their support. Through the annual Habitat Young Leaders Build, young people raise awareness and funds and speak up for housing needs. A total of 456 individuals put in almost 4,660 volunteer hours in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.