The report gives a valuable overview of women-led sustainable development programmes in various areas such as education, healthcare, trainings in leadership, legal aid or housing developed by the PDAP. Published in collaboration with the Huairou Commission and the Association of Development agencies in Bangladesh (ADAB), the Grassroots people: Development in Bangladesh report highlights the direct relation between gender equality and development. “There are still many barriers to gender equality but things are changing” said Dr.Quazi Baby, PDAP Secretary and author of the report. With diverse development interventions, PDAP strives to bring about positive economic and social changes.
A study conducted by PDAP’s field workers in Mirpur (district in the northeast of Dhaka) evaluated the barriers and challenges that vulnerable populations encounter in the area. The data collection was difficult as the women interviewed were not keen on sharing information at first, so the process took time as the organisation had to build their trust. “Vulnerable populations do not have easy access to local governments. PDAP is an interface between the community and government representatives” said Dr Quazi Baby.
Women in leadership for sustainable community resilience
To ensure continued dialogue between the community and the government, PDAP has implemented innovative initiatives to strengthen the leadership role of women in community resilience. For example, the “Local to Local Dialogue” workshops provide opportunities to address issues raised by the women-led community groups. The women group leaders from Mirpur can raise their concerns on social issues to the local council representatives. Cases of sexual harassment and corruption are brought to the attention of the representatives and, at a later stage, to the law enforcement services.
“Despite many obstacles, women became leaders in Mirpur” said Dr Quazi Baby. Putting these vulnerable women in a leadership role hasled to many changes in dealing with social issues. PDAP is also part of Bangladesh’s Community Practitioners Platform (CPP).
CPP is a network that brings together diverse local, national, and regional stakeholders committed to supporting women-led community resilient development. PDAP encourages its women group leaders to take part in the CPP and share the lessons learned from their experiences.
“Building community resilience is essential for the development of Bangladesh” insisted Quazi. The Grassroots people: Development in Bangladesh report brings forward alternatives to gender inequality and promotes women-led sustainable development in Bangladesh.
Although gender equality is still a challenge, PDAP looks ahead with the support of the government. The organisation will participate in the upcoming World Urban Forum, where Quazi will bring along one of Mirpur’s community women leaders to share her experience of community resilience.
It took 5 to 10 years to build effective local women-led groups. The initiative has now been developed in Chittagong, another district of Dhaka, and Rajshahi, a metropolitan city located in northern Bangladesh.
Downloads and links
- Grassroots people: development in Bangladesh report [ENGLISH1.53 MB]