Cordaid has been working in Bangladesh since 1972 and established its first office in 2013. Thanks to this strong base, Cordaid can provide comprehensive technical assistance to local partners and work in difficult-to-reach areas. We work on an array of topics and challenges, such as humanitarian crises, sustainable food systems, climate change, private sector development and health care. In Bangladesh, we have directly impacted the lives of more than 2.5 million people.
Bangladesh is among the five fastest-growing economies of the world, with an average GDP growth rate of 7% in the last 3 years (World Bank). The export-led manufacturing sector, the construction sector and the service sector experienced a growth rate of 12.7%, 34.6% and 6% per year respectively. The country is on track to achieve many targets set by the United Nations in the sustainable development goals.
Despite the growth, there are some serious challenges as well. The country is hosting 900,976 forcibly displaced Myanmar Nationals, who have fled the violent conflict in 2017. Aid organisations have responded to the crisis, but more than half of the refugees living in the settlement are still going hungry and are struggling to become self-reliant.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many people into poverty. 31% of the population is living below the poverty line. With 60% of the population aged below 35, the country deals with a lot of unemployment (4.2%) and underemployment, particularly among the youth.
The agricultural sector, an important employer accounting for 14% of the GDP, is severely impacted by climate change. Bangladesh is ranked the 5th country in the world in terms of economic losses due to climate change, with an estimate of $3.72 billion in total loss (Light Castle 2021).
Cordaid in Bangladesh
Sustainable food systems
We work with smallholder farmers in food production, value chain development and private sector engagement. We also connect farmers to producer groups, aggregation centres, markets and online sales platforms.
Climate change and resilience
We support people with climate-smart technologies, including salt-tolerant crops, weather forecasting, disaster preparedness and disaster response. With innovative models for waste management and a circular economy, for example in refugee communities, we provide vital solutions for environmental challenges.
Skills and entrepreneurship development
With our certified partner organisations, we provide technical and vocational training, educational activities on entrepreneurship and leadership development, focusing on sustainable jobs. We also link participants to local employers and create group-based enterprises and markets.
Private sector development
Cordaid supports small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing business development services, coaching, and increasing access to finance and markets. We work closely with the private sector to expand supply chains to remote areas. By supporting start-ups in developing their production and supply chain and linking them with people in rural areas, we increase the income opportunities for both individuals and companies.
We have a strong track record on nutrition, maternal and adolescent health services, universal health coverage, strengthening health facilities and governance systems, and establishing the last-mile distribution of nutritious and hygiene products.
To improve sanitation and hygiene, we focus on behaviour change, strengthening local government institutions, entrepreneurship and market-based solutions.
We apply an innovative approach focusing on the self-reliance of refugees and enhancing social cohesion between refugees and the host community. Key activities include distributing food, facilitating skills development, connecting refugees and the host community for livelihoods and markets and upcycling plastic waste.
Lobby and advocacy
We support partners striving for changes in policy and governance structures by promoting the right to adequate food and guaranteed access and control over natural resources. Lobby and advocacy efforts focus on the role of the private sector in society regarding human rights and the inclusion of small producers, among other things.