Written by Phyllis Richards
Bangladesh, in the northeastern portion of the Indian subcontinent, was a province of Pakistan from 1947 to 1971 when it gained its independence after a war of liberation. First as part of British India and then of Pakistan, the area now constituting Bangladesh suffered from chronic economic neglect. Health and welfare services in Bangladesh are limited. In 1999 the country had one physician for every 6,028 residents and one hospital bed for every 3,279 inhabitants. Much of the welfare work in the country is administered by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
The Church of Bangladesh was formed in 1970. It has been related to Global Ministries since its inception. The Church of Bangladesh Social Development Programme is very closely associated with the church's ministry, covering the areas around the different dioceses of the Church of Bangladesh, the Deaneries, and the local parishes. In most cases CBSDP programs address issues and problems in order to directly benefit the church's congregations and the surrounding communities.
As poverty is the biggest problem in Bangladesh, the Community Development Project has a long-range plan of raising the standard of living of its constituents so as to reduce social, economic, and cultural inequality. Its strategy is to provide empowerment to groups of people in need by helping them to improve their socio-economic conditions, achieve gender equality, develop the youth and improve the status of their health. A list of potential beneficiaries prioritizes the rural poor and disadvantaged, unemployed youth, the landless and near-landless people, and women (who will constitute the majority).
The objectives of the Community Development Project are:
To enhance the potential and capacity of beneficiaries through training and education.
To promote the status and empowerment of women and reduce gender discrimination.
To improve the health status of the poor through primary health care in areas such as HIV/AIDS education, etc.
To empower youth by creating opportunities for them to gain access to job training and jobs.
CBSDP uses a comprehensive approach to development based on a system that creates groups of people to address Organizational and People Capacity Building, Savings and Credit Program, Health Education, Eco-Agriculture and Social Forestry, Gender and Youth Development, Training, etc. It has eight projects in 14 districts in different parts of Bangladesh.
One Great Hour of Sharing is providing $20,000 in support of the Community Development Project.
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