Community Development Project – Indorkani
The Church of Bangladesh Social Development Program (CBSDP) is the development wing of the Church of Bangladesh (COB), a long-standing partner of Global Ministries. In addition to conducting spiritual and moral leadership, the Church of Bangladesh has an extensive history of charity works in education, health and other basic human needs.
Bangladesh is situated between India, Myanmar, and the Bay of Bengal. This densely populated region the size of New York State, is home to more than 150 million people (half the population of the United States). Each year millions of people are displaced as a result of flooding, mudslides, cyclones, and monsoons. Water-borne disease and shortages of potable water are major problems. Those who live in rural areas are primarily subsistence farmers and many are forced to farm low areas that are at high risk of flooding. Seventy percent of these people live below the poverty level.
After Bangladesh’s War for Independence in 1971, CBSDP started its mission of social development through relief and rehabilitation activities for victims and refugees of the war. Since the early 1980s its mission has shifted toward providing holistic development to the poor and deprived, irrespective of religion, cast, and creed. One manifestation of this mission was the creation of the Community Development Project (CDP) in the District of Barisal in southern Bangladesh in 2004. The program is focused on engendering social-economic development for the poor and unprivileged rural people in the project catchments area.
There are many candidates who qualify for the kinds of services the Community Development Project brings to the area. Most are farm workers who, most likely, do not own land. Economic challenges are significant. The area’s remoteness stifles development and unemployment is common. People are exploited and oppressed, especially women. The CDP program incorporates a holistic approach that provides the education, support, and mentoring necessary to promote self-reliant communities and individuals. The majority of those targeted by the project are women. The program will be carried out in 17 villages in the southern part of Bangladesh.
What the CDP brings to the targeted areas is a sense of dignity and self-reliance. CBSDP’s mission regarding human rights and values is the cornerstone of the project’s programs. Fundamental to accomplishing this mission is showing the way toward empowerment and self-awareness. Key elements of the CDP project that will change lives are:
- People’s Organization Building
- Income and Employment Generation
- Gender and Youth Development
- Eco-Agriculture Training
- Primary Health Care Awareness and HIV/AIDS Prevention
Each program element contributes to economic and social development in a unique way. First, without self-managed group organization there can be no social infrastructure for creating lasting development among the poor. Organizational groups of adult women and youth will learn skills in human resource development, savings, and credit management. A catalyst for effectuating fiscal responsibility is the CDP Revolving Fund and Group Savings Fund that extend credit to qualified groups and individuals. Money management and credit counseling are powerful empowerment tools to those who have had virtually nothing. Employment generating and enterprise development activities for enhancing farm and non-farm income are another important part of the program.
Woven into many aspects of the project is the concern of gender equality and development. The program provides training to both women and men for imparting gender and social awareness on issues such as dowry, violence against women, trafficking in women and children, early marriage, and divorce. Of particular importance is the focus on the empowerment of women and increasing their ability to defend their rights.
Poor health conditions are exacerbated by the lack of safe drinking water, which is often contaminated with poisonous arsenic. While some of the diseases found among the people of the region are endemic, for the most part it’s a matter of education. This includes education regarding safe drinking water, use of slab latrines, increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and family planning. The CDP project maintains an on-going objective of educating and changing attitudes about primary health care and disease prevention.
The Indorkani Community Development Project is a long-term and expansive program based upon previous successes. The CDBSDP has detailed an action plan for insuring many positive outcomes for hundreds of Bangladesh’s poorest women, men, and children. Faithful to its vision, the CDP will ensure self-reliant communities free from all kinds of exploitations, with restoration of justice and fundamental rights, as well as fulfillment of the needs within every sphere of human existence.
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