© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen


Some 50 million people in Bangladesh live in poverty. A lot of them are small-scale farmers. The effects of climate change are an added threat to their well-being. With Helvetas' support, local communities secure their livelihoods and prepare for climate change. Furthermore, Helvetas is engaged in emergency response and supports the more than 800’000 refugees from Myanmar in Cox's Bazar.
© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
  • Capital
  • Area
    147,570 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    18% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 129 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    WASH & Water Governance
    Private Sector Development
    Climate & Disaster Resilience
    Education and Vocational Skills
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
    Gender & Social Equity
* Source: UN Data

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. Two-thirds of the population live in rural areas. The country’s natural resources are scarce and, consequently, contested. Poverty in these areas drives many people to migrate to the cities or abroad – mostly to the Middle East – in search of work. To improve access to the market, Helvetas brings together smallholder farmers with market traders. They sell their vegetables, fish or milk on better terms and partner with food-processing companies.

Service providers for disadvantaged families

We support local service providers so they can train economically disadvantaged families to produce in line with market requirements. Landless women, for example, plant medicinal plants along small roads and sell them to traders. Furthermore, young women and men get vocational training so they can find work at countless family businesses, which in turn boosts local economic development.

Supporting communal authorities

Helvetas has been active in Bangladesh since 2000, where we advocate for the rural population to participate in the economy and local governance. One focus is on promoting women to take an active part in public and economic life. We encourage and enable them to run for local elections and to join women’s organizations to put their concerns across more effectively at regional and national level. The communal authorities are important partners as well. They introduce democratic decision-making processes, establish professional financial management and lawfully collect taxes to finance public services.

Coping with the risks of climate change

Climate change is only going to make Bangladesh’s challenges worse. Rising sea levels, recurrent flooding and the increasing salinity of the soil threaten the livelihood of small-holder farmers. To safeguard crop yields, they are increasingly using salt-tolerant varieties and adapting farming methods. We also alert people to climate risks by means of early warning systems and information campaigns. In addititon, extremely poor families are supplied with water storage facilities to guarantee their access to clean drinking water during the dry season.

Emergency response for Rohingya in Cox's Bazar

Since late 2017, Helvetas has worked with Rohingya who have fled violence in Myanmar and now live in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. To provide support for the more than 800’000 refugees is a huge challenge. Helvetas has distributed hygiene kits to particularly vulnerable refugee families and is constructing communal latrines and biogas kitchens. The project contributes to a better health situation as the use of latrines reduces open defecation and thus the risk of disease. And it decreases the firewood consumption and thus deforestation. Furthermore, together with ACTED/REACH Helvetas contributes to improved information mapping in the refugee camps and makeshift settlements.

Visit the website of Helvetas Bangladesh.

Our Projects in Bangladesh

 If you would like to know more about our work in Bangladesh, click on each project for details.

© Helvetas/K M Asad
Bangladesh WASH Services

More resilient communities

© Helvetas
Bangladesh Private Sector Development

A healthy diet for women and children

Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, India Partnership & Capacity Development

Value Chain Capacity Building Network

Bangladesh Private Sector Development

Disability Inclusion in Bangladesh

© Helvetas / KM Asad
Bangladesh Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Improved access to migration systems

© Helvetas / Alim
Bangladesh Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

Supporting communities to raise their voice

Multimedia Stories from Asia

© K M Asad

Feeding Mothers' Courage

In Bangladesh, women dare to stand up for a healthy pregnancy

Growing medicinal plants in the Chittagong Hills Tracts of Bangladesh

Read how Mujib Chakma’s family increased their income by cultivating medicinal plants in the minorities region of Bangladesh.
© Patrick Rohr / Helvetas

Stateless – the Fate of the Rohingya

In the refugee camp in Bangladesh, Rabeya Begum and Mohamad try everything to enable their little son Mohamad Rizwan to live in dignity.

A Farmer’s Daughter Goes to College

Read how the Chakma family, with the support of Helvetas, has set up a tree nursery and thus freed themselves from poverty.

Protecting fish stocks in Myanmar

The people in the Gulf of Mottama live from fishing. Read how they try to regulate stocks with the help of Helvetas.

Where Tea Grows on Trees

In the mountainous hinterland of Laos, tea leaves are picked at high altitudes.
© Helvetas / Alexa Mekonen

Living with Climate Change in Bangladesh’s Southern Coastal Belt

Nasrin Begum and her family live in one of the most vulnerable coastal districts in Bangladesh. They are among many who are severely affected by water salinity.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Climate & Disaster Resilience

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people in adapting to climate change, reducing the risks of disasters, sustainably managing natural resources, and conserving nature.

Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion

In many countries where we work, men and women are unable to claim their rights and participate actively in decision-making processes.

House 30 CWN (A), Road 42/43
1212 Dhaka

Phone:+880 9609 006007 , +880 2 41081527
Fax: +880 2 41081528
E-Mail: infobd@helvetas.org