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South AsiaBangladesh

Against displacement and unsafe migration - new perspectives for Gaibandha in Bangladesh

Gaibhanda in northern Bangladesh is one of the poorest regions in the country. Due to the climatic conditions, it is particularly difficult for the inhabitants here to support themselves. As a result, more and more inhabitants are leaving their home villages to work elsewhere. Our project with the local partner organization Gana Unnayan Kendra, or GUK for short, aims to address some of the problems of migration and displacement due to poverty and climate change.

Bangladesh is one of the countries most severely affected by labor migration globally. Every year, around 400-500,000 people leave the country to work abroad, the International Labor Organization says. One of the reasons for this is the impact of climate change, which is clearly noticeable in many parts of the country: Every year, Bangladesh experiences major floods, cyclones and riverbank erosion. As a result, more and more people are also being displaced from their home villages.

Working with GUK

We run our project in Bangladesh in cooperation with our local partner organisation GUK. The project focuses on the Gaibandha district in northern Bangladesh - one of the poorest and one of the most vulnerable regions of the country in terms of food insecurity. Gaibandha is surrounded by three major rivers. It is the setting for many river islands, which are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change: Annually, there is a large loss of livestock, seeds, crop yields, and habitable land here due to massive flooding.

In our project in Gaibandha, people are trained in all aspects of a safe migration process. The aim here is both to explain the risks of leaving the country and to inform the migrants about a safe migration process. This means, among other things, that the migrants know how to register with the migration authorities and that they have information about their employer and an appropriate employment contract. In addition, the inhabitants of the river islands are educated on how they can better prepare and protect themselves against floods and cyclones, in order to prevent them from becoming climate refugees. As the project proceeds, a total of four "cluster" villages will be built to provide climate-displaced families in the riverine areas with a new, safe living space with sanitation facilities and clean drinking water.

Community-based organizations as a special component of the project

As part of the project activities, a total of 54 community-based organizations will be established, each consisting of approximately 20 members. Their members consist of migrants, returnees and internally displaced persons. With the support of the project team, the members meet regularly to discuss problems and challenges in the communities. The selected leaders of the community-based organizations are empowered to sensitize government officials to the rights and demands of the residents and to provide appropriate services. In addition, the leaders of the groups will support their members in obtaining access to services from official migration authorities and legal counsel. The groups will also implement food banks where members will store rice on a monthly basis. Some of the stored rice will be sold and the proceeds deposited into the groups' respective bank accounts. In emergency situations, for example after a flood, this will serve as a reserve to which the members will then have access. In order to show people an alternative to migration, training is also offered in income-generating activities, for example in livestock breeding and agriculture.


Project Promoting resilience, opportunity and socio-economic empowerment of migrant/climate displaced communities (PROSPERITY) in Bangladesh
Place/Region Satkhira Distrikt, Asasuni, Bangladesch
Partner Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK)
Target group 1.500 families (around 6.750 people). In addition to a focus on women, people with special needs such as children, the elderly, and people with disabilities are given priority in selection and distribution.
  • Awareness-raising activities for migrants, returnees and IDPs on safe migration, hygiene/health state welfare services, rights and entitlements.
  • Creation of IEC materials for awareness / mass education campaigns.
  • Formation and strengthening of sustainable social structures (CBOs/groups) in communities.
  • Trainings for CBO leaders and members of social structures on advocacy and networking, climate change, safe migration and WASH.
  • Orientation of target groups to access state welfare services.
  • Safe Migration Orientation for Media Representatives
  • Advocacy work and dialogues on safe migration with local / national government representatives.
  • Strengthening livelihoods and implementing income-generating activities for target groups and social structures.
  • Trainings for starting trade, professional skills/skills for entrepreneurship and for polygamy and agriculture.
  • Participation in job fairs, meetings with employment agencies
  • Start-up support in the form of materials/property assets for training graduates to start small/small businesses
  • Establishment of cluster villages  (with WASH-infrastructure)
Duration 2020 - 2025
Budget 52.900 Euro per annum
Sponsor BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)

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