Bangladesh has made great strides in the fight against poverty. Nevertheless, nearly half of its population of 135 million still lives below the poverty line. The country continues to face numerous obstacles including high rates of stunting and acute malnutrition in children, the constant threat of natural disasters, and poor distribution of health and hygiene services. Most Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture and, despite steady increases in food production, the growing population continues to place a severe burden on supplies and services, and the country remains dependent on costly food imports.
Project Concern International (PCI) entered Bangladesh in June, 2010. In support of prime ACDI/VOCA, PCI is partnering in the implementation of a new program focused on increasing food security among vulnerable households in the Khulna Division of southwestern Bangladesh. The Program for Strengthening Household Access to Resources (PROSHAR) is utilizing an integrated approach to empower communities by addressing maternal and child health issues, providing assistance to farmers, and strengthening the country’s ability to manage and recover from disasters.
About 85 percent of Bangladesh’s population lives in rural areas and continues to depend largely on agriculture for its livelihood. PROSHAR is helping increase the income of poor and ultra-poor households by providing trainings that will help farmers enhance on- and off-farm productivity, improve agricultural practices and technologies, and gain a better understanding of and linkage to profitable domestic and international markets.
PROSHAR is preventing and treating child malnutrition by expanding integrated clinical health services and providing nutritional supplementation for children under two years of age and pregnant and/or breastfeeding mothers. Providing education on good nutrition and fostering positive behavior change are both crucial for ensuring long-term improvements in health and community development.
To strengthen capacity and capability, PROSHAR staff are training local public and private organizations on effective emergency disaster response and risk management to ensure resiliency to shocks and increase the ability of communities to address the long-term impact of disasters. PROSHAR is also reinforcing the government of Bangladesh’s efforts to mainstream disaster risk management into development efforts and address long-term trends, such as those associated with climate change.
The United States Agency for International Development, Office of Food for Peace, ACDI/VOCA