Sustainable Development Goals and contribution of Habitat Bangladesh

SDG 1: No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty. In Bangladesh, around 12.9% people live below the extreme poverty line, the World Bank report 2016 says. This percentage counts for two crore people.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Habitat Bangladesh seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness by making the safe shelter a matter of conscience and action. To accomplish this vision, Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.

Habitat Bangladesh has a range of approaches to providing housing solutions to low-income families to break the cycle of poverty. Habitat understands that each family differs in size, circumstance, and need. Habitat’s approach is flexible enough to offer different and adaptable solutions to all. Home partners invest their own labor known as “sweat equity” to construct their homes. In all current projects, Habitat works through partners and also directly with the families of fully-fund homes and provides technical support for housing.

Beside this, Habitat Bangladesh focuses on capacity building of the people and community it works with. To make people and community stronger and resilient, Habitat Bangladesh offers income-generating (IGA) training like embroidery and sewing, electrical wiring, masonry and carpeting training to people and communities. It helps people and communities to establish themselves on a strong base of regular income and enable them to break the chain of extreme poverty.

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being of all of all ages is essential to sustainable development. Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation and improving living standards of lives worldwide. However, many more efforts are needed to fully achieve the goals associated with healthy lives and well-being at all ages.

Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1999 Habitat Bangladesh has helped more than 12,000 families to improve their housing, water, sanitation, and general living conditions. 300,000 people through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and by increasing access to the improved shelter through products and services.

Habitat Bangladesh also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow.

As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat for Humanity International works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions, and nationalities to partner in its mission.

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.

Prioritizing women, Habitat Bangladesh selects female-headed households as its beneficiaries to offer them a better place to live and make life more comfortable with basic shelter needs. It also offers income-generating training like embroidery and sewing, capacity building training for CBO leaders and other relevant skill development opportunities to women to minimize the gap between male and female and make them empowered.

To help the adolescent girls, Habitat Bangladesh provides menstrual hygiene training and kits to adolescent girls and encourage them to break the cycle of ignorance on this crucial issue. In response to that, Habitat Bangladesh has partnered with schools in its working areas and has set comfort zones in the washrooms that offers the girls a healthy and hygienic place to change their sanitary napkins during their periods. They can also collect sanitary napkins with a minimum cost from the store that schools maintain. The girls found this very helpful and it has increased the attendance rate at the school.

SDG 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.

Bangladesh has made commendable progress in supplying safe water to its people, gross disparity in coverage still exists across the country. Latrine usage is very poor, averaging only 16% in the rural areas and 20% of the total population does not have improved drinking water sources. Diarrheal diseases constitute a major health problem in Bangladesh, killing over 100,000 children each year. Thousands of episodes of diarrhea occur in children and adults each day. Diarrheal diseases have close biological and socio-economic links to the problems of malnutrition, poor maternal health, high fertility, and child survival.

Habitat Bangladesh conducts research on cost-effective water & sanitation solutions and locally adapted behavior change methods for hygiene promotion, on waterborne diseases caused by using surface water, appropriate water purification system, and rainwater harvesting system. HFHB Studies to understand needs of women and girls and address water-related health, education, livelihood (productivity) needs, partners with a local organization to support communities based on identified needs. Habitat Bangladesh forms Community WaSH Committee (CWC) for empowering the communities and sustainable WaSH programs.

To address the need Habitat Bangladesh constructs permanent structured and durable household sanitary latrines, Disaster resilient sanitary latrines for disaster prone areas, Incorporates rainwater harvesting system with sanitary latrines along with water reservoir which ensures access of water inside the toilet, Gender sensitive and disable friendly community latrines, Household/community based bio-sand water purification system, Installs tube-wells as a pure drinking water source, water tests, Pond cleaning & re-excavation for improving the community water source for using other purposes, Appropriate construction technology (ACT), comprehensive WaSH and hygiene promotion training for community leaders, CBO members, school children and community people, distributes WaSH kits, Effective IEC materials (poster, leaflet, bill-boards, calendar, coloring books, t-shirt etc.).

In the project area, Habitat identifies those low-income families that are in great need of WaSH facilities and provides them with sanitary latrines. Habitat also provides gender sensitive and disabled accessible toilets for the schools and market places. Habitat recently started building community bath houses in the urban and rural areas specially designed to provide privacy to women.

Habitat Bangladesh always conducts a baseline community survey when beginning a project in a new area. Evaluations from these surveys revealed that the benefits of using safe water and hygiene practices were not always well communicated or accepted in many rural communities. Hence, Habitat has developed training materials and engages community members to attend awareness-building sessions that promote the adoption of safe WaSH practices.

Habitat Bangladesh has so far completed 3 studies on WASH that looks at water borne diseases caused by using surface water, appropriate water filtration device and rainwater harvesting systems in specific areas of Bangladesh.

SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality still persists and large disparities remain in access to health and education services and other assets.

Additionally, while income inequality between countries may have been reduced, inequality within countries has risen. There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

SGD 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.

The rapid urbanization process in Bangladesh has heightened the crisis of unemployment, shelter provision and urban services. The increased urban population and lack of institutional capacity is triggering increased urban poverty. The objectives of urban development are to serve the community and increase the societal impact of the organization, by supporting the provision of a minimum livable environment to vulnerable slums and informal settlement residents.

Habitat Bangladesh began urban development projects in 2012. In the city of Dhaka, Habitat Bangladesh started in three slums named Talab Camp, the slum of Beguntila and the slum of Takerbari. Through a two-phase DFAT funded project called “Building Resilience of Urban Slum settlements: A multi-sectoral approach to capacity building”, Habitat improved living conditions for poverty impacted families by renovating houses; constructing drainage systems and walkways; cleaning and repairing drains; constructing water tanks with hand pumps; distributing water purification filters; and constructing and repairing bathhouses and community toilets.

Habitat Bangladesh also trains children on water sanitation and hygiene, and trains adults on waste management and appropriate construction technology. For urban development, Habitat Bangladesh has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Australia, ARUP, and Architects without Frontiers, PDAP and World Vision.

Habitat Bangladesh took the initiative to organize a platform where many of the urban actors in Bangladesh can share experiences to harmonize activities and promote the coordination of urban development through an urban INGO forum. The first Urban Dialogue was organized by Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh in 2013, followed by the 2nd Urban Dialogue organized by Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh together with World Vision Bangladesh and Islamic Relief in 2014. The 3rd Urban Dialogue 2015 was the first large event of this urban INGO forum which took place on 25 – 26 August, 2015 at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka. Twelve INGOs hosted the 3rd Urban Dialogue while the Department of Disaster Science and Management from the University of Dhaka was a technical partner. This urban INGO forum is growing stronger each year, with new partners joining and new leaders emerging. Recently, Habitat Bangladesh led 5th Urban Dialogue at the same venue on last 1-2 November, 2017 where 24 International organizations contributed.

Habitat Bangladesh targets to serve 36,661 individuals in six slums by June 2018 while raising the US $750,000 from institutional donors, corporates, foundations, and global funding networks to support program growth.

The plan will be focused on market penetration replicating current programs based on infrastructure development, increasing community resilience and expanding partnerships.

SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.

People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events.

Habitat focuses on working with local communities and local government authorities to provide permanent or transitional housing solutions to survivors of disasters. Habitat’s approach focuses on providing technical assistance and project management expertise to implement disaster response projects. Habitat houses or shelter kits are provided to them free of charge. However, families are encouraged to contribute materials (often salvageable items from damaged homes) and “sweat equity” to support the rebuilding of their homes and communities.

Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh has implemented the following Disaster Response and Risk Reduction projects since the year 2007.

In mid-2007, heavy flooding affected various areas of central Bangladesh. In response, HFH Bangladesh and HFH Japan jointly supported more than 600 people by building 122 flood-resistant houses with sanitary latrines in the Bhuapur Flood Rehabilitation Project. These bamboo transitional shelters were elevated four feet from ground level in order to withstand the flood water.

In November 2007, Cyclone SIDR, Bangladesh's worst-named disaster, killed some 3,500 people, injured tens of thousands and displaced 2 million. In particular, over 1.4 million homes were destroyed or damaged. In early 2008, HFH Bangladesh implemented its Cyclone SIDR Rehabilitation Project with assistance from the Christian Aid Ministry. This project directly supported 2,400 people by providing 480 transitional houses with sanitary latrines to cyclone-affected families. This project also focused on knowledge transfer and awareness building. This involved developing relevant education and communication materials, conducted training on hygiene promotion for the 480 families, and delivered a public awareness campaign on disaster management.

In the end of 2009 Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh started its disaster mitigation program building disaster resilience houses, transitional shelter and training community people to build disaster resilience houses to minimize the cost and saving lives.

Funding from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission and Sailor Society, through Habitat Great Britain, is supporting 240 families in building new houses, making house retrofits and constructing disaster-resilient latrines. Habitat has also started a three-year urban disaster response and risk reduction project in March 2017 in Dhaka and Khulna through a consortium approach with Caritas Bangladesh and Caritas Switzerland with funding from JTI Foundation.

In November 2016, Habitat Bangladesh completed its response to Cyclone Roanu by distributing 2,400 emergency shelter kits to affected families. Each kit contained items such as corrugated roofing sheets, bamboo poles, steel nails, rope, hand saw, hammer and knife. The response was funded by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Another 47 families received temporary shelters with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency, Habitat Korea and Habitat Australia.

SDG 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

A successfully sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the center, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.

Project Partnerships

Habitat Bangladesh partners with local and international NGOs and Community-Based Organizations to ensure its projects are delivered in the most effective manner. These partnerships help Habitat to improve and diversify its products and services, extend its reach of low-income families, prevent service overlapping and allow for an integrated solution approach to community development. Habitat’s current established partnerships include:

  • House Building Research Institute
  • Rural Reconstruction Foundation
  • Caritas Bangladesh
  • World Vision Bangladesh
  • Local Community Based Organizations
  • Inclusive Home Solution Limited

Corporate Partnerships

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) encourages workplace practices and decisions that honor the triple bottom line philosophy of “People, Planet, and Profit”. Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh offers CSR opportunities as a way for businesses to engage with local communities, to promote social development and to take positive and practical actions that truly impact the lives of the under-privileged in Bangladesh.

Our most popular CSR activity at HFH Bangladesh involves corporate volunteers working alongside low-income families in building their homes, together with a financial contribution made by the volunteers’ corporation. The donation is usually the equivalent of HFH Bangladesh’s 'Per House Sponsorship Cost' per team of 10 people. Through this unique CSR engagement, participants are able to impact people's lives in a very practical way.

Volunteer Program

Many local and international teams are journeying to beautiful rural communities in Bangladesh to volunteer through the Global Village program with Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh. The experience is always rewarding, and provides volunteers with the opportunity to spend time with local families who are directly benefiting from Habitat’s work.

Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program offers a rewarding travel experience to international volunteers. A Global Village visit involves building on a Habitat site for several days, as well as humanitarian activities, cultural learning, adventure and social interaction. The result is often described by volunteers as “life-changing”. Habitat Bangladesh has hosted teams from around the world, including from the USA, UK, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, Honk Kong SAR and the UAE. Teams usually have 10 - 24 volunteers and come to Bangladesh for 10 - 14 days. In addition to contributing their volunteer labor, volunteers make financial contributions toward the construction of the homes that they work on. Habitat Bangladesh has hosted more than eighty “Global Village” teams in the past ten years.

Habitat Bangladesh also organizes community youth groups in several areas where it operates. These young volunteers host local and international Global Village volunteer build teams, support local Habitat offices, organize events, and support resource development, marketing, and advocacy. They also participate in volunteer house building events in their local communities. Additionally, Habitat engages other students from local high schools and colleges, local volunteers, international business corporations, and staff from embassies to work on home building events and make other contributions to Habitat’s work in Bangladesh.

URBAN INGO Forum

The Urban INGO Forum Bangladesh was established in 2013 through the initiatives of Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh, with the support of Islamic Relief and World Vision Bangladesh. It is a consortium of 14 INGOs working on different issues in urban areas in Bangladesh. The initial objective of the forum was to ensure collective effort through better coordination, smooth communication between organizations working towards similar end goals, and networking among the urban stakeholders. The Urban INGO Forum Bangladesh became active with the INGOs working in urban areas with the aim of supporting low-income communities in an effective and broader way where organizing Urban Dialogue would be one of the initiatives among them.