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Established in 2007, the Chandpur TCDC project is Banzaid’s longest running programme. The project, managed by Baptist Aid Bangladesh, set out to provide a variety of community development services. A husband and wife team went to live in each village, among the people they were working to help. They began with adult literacy. As they identified the poorest families in the village they then started to work with them to build development activities: community health care; savings groups; training in income generating activity; and things like home composting for kitchen gardens. Alongside this were pre-school groups, and tutorial classes to help older children to be able to attend the local government primary schools.

At its peak the project was working in 12 villages, and had almost 1400 adults enrolled in the self-help development groups, 420 children in the pre-school groups and 430 children in the tutorial groups. They had eight years of strong support from the New Zealand Aid Programme. Now that funding has come to an end.

In considering what to keep, and what to close down, the decision was fairly straight forward – the adult savings groups could continue without our help, but continuing the children’s education programme was a priority. From 2017 it will no longer be the Chandpur TCDC Project, but will change to become the Chandpur Village Education Project. Several of the centres will be closed down, to focus on those that have good enrolments of children in the programme.

The programme will continue to be run by Baptist Aid-BBCF. Baptist Aid-BBCF is the aid and development department of the Bangladesh Baptist Christian Fellowship. Tranzsend Bangladesh staff will work with them in teacher training, and ensuring that they are able to bring the best of modern teaching methods to the programme.

The aims of the revised project will be:

Preschool groups in project villages – There are no other preschool programmes in this area of rural Bangladesh. We will support 240 children in 12 preschool groups designed to give them a good educational start when they go to school.

Tutorial classes – The state education system in Bangladesh relies on students receiving extra tuition outside of class. For the children of poor families this is often beyond what the family budget can afford. We will support 240 students from poor families in 12 tutorial groups with tutorial help to enable them to achieve well in the government education system.

Continued Transitional support for the 48 savings groups established in the original phase of the project. These groups will receive support as they transition to managing their groups independently.

The Chandpur Village Education Project needs $55,000 each year. This will provide staff salaries, staff training, and will provide resource materials for the preschool and tutorial groups in each village centre. This programme will be entirely supported from New Zealand donations. Can your family, your home group, your church, support some part of this? Contact us if you would like to support a village preschool or tutorial group.

Bangladesh is always in the news for a disaster of one sort or another. It is one of the poorest countries of the world, with a high population density, political instability and frequent natural disasters. The geography of the country makes it prone to cyclones and flooding. Poverty is made worse by political instability, and high levels of corruption. The last decade has seen significant progress, but it is still estimated that over 60 million people are below the US$1 per day absolute poverty line.

Bangladesh Key Statistics

Population: 150 million +

Area: 144,000 sq km (about half the size of New Zealand)

Religions: Muslim 86%, Hindu 13%, Christian 0.5%, Other 0.5%

Literacy: 43% of those over the age of 15

Per Capita GDP: US$1400 (NZ GDP in 2006 was US$24,400)

See the MDG Monitor site for up to date information on Bangladesh's progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals

Banzaid is partnering with Baptist Aid-BBCF (Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship) to establish Total Community Development Centres in the Chandpur District of Bangladesh. These centres are based around core self- help groups providing :

1. Literacy programmes for adults – literacy is a basic skill that helps people to take control of their own lives

2. Children’s education – children from poor families need help so that they can enter the government education system.

3. Income generating projects – the first step is to start group members with savings schemes, and then to help them to use their savings in ways that will start earning them money. Encouragement is given for ideas like small vegetable gardens or starting small business projects.

4. Healthcare education – beginning with basic things like safe drinking water and sanitation.

Each centre is led by trained community development organisers, a husband and wife Bangladeshi couple. They live in the selected villages and work with the local community to identify needs and find ways for the people to help transform their villages. These groups are a highly effective way to alleviate poverty. It is estimated that each village centre will directly impact over 250 local people and up to an estimated 1000 through its networks.

This Google map link below shows the villages in the project. Click on the pins for more information about each village. The green pins are village locations. Purple coloured bubbles are office locations. This information will be updated as the project proceeds. Point at an area and double click, or click the + button to zoom in to see the area in more detail, or click on the 'View in Google Maps' link at the bottom to open the map in full screen. Doing this will also give you the option of taking the map into Google Earth if you have this installed on your computer.

View in Google Maps

The Total Community Development Centres project is the development vision of Baptist Aid-BBCF, the aid and development arm of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship. Their vision is for ‘a Bangladeshi society based on moral and ethical values, free from poverty, injustice and oppression with equal opportunity and sustainable livelihoods for all people’ - ‘giving life in all its fullness’. They estimate that each TCDC couple directly and positively impacts 200 local poor people, with indirect impact through friends, relatives and community relations estimated at 500 to 1000 people.

New Zealand Baptist churches have partnered with the BBCF since its inception. Churches started and nurtured by NZBMS/tranzsend were the foundation churches of the Fellowship. A new phase in this partnership has begun as we resource the Bangladesh church’s own development projects where they set out to help poor communities around them.

Baptist Aid-BBCF already had several TCDC programmes in other parts of Bangladesh. This project focuses on 12 villages around the town of Chandpur. The Chandpur district is an area of Bangladesh that has seen New Zealand Baptists involvement for over 100 years. We no longer have Kiwi families living in Chandpur, but the TCDC project will bring a new level of partnership with the local community.

Chandpur TCDC is a project of Baptist Aid-BBCF. They set the project up, and are responsible for running it. Our aim is to equip them to do the work themselves.

Hiroli Biswas, an adult project development group member tells her 'Most Significant Change' story, resulting from a project focus on equality between men and women.

Hiroli's Story

I 'm Hiroli Biswas, from Dokhin Balia village. My parents gave me in marriage to my husband Horipod when I was 15 years old. He was a landless day labourer, so we were very poor. I did my best to support my family (husband, 4 children, father-in-law, mother-in-law) by running the household and a backyard garden. We were so poor that sometimes I had to labour with my husband in the fields. This was very painful for me. I was working from dawn to dusk and was worn out. It felt like no-one including my husband offered me any help or support. There was no-one to ask for help.

In 2008, the TCDC development project started in our village. I was encouraged to join the Golap (rose) women's self-help group, where eventually I served as treasurer. Although I am now 44, I learnt many new things including how to read, awareness of health and social issues, leadership and empowerment, human rights and gender equality etc. After learning about my human rights, I was not shy to request my husband and children to please help me with household work when possible. But my husband always answered 'no', this is your duty.

After showing no interest, eventually my husband attended a project community seminar on human rights and gender equality. He shared with me his new learnings about gender equality. He even started to help me with household work, although he felt very shy about this. He now helps me spontaneously without me asking. This is huge change for our family. My life is so much happier now, as my husband and I work together.

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Background Information

The Chandpur Total Community Development Centres (TCDC) project operates in 12 villages in Bangladesh with a multi-dimensional approach to poverty alleviation. One objective is 'Human Rights & Gender Equality'. A caring and civil society, based on love of neighbour, rule of law, justice and equality, human rights and gender equality - produce enabling conditions for more productive livelihoods and businesses. Studies indicate that when groups (or societies / cultures) with good social cohesion and interpersonal altruism, work together, they will outperform groups (or societies / cultures) without these values and practice. Studies indicate that when 50% of the population (females) receive freedom, motivation, knowledge and skills to be involved in employment or entrepreneurialship, there are increased levels of poverty alleviation and economic development.

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