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.
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
Kakoli Mazumder, an adult group member tells her 'Most Significant Change' story, resulting from access to adult literacy for herself, and pre-school learning for her son.
My name is Kakoli. I am 26 years old. We are a Hindu family. My husband and I live in Gazi Nagar village with our young son. I have no paying job and our small family are very poor. Because I couldn't read or write, I was very shy about making any contribution to village community life. It felt like I had nothing to offer the community and they did not value me. I was of no more importance than the a sparrow pecking in the dust.
I watched and waited as other women joined the TCDC project literacy group. They learned to read and write and calculate. I saw how they all grew in confidence. They changed and were now able to make valuable contributions in their family's decision making and village life.
I really wanted to join so I could become like them, but was told that it was bad to educate women. But I could not see anything bad, only good things. Finally I joined the adult literacy group. Now like the other woman I too can read, write my own name and calculate. With this new knowledge, I can be confident making better decisions for my family, like deciding to send my young son to the TCDC pre-school. I now make valuable contributions to the village community. I know that I too am of value.
The Chandpur Total Community Development Centres (TCDC) project operates in 12 villages in Bangladesh with a multi-dimensional in approach to poverty alleviation. The first objective is 'Education & Literacy', which includes pre-school education and homework assistance for kids, and an 8 month adult literacy course for adults. Education, literacy and learning skills provide access to knowledge, lifeskills and resources. They are the cornerstone of development with life-long benefits leading to participation, empowerment, social mobility and freedom to choose; and key for livelihood skills, employment and entrepreneurialship.
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.
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.
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.
Taposhi Chowdhury, a project group member, tells her 'Most Significant Change' story, resulting from her families access to a hygienic toilet...
My name is Taposhi Chowdhury. I am 28 years old, from Bohoria village. I am married with one son. Before joining the TCDC project two years ago, I had never used a hygienic toilet. As a family we were often sick with diarrhoea and dysentery. Almost every month someone in the family was sick, for 3 or 4 days. However due to the kindness of God no one died. We were wasting lots of money on medicine. Money problems added to our family tension.
In the project I learnt lots of healthcare topics from the project village staff and also the project nurse. We learnt a lot about 'Personal Cleanliness' which included all sorts of tips on avoiding sickness in the village. The most useful topic was about diarrhoea and dysentery.
Following the healthcare training, the project provided a new hygienic toilet in our village. We were taught how to use it in a clean way, and how to maintain it for others. Now we are much more healthy, with less money worries. My family is now doing much better.
The Chandpur Total Community Development Centres (TCDC) project operating in 12 villages in Bangladesh is multi-dimensional in approach to poverty alleviation. One objective is 'Primary Healthcare', which focuses on disease prevention through nutrition, hygiene, clean water, sanitation, STD / HIV / AIDS / drug awareness, and mother / child health. Healthy bodies, minds and emotions produce better personal and community health - resulting in a reduction in lost personal and work time, enabling more productive livelihoods and income generating businesses.
The 'Personal Cleanliness' training seminar that Taposhi refers to covers topics like:
- Personal cleanness
- How to keep safe from disease by keeping clean
- How to keep flies away from food (using covers)
- Washing hands after using the toilet and before taking food
- Keeping sandals on while using the toilet
- Diarrhoea and dysentery
- Using clean water for drinking and cooking, not village pond water used for bathing and washing dishes