Since launching our work in Bangladesh in the 1980s, Winrock’s primary focus has been on strengthening the country’s critical agriculture sector. Activities have included providing instruction and technical expertise to help Bangladeshi farmers and fishers increase their production and develop and serve markets for shrimp and maize and other promising homegrown products. In recent years, our efforts have included augmenting climate change resiliency through collaborations with communities to manage critical wetlands and other agricultural land that Bangladeshis rely on for their livelihoods. A cross-cutting theme through all of our projects has been promoting the role of women through education and leadership development.
Climate change and a growing population are putting increasing levels of stress on Bangladesh’s forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. The USAID-funded Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods program is helping to disseminate management methods that help communities better collaborate with local and national governments to balance biodiversity protection with sustainable economic development.
Complex problems require transcendent solutions, ones that span borders and sectors. Human trafficking is such a problem, and the Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons program (USAID Asia CTIP) is such a solution. A five-year (2016-2021) program, USAID Asia CTIP is a regional activity that focuses on transnational and regional challenges to combat human trafficking. The program aims to reduce the trafficking of persons in Asia through a coordinated and consolidated action by governments, civil society and business that will foster cross-border cooperation, develop opportunities for private-sector leadership and improve the quality of data associated with human trafficking.
CTIP Bangladesh Project Page
CTIP Cambodia Project Page
Despite tremendous progress, farmers in Asia continue to grapple with two major challenges: food insecurity and poverty. By accelerating the transfer and adoption of innovative agricultural technologies, this USAID-funded Feed the Future program gives smallholders in South and Southeast Asia the knowledge and resources they need to grow more crops and earn more income.
Bangladesh’s aquaculture industry is growing, but its small-scale shrimp and prawn producers still need help. They lack the resources and the knowledge of international standards to run farms and hatcheries to their full potential. By providing farmers with technical training and access to financial services — and by building the capacity of the trade associations and government agencies they work with — this project aims to boost livelihoods, increase productivity in the shrimp and prawn industries, and improve food quality and safety in Bangladesh.
Poverty and food insecurity are inextricably linked in Bangladesh. Particularly vulnerable are women, youth and those in areas of the country most likely to be impacted by climate change. The goal of this program is to improve nutrition and food security through training in entrepreneurship, improved production of high-value foods as well as reliable access to markets and important agricultural inputs.
Nobody knows the challenges and opportunities faced by farmers better than other farmers. Credibility and practical know-how are at the core of this program connecting U.S.-based volunteer farmers and agricultural experts with Asian universities, government training centers, and individual farmers. Through instruction and hands-on training, thousands of Asian farmers and fishers learn about practices and technologies that can boost both the sustainability of their businesses as well as their incomes.
No country can reach its full potential when women don’t have equal access to education and economic opportunity. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Women’s Empowerment Activity helps women develop the skills they need to improve agricultural livelihoods, make decisions in their families, and be leaders in their communities. Winrock also engages men and local leaders to support gender equality, a key to achieving food security and sustainable development.
Though human trafficking is a global problem, successful efforts to combat it must start at the local level. Focused on 25 highly vulnerable districts, the Bangladesh Counter Trafficking-in-Persons Program aims to mobilize and coordinate the actions of local and national governments, non-governmental organizations, and citizens and community leaders. Program activities include: supporting and empowering survivors; increasing the effectiveness of prosecution; and engaging all layers of society to end human trafficking.
Improved cookstoves can reduce harmful indoor smoke and save time or money for families through fuel savings. But they are not readily adopted, often because the cookstoves available to families don’t fully meet their needs. To better understand and overcome this problem, the WASHplus project undertook consumer research studies in Bangladesh and Nepal that allowed families to try out cookstoves in their homes for several months and provide feedback. The studies also measured cookstove performance and helped gauge how willing families are to pay for them. Based on these studies, WASHplus developed a toolkit for other groups interested in undertaking similar research. WASHplus also supported the development of international voluntary standards for cookstoves; and worked closely with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves along the way.
Crops that spoil or arrive at market in a condition consumers reject are a missed opportunity for Bangladesh to reduce its food insecurity and increase the profits of its small farmers. To address that problem, the Cold Chain Bangladesh Alliance is helping small farmers produce high-value products local consumers want and to establish the cold chain infrastructure (basically, a refrigerated supply chain) necessary to deliver those goods to market.
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Winrock’s work in Bangladesh on the USAID-funded CREL project is helping balance biodiversity protection with sustainable economic development. One of…