Symbiosis began in Bangladesh twenty years ago with a vision to bring empowerment to poor and marginalized people, particularly in rural areas. The work of Symbiosis is driven by an understanding of the Bangladeshi people and culture and a partnership approach which is focused on working together to bring real and sustainable change. We know that it is only by working alongside the poor, and by listening and building relationships, that long term Bangladeshi solutions can be found to Bangladeshi problems.

Rural integrated programs are the core of the work of Symbiosis. These programs provide basic education and training where the people live, assisting them to form savings groups and then to borrow from this money to undertake income producing projects. This results in significant poverty reduction. Though most are women's groups, Symbiosis programs are culturally sensitive and drive real and sustainable change. There are also poverty reduction programs in provincial urban slum areas. 

In addition, Symbiosis has strategic projects with a focus on health, such as primary eye care, maternal and child health and an arsenic mitigation project, as well as women's rights and gender advocacy. Our training programs teach practical skills such as sewing, fisheries, rural income generation, as well as hairdressing and beauty training, small engine maintenance and basic computing.  The cross cutting programs of health, women's rights and advocacy, and skills training provide support for the community mobilisation work that Symbiosis does with the poor.

Symbiosis is accountable, committed and delivers results. It is innovative and flexible in providing programs to remove the road blocks to development for some of the most disadvantaged people in the world. The organisation is big enough to be effective but small enough to be sensitive.