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Where We Work

Bangladesh is the most crowded nation on earth, with a population of 160 million living within an area of 144,000 square kilometers. That’s more than 1100 people per square kilometre! Despite this, Bangladesh is a dynamic and entrepreneurial country which has made good progress in development in recent years.

Situated in the Bengal Basin, Bangladesh’s rich agricultural soils are watered by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna river systems as they flow down from the Himalayan mountain range to the north. Most of Bangladesh is a flood plain with one third of the land covered in rivers, lakes or swamps. Agriculture is sustained by annual flooding, which regularly displaces the country’s poorest people.

Traditionally most Bangladeshis have lived rurally, working their own small farms or laboring for others. Widespread poverty and population growth has driven urbanisation in recent years, and Bangladesh’s economy has been expanding thanks to the country’s burgeoning manufacturing industries, and in particular, the garment industry.

Bangladesh is on track to achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals, showing impressive progress in many areas, including improving child and maternal health and increasing gender parity in education. Despite this progress, life in Bangladesh for the poorest of poor – the landless rural population and the illiterate - is extremely hard. With irregular incomes and no financial safety net, many families simply do not know where their next meal will come from. Inadequate health care leaves many disabled by preventable diseases or accidents, and widespread lack of education renders a huge number of people completely disempowered - unable to develop their future or that of their nation.

For more information on Bangladesh, explore the UN Development Program (http://www.bd.undp.org/content/bangladesh/en/home/countryinfo/) or Virtual Bangladesh (http://www.virtualbangladesh.com/).