Gono Kendra: A life-changing initiative for hundreds of marginalised people in rural Bangladesh

Gono Kendra: A life-changing initiative for hundreds of marginalised people in rural Bangladesh

 

Earlier this year, Bandhab wrapped up the Gono Kendra project, which revolved around helping rural communities form self-help groups for marginalised men and especially women in some of the most impoverished and vulnerable regions in Bangladesh.

The project worked with so-called Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), regional umbrella organisations that helped people in local communities organise into groups with saving programmes, giving them a forum to discuss the issues they face in their communities and find solutions to them. As the project progressed, we found that the groups were extremely popular among women in particular.

The underlying assumption in the Gono Kendra project was that people in these communities are perfectly able to solve the majority of their own problems, but that in the case of women in particular, empowerment also does not happen in isolation. Once we helped them form into groups, however, these women found their voice and began to enact change in their local communities.

Some of the changes these groups have achieved have been nothing short of inspiring. To name just one powerful example, there was one area where local women began to organise in opposition towards the norm of child marriage – a tradition which has prevailed in the area for thousands of years.

Read Ambia’s story for a personal example of how the Gono Kendra project has changed lives.

 

Ambia’s story

“I was studying in first grade. Before I could even finish, I was married away by my parents. I was so stupid back then – I knew nothing and couldn’t even go outside by myself. But then I went to Gono Bidyalaya {a centre for informal education] and became a bit more educated. I became smarter than I was before. Then we started this Gono Kendra with 30 women. In the beginning, we didn’t even have any money to save for our saving programme. We were so poor that we couldn’t even save 5 taka (DKK 0.50) per week. When we asked for money from our husbands, they refused. Instead, we all decided to save a handful of rice per week. We saved up the rice as a group and sold it at the local market the next two years. Now we are self-sufficient, and we have saved 183,200 taka (DKK 16,654) – and now we have dreams.”

– Ambia, member of the Dolon Chapa Gono Kendra


Gono Kendra: Et livsændrende initiativ for hundredvis af marginaliserede mennesker i de bangladeshiske landområder.

Tidligere i år afsluttede Bandhab Gono Kendra projektet, som omhandlede selvhjælp-grupper for marginaliserede mænd, og specielt kvinder, i de mest fattige og udsatte områder i Bangladesh.

Projektet har omhandlet såkaldte Community-Based Organisations (Samfundsbaseret organisation) en paraply organisation, som har hjulpet til med at få de lokale små samfund til at organisere sig i grupper. Grupperne har givet dem et talerør til at tale om deres udfordringer og finde deres egne løsninger dertil. Dertil kom et opsparingsprogram for grupperne selv. Projektet viste sig at være meget populært blandt især kvinder.

Antagelsen i Gono Kendra projektet var, at mennesker selv er i stand til at løse deres problemer, men for kvinder specielt kan det være svært. Og det sker ikke, når man står alene. Da grupperne var dannet, fandt kvinderne deres stemme og begyndte at interagere med det lokale samfund.

At følge grupperne og se, hvad de har opnået, har været meget inspirerende. Hvis vi skal nævne en ting, vi er meget stolte af, er det, at i det ene område hvor grupperne er, har de organiseret sig mod barnebrude – en tradition og kultur der er foregået i flere tusinde år.

Du kan læse Ambia’s historie her som eksempel på, hvordan Gono Kendraerne har ændret liv.

 

Ambias historie.

”Jeg gik skole i 1. klasse. Før året var omme, blev jeg giftet væk af min forældre. Jeg var så dum dengang – vidste ingenting og kunne ikke engang gå udenfor selv. Men så begyndte jeg på Gono Bidyalaya (Et center for uformel uddannelse) og blev en smule mere uddannet. Jeg blev klogere end før. Så startede vi disse Gono Kendraer med 30 kvinder. I begyndelsen havde vi ikke engang penge til vores opsparingsprogram. Vi var så fattige, vi ikke engang kunne spare 5 taka (0,50 kr) op om ugen. Så spurgte vi vores mænd, de nægtede. I stedet besluttede vi at samle en håndfuld ris om ugen. Vi samlede det som gruppe og solgte det på markedet over de næste to år. Nu er vi selv forsynende og har sparet 183,200 taka (16,654 kr) op – og nu har vi drømme.”