Highlighted results

An additional 1,266,607 people have improved food intake

An additional 145,554 people benefitted from improved water security and safety in 2018

5,497 girls and women were linked to existing vocational training and employment opportunities

266 health facilities adopted the youth-friendly SRHR and HIV-AIDS services.

Introduction

The Netherlands is a longstanding partner of Bangladesh. Our focus in 2017-2018 was on the following themes: water management, water supply and sanitation (WASH), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender, food security and nutrition, sustainable value chains (in particular the readymade garments (RMG) sector), and human rights (in particular freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion).

Our engagement with Bangladesh takes place in a context of steady and high economic growth, and remarkable development results, but also in a context in which human rights and political space are under pressure.

Significant events:

Bangladesh hosts more than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The Netherlands provided assistance to these refugees and the host community in the areas of gender-based violence, SRHR, WASH, and food security and agricultural development.

In 2018, the first step was taken in Bangladesh formally graduating from the LDC category in 2024. This will have an impact on ODA flows and trade.

Sheikh Hasina has become Prime Minister for the 3rd consecutive term of five years after the Awami League-led alliance won the parliamentary elections in December 2018 with 96% of all parliamentary seats.

In May 2018, Bangladesh’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held. UPR follow-up will be an important mechanism for engaging with Bangladesh on the national human rights situation, in addition to the fact that Bangladesh is member of the Human Rights Council for the period of 2019-2021.

The government of Bangladesh has approved the Delta Plan 2100, which will serve as an umbrella for our future co-operation in the areas of water management and agriculture.

A major issue in the RMG-sector has been and remains the

continuation of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Results 2018

The Netherlands has significantly contributed to the well-being, economic development and resilience of thousands of people and the country as a whole (see highlighted results). We have initiated systemic changes and development through our programmes and activities, but also via advocacy.

Some highlighted results:

Approval of the Delta Plan2100. The Delta Plan has the high-level support of the present government. The Delta Plan will be an important pillar in the next, eighth Five Year Plan for Bangladesh.

The Netherlands was instrumental in the formulation of the current Food Safety Law and regulations, and the establishment of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority.

Through our rice fortification project with WFP, the Bangladesh government has decided to distribute fortified rice via its social safety net programmes. The project has also resulted in greater commercial production and availability of fortified rice on the market, which is an important contribution to improved nutritional value of the rice.

Through a limited contribution to the World Bank multi-donor trust fund, the Netherlands has succeeded in mainstreaming sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the fourth Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Program (4th HPNSP).

The Netherlands has always pursued a progressive SRHR agenda in Bangladesh and has advocated on sensitive issues, especially in the area of youth sexuality and youth rights. The decision by the government to incorporate comprehensive sexuality education in the school curriculum is a significant result. The material and methods have been developed in a project supported by the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is actively involved in supporting the readymade garments (RMG) sector in transiting to sustainable business practices (focusing on occupational health and safety, responsible sourcing by brands, living wages and responsible environmental practices), and adopting and implementing core labour standards.

Apart from contributing to the Rohingya refugee response, the Netherlands has been advocating for longer-term development interventions (e.g. education and skills development, and livelihoods) and for the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of the refugees to Myanmar.

Human rights are at the centre of the Netherlands’ foreign and development co-operation policy. We take an integrated approach that addresses sensitive political and human rights issues, in the areas of SRHR, gender and RMG, for example, and in the Dialogue and Decent programmes in Bangladesh. Human rights advocacy is mainstreamed in our activities.

Results by theme

Sexual and reproductive health and rights Food security Women’s rights and gender equality Water

Featured project Bangladesh

Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS)

PROOFS focused on improving farming systems and enhancing value chains, through which an increased supply of nutritious foods and hygiene products reached the target households, effectively reducing malnutrition amongst 340,000 people. Through integrated interventions, PROOFS has made significant progress in key food security and poverty indicators. PROOFS took a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the complex factors that contribute to food and nutrition insecurity. PROOFS helped producer group members to improve their income through increased productivity, achieved by diversifying crops, improving agricultural practices and connecting them to local, national and international markets. Evidence gathered from PROOFS has shown a direct correlation between crop diversity and dietary diversity. Diversification into vegetable, livestock, poultry and aquaculture sub-sectors represents an enormous opportunity to increase the availability of nutrient-dense and diverse foods, while raising incomes for households able to engage in marginal surplus production or commercialisation.

PROOFS

Reed more about the PROOFS project

Featured project Bangladesh

Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP2100)

On 4 September 2018, the National Economic Council of Bangladesh, chaired by the prime minister, approved the BDP2100. This is the long-term, water-centric, economic development plan for Bangladesh, in which the country will apply an Adaptive Delta Management approach to tackling future challenges relating to climate change, environmental degradation and rapid urbanisation. The key focus is to address the challenges associated with the country’s position on a large river delta in order to continue and consolidate the process of economic growth and development. The Netherlands provided technical and financial support to Bangladesh in preparing this holistic plan.

The plan focuses on nine critical areas and themes, and contains short-to-medium-term development targets and investment programmes, which run until 2031, in a portfolio of 80 projects with a total value of around US$ 35 billion. Bangladesh’s intention is to increase investments in water and delta management from 0.7 to 2.5% of GDP. BDP2100 will also guide the future collaboration between Bangladesh and the Netherlands.

BDP2100

Read more on BDP2100

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Results

Indicator

Number of health facilities that adopted the youth-friendly SRHR and HIV-AIDS services

Score

266 health facilities

Progress

On track

Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in increasing demand for and utilisation of sexual and reproductive health services. Yet, paradoxically, the decline in the maternal mortality rate has stagnated in the past six years, at the level of 196/100,000 live births. This indicates the need for improvement of coverage and quality of care, and for regulation of the private sector. SRHR services used to be non-youth friendly. The government, with the technical support of the ADOHEARTS project, has adopted the policy on Adolescent Friendly Health services in which health providers are trained to provide information and services – particularly related to sexuality and reproductive health - in a non-judgmental way. This approach has been initiated in 266 government health facilities (target 120). This provides a favourable environment for adolescents to receive information and services.

266 health facilities adopted the youth-friendly SRHR and HIV-AIDS services
Indicator

Number of people reached with non-judgmental, comprehensive and correct information on sexuality, HIV/AIDS, STIs, pregnancy and contraception

Score

596,263 young people

Progress

On track

About 30 million adolescents (aged 10 – 19) live in Bangladesh. A culture of silence about sexuality, misconceptions, taboos and stigmas exists in abundance, especially in relation to youth sexuality. Social pressure and stigma make it almost impossible for young people to access the information and services they need. Consequently, boys and girls get the wrong ideas about sexuality resulting in boys behaving in a sexually risky way and girls experiencing unwanted pregnancies. Parents marry off their daughters at too early an age, ignorant of the health risks and live long socio-economic consequences.

596,263 young people and 374,102 members of key populations reached with non-judgmental, comprehensive and correct information on sexuality, HIV/AIDS, STIs, pregnancy and contraception
Indicator

Number of comprehensive safe (pre- and post-)abortion care services provided

Score

3,609

Progress

Progress, not on track

Adolescent fertility in Bangladesh is among the highest in the world. According to the latest Bangladesh Household Survey of 2014, 15-19-year-old adolescents are responsible for up to a quarter of total pregnancies. Only 42% of these adolescents use modern contraception, leading to high numbers of unwanted pregnancies. Along with improved access to contraceptives, more adolescents are aware of where and when to access safe abortion services. Yet, the latest maternal mortality survey of 2016 indicates that abortion as a cause of death has increased since 2010 from 2 to 15 per 100,000 live births. The proportional contribution of abortion to maternal deaths increased from 1% to 7%. These findings are probably related to the poor quality of care. Abortion-related deaths peak among women aged 30-34.

3,609 (+ 1,714 under the HPNSP) comprehensive safe (pre- and post-)abortion care services provided through Menstrual Regulation (MR), Menstrual Regulation with Medication (MRM) and post-abortion care (PAC) services

Food security

The results in context

Bangladeshis are still struggling daily to access safe and affordable healthy diets. The Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) programme is addressing food-insecure households in three ways: through food fortification and connecting people to Nutritional Information & Services, through nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains, and through improved ecological landscape management.

Major Results:

An additional 1,266,607 people have improved food intakeAn additional 215,313 family farms have increased productivity and/or incomeAn additional 33,083 hectares of farmland used in a more eco-friendly way

These results are attributed to:

fortified food distribution to the most vulnerable, e.g. women in social safety nets, smallholder farmers and garment workers increased quality and quantity of agricultural input and output through improved farm technology, ICT and marketing increased on-farm and off-farm income and market links to access food women’s emancipation leading to diversification of food production, infant and child feeding as well as proper distribution of the food ecological sustainability, water and polder management, and climate resilience/adaptation data, information and knowledge on production and awareness raising.

Women’s rights and gender equality

Results

Indicator

Number of girls and women were linked to existing vocational training and employment opportunities

Score

5,497 girls and women

Progress

On track

Girls and women were linked to existing vocational training and employment opportunities to ensure sustainability. Close collaboration with government institutions has enabled the projects to enhance their links with government and communities, and 5,497 girls and women received various vocational trainings and were linked to local job opportunities and entrepreneurship, enabling them to pursue economic empowerment and contribute to the economic growth of the country.

5,497 girls and women were linked to existing vocational training and employment opportunities
Indicator

Number of demonstrable contributions to women’s rights and gender equality by public, civic and private institutions

Score

3,475 demonstrable contributions

Progress

On track

Harmful and discriminatory practices, such as child marriage, abandonment, dowries, and gender-based violence (GBV), persist in the country. Bangladesh ranks fourth in the international ranking on child marriage and 71% of girls in rural areas and 54% in urban areas are married before the age of 18. Such traditional attitudes hamper women’s aspiration to develop to their full potential. Economic participation is vital for women’s empowerment and is one of the main drivers in economic transformation.

3,475 demonstrable contributions to women’s rights and gender equality by public, civic and private institutions
Indicator

Number of civil society organisations equipped with a stronger capacity to advance women and girls’ rights and gender equality, including economic empowerment

Score

1,436 organisations

Progress

On track

Women’s Rights & Gender Equality results are attributed to: 1) Projects like Nirapod 2, IMAGE Plus, Making Market Work for Women (MMWW) and SHOKHI worked with civil society organisations, enhancing their capacity with knowledge, information and skills to support women and girls in addressing gender-based violence, accessing different public and private services and participating in economic activities; 2) Working with communities and target beneficiaries, involving them in raising voices for women’s rights and gender equality. Besides knowledge sharing and capacity building, projects are involved in organising number of public events, rallies, workshops, street dramas, TV commercials, TV dramas, FM radio programmes and publishing articles in both electronic and paper media. This increased attention for women’s empowerment – along with social, economic and gender-based violence issues, including child marriage – is producing a change in mind-set.

1,436 civil society organisations equipped with a stronger capacity to advance women and girls’ rights and gender equality, including economic empowerment

Water

Results

Indicator

People benefiting from improved water security and water safety in the project area

Score

0,15 million

Progress

On track

The stated result represents the additional number of people living in polder and coastal areas that are well protected and capable of securing their life and livelihood against natural disasters and vulnerabilities through the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed. In particular, water security means the availability of fresh water for multifunctional (productive and consumptive) use, which is the key concern in the saline tidal environment of these projects.

This result was realised through three individual projects:

1.The Blue Gold Program (Netherlands contribution 82% of total project cost)

2. South-west II (Netherlands contribution 12% of total project cost)

3. CDSP IV (Netherlands contribution 22% of total project cost) – implemented in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.

Of these three projects, around 63% of the total result was realised by the Blue Gold Program. The broader water security and water safety theme comprises both engineering and non-engineering interventions. In the engineering part, it includes the construction/reconstruction of drainage sluices and embankments, bank protection work, canal re-excavation, etc. Similarly, the non-engineering part includes water management group formation, capacity development, institutional development for participatory water management, improvement of agricultural productivity, strengthening of the agricultural value chain, etc. Both are complementary to each other to ensure a functional water management system in the project area, which ensures water security and safety for local people. CDSP IV is in the consolidation stage and contributed 26% of the total result in 2018.

Number of people
Indicator

People using safe drinking water facilities

Score

60,000

Progress

On track

The stated result reflects the additional number of people that gained access to safe drinking water facilities in the reporting period through the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed. Because of inadequate maintenance and use, WASH facilities deteriorate fast. The programme especially focuses on the sustainable use of water facilities.

This result was realised through three individual projects:

1. BRAC WASH Integration (Netherlands contribution 72% of total project cost)

2. CDSP IV (Netherlands contribution 22% of total project cost)

3. MaxNutriWASH (Netherlands contribution 100% of total project cost) – implemented in three different contexts.

In this result area, around 84% of the total result was made through the BRAC WASH integration project, which mainly involves the integration of WASH components in five different BRAC programmes. The achievement of the CDSP IV project is relatively low, only 7% of the total result, as it is in the consolidation stage.

In the Max WASH project, a very limited number of results (approx. 13% of the total) was achieved because of the delay in implementing the activity, and conceptualisation of a new approach (payment by result).

Number of people
Indicator

People using adequate and improved sanitary facilities

Score

0.26 million

Progress

On track

The stated result reflects only the additional number of people that gained access to adequate and improved sanitation facilities in the reporting period, due to the intervention of projects to which the Netherlands contributed. To ensure the proper use of sanitation facilities, intensive focus was placed on hygiene promotion and behavioural change. This cannot be reported within the existing result framework.

This result was realised through three different projects:

1. BRAC WASH Integration (Netherlands contribution 72% of total project cost)

2. CDSP IV (Netherlands contribution 22% of total project cost)

3. MaxNutriWASH (Netherlands contribution 100% of total project cost) – implemented in three different contexts.

Around 93% of the total result was achieved through the BRAC WASH integration project. This as result of the response to the humanitarian crisis due to the Rohingya influx from Myanmar at the end of 2017. There was enormous demand for WASH facilities for an additional 1 million people in the Rohingya camp. The implementing partner provided additional support to create WASH facilities as a part of an immediate response.

After a successful response to the emergency situation, the challenge for BRAC and other aid organisations is how to sustain the present services at the current level in the coming years.

Number of people
Fred Hoogervorst

Background and future Bangladesh

Glimpse into the future

Bangladesh is no longer a mere recipient of aid. It has become a Low Middle Income Country and the economy is projected to continue to grow in the coming yeast at a rate of 8% a year. By 2024 it will also have graduated out of the category of Least Developed Countries.

In light of these developments, our relationship with the country will change into a broader bilateral relationship with increased focus on economic relations (trade and investment), international co-operation, knowledge partnership, and comprehensive policy dialogue at government level. The potential for economic diplomacy is considerable, especially in sectors in which the Netherlands has a good reputation. Based on the lessons learnt from our past engagement with Bangladesh, among others, our relationship will have the following components:

Government-to-government co-operation on strategic policy issues, such as Delta management (the Netherlands as a strategic policy partner).

Knowledge-to-knowledge co-operation (the Netherlands as a knowledge and expertise centre), resulting in closer cooperation with Netherlands knowledge institutes.

Linking of Netherlands interests (e.g. commercial, knowledge) to our development co-operation activities.

Increased emphasis on promoting trade and investment opportunities for Netherlands private sector companies, a.o. by more extensive use of existing financial and trade-promotion instruments.

Enhanced presence of the Netherlands private sector and knowledge organisations.

Closer cooperation and alignment with Netherlands private sector development (PSD) organisations, such as the FMO, CBI and PUM.

Additional sources

Results Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Download PDF with results for Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh

Results Food security

Download PDF with results for Food security in Bangladesh

Results Women’s rights and gender equality

Download PDF with results for Women’s rights and gender equality in Bangladesh

Results Water

Download PDF with results for Water in Bangladesh

Expenditure by channel

Expenditure

Expenditure by theme

Expenditure