Increased access to basic public services will give millions of poor people a chance to participate in society. Other important initiatives are aimed at giving women and vulnerable people a voice in the political dialogue. The Bangladeshi government has taken solid measures to reduce the effects of climate change by developing a national strategy for climate adaptation. Sweden and other donor countries are behind this strategy. The people living in urban slum areas are particularly vulnerable and exposed. Sweden supports several initiatives to provide water and sanitation to people living in these areas.
Groups of poor people in rural areas and in cities still have limited access to good quality public service. Through its support for health and education, Sida aims to help change this. Through aid directed to the education sector in Bangladesh, we are supporting efforts to improve the quality of basic education for all children. It is particularly important that this support reaches the most vulnerable children. Since 2005, the government’s plan for the education sector has had a series of positive results through Swedish support. The enrolment of pupils is constantly increasing, new teaching positions are being created and 4,000 new education centres are being built for extremely poor children who have previously fallen outside the system. Bangladesh’s Education for All, National Plan of Action II 2003–2015.
Increased investment in health care is another central part of Bangladesh’s strategy to combat poverty. The plan is to reach out to the groups that today have the worst access to care. A particular focus for Sida’s support is sexual and reproductive health and rights within the frameworks of maternal health care and to ensure all people receive and can benefit from good quality health care, both in cities and in rural areas. There have been clear improvements within health care in recent years, but there is still much to do before it has reached an acceptable level. For example, only 13 per cent of childbirths take place in the presence of medical staff. Clear progress has still been made, such as a reduction in infant mortality and more vaccinations. Link to Bangladesh’s Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Programme.
Bangladesh’s democracy is still young and unstable. The country’s high level of corruption is slowing the continued development of democratic institutions. Within the frameworks of its support, Sida is working to strengthen the role of the citizen by examining the quality and accessibility of public service. Much of Sida’s support goes directly to the civil society’s organizations and their work for democracy and human rights. One example is the support given to Steps Towards Development to improve women’s participation within politics at local level.
Read more about developments in Bangladesh.