Photo: Viktoria Isaksson
More power for women through education and loans
The organisation Sabalamby Unnayan Samity (SUS) works with education, microfinance, health and disability, human rights, food security, the environment and women's rights. The work approach is integrated and holistic, which means working with several different aspects (education, awareness, health, organisation, violence against women etc.) Within this area, there is a great lack of public services, therefore SUS works with supporting people in demanding their rights.
SUS works in three districts in north-eastern Bangladesh: Netrakona, Sunamganj and Mymensingh with representatives in 18 sub-districts, upazilas. Here you can find the haor area, an enormous wetland that is flooded for large parts of the year during the monsoon. There are also enormous paddy-fields here that, when flooded, become like an ocean, where powerful waves are formed that can destroy houses, wash away roads, livestock and even people. SUS provides assistance for a total of more than 800,000 people.
The Swedish partner organisation is the Religious Society of Friends/Quaker Service Sweden, who seek funding from Sida via the Swedish Mission Council but who also contribute with donations.
The Swedish Mission Council is supporting the project with SEK 2,477,880 between 2012 and 2015. The project previously received support through Forum Syd.
- Committees for combating violence against women have been formed in several villages and districts. The aim of these is to give legal support to women who are victims of crimes in violation of their human rights and also to create awareness of violence towards women.
- During 2010, 211 accounts of crimes against women were reported, for example, torture owing to an insufficient dowry, kidnapping, rape and physical and psychological torture. 97 of these were negotiated in shalishi, mediation in the villages, 21 will be subject to mediation and 5 have ended up in court.
- In 2010, SUS had 100 pre-schools with 3,000 students in 93 villages. 127 students dropped out for various reasons but the remainder stayed until completion. 856 students have now continued their studies in different municipal and private schools.
- SUS has 30,220 members in their microfinance programme. In total they have provided loans amounting to SEK 34.5 million, SEK 19.6 million of which is unpaid. Total savings amount to SEK 6.4 million.