Working areas in Bangladesh

We envision a world in which every woman, man and child lives a life in dignity and security, exercises self-determination and cares for the environment in such a way that needs of the current generation as well as of future ones are met. This vision is the basis for our mission to help disadvantaged men, women and communities in developing countries. We work in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe in the domains of water and infrastructure, environment and climate change, rural economy, skill development and education, and governance and peace.
In Bangladesh, we have been active since 2000 (formerly under the name of Intercooperation) and have specialized in rural economy, local governance, natural resource management and disaster risk reduction.
Women in road side vegetable cultivation

Rural Economy

We believe that sustainable agriculture and a thriving rural economy are crucial for improving rural livelihoods. Therefore, one of our main areas of focus is rural economy: sustainable agriculture, food security, value chain facilitation, private sector development and rural finance. We offer particular competence in designing sustainable production systems and innovative rural advisory services. We also have extensive experience in market and value chain facilitation. Our competence in private sector development is closely linked to promoting small businesses which create employment, and to making markets work for the poor. We are used to closely collaborate with the private sector and to set up public private development partnerships.
Thematic competences are:
  • Sustainable agriculture systems
  • Food security
  • Agricultural extension
  • Value chain facilitation
  • Income and employment generation
  • Market access and marketing capacities
  • Private sector development
  • Quality management and business planning
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Inclusive business development services

Local Governance

We strongly believe that a good relationship between the state and its citizens is crucial for development, where the state offers basic services and security to its citizens as clients and partners, and active citizens are able to claim their rights and influence policies in their interest. We want to pursue the idea that active citizens and effective state can jointly make a difference. We therefore promote good governance and democratic principles, human rights, justice, and peace. Our thematic fields focus on strengthening local
governments and civil society, decentralization as a means towards local democratic governance, strengthening institutions and inclusive processes, and involving citizens in decision-making to promote local development.
Thematic competences are 
  • Decentralization (planning, finance, services)
  • Public administration
  • Municipal development and management
  • Citizen engagement and participation
  • Strengthening of councils
  • Strengthening of civil society
  • Accountability
  • Lobbying and advocacy
  • Gender and governance
  • Human rights and social inclusion

Environment and climate change

Natural Ressource Mangement
Environmental performance and livelihoods are closely interlinked and at times there are tradeoffs. We design and support the implementation of
interventions that optimize the livelihood and environment interactions. We develop measures which mitigate climate change and at the same time are profitable for local communities. We advise development actors to design and support measures that help rural communities to adapt to climate change and to manage disaster risks.

Disaster Risk Reduction
A systematic DRR approach is needed to secure any development gains made and to avoid setbacks; it is essential to take into account a multi hazard approach and incorporate risk reduction and resilience building project activities. We support programmes to mainstream DRR as a transversal theme across all their development interventions. DRR initiatives include efforts to reduce hazards (land use zoning, structural
measures), reduce the vulnerability (better housing, diversified livelihoods) and/or enhance the capacity to deal with them (savings, access to credit, insurance). Non-structural measures, such as community based risk assessment, awareness building, early warning systems, livelihood diversification and strengthening are equally important elements of DRR.
Water is Life

Access to Drinking Water

Water is a human right. Nevertheless, access to safe drinking water is still a challenge for rural populations across the country. We contribute to improving access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by strengthening the capacity of the key sector actors (local communities, civil society, private sector, local and national government) by establishing effective coordination and communication mechanisms between them and by shaping appropriate framework conditions (national policies, norms & standards, financial mechanisms, etc.).
field visit Day_15

Gender and Social Equity

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation adopts a combined approach in striving for gender equality and social equity considering gender discrimination is part of social inequity, and  tending to more readily recognise and accept the need to work on gender issues perceiving Gender Equality as a part of striving for social inclusion. Moreover, an understanding of gender relations in a given country requires a wider understanding of the social context and the way that different cultural beliefs and practices impact on women and men according to their class, caste, ethnicity, age and other relevant social groupings. 

Read more about "Gender and Social Equity"
on our blog at the international website