Four out of five married women in Bangladesh experience violence at least once in their lifetime. (BBS 2015)
We exist to change mindsets that accept gender-based violence, and the culture of not seeking justice which results from complex judicial processes, low conviction rates and social stigma. Only 2.6% of married women in Bangladesh experiencing violence take legal action. Dedicated services to respond to violence are often unavailable.
Our community-led approach supports women to enhance their leadership capacities and work with men and adolescents to create transformative change towards a society without gender-based violence. We started in October 2021, through the consolidation of two of BRAC’s rights-based programmes: Human Rights and Legal Services and the Community Empowerment Programme.
violent acts and harmful practices, like child marriage, dowry, and domestic violence, prevented
women leaders preventing gender-based violence and promoting rights in rural areas
women members of Pollishomaj (community-led organisations) contested in local government elections and 1,772 elected
*From 2001 to 2022
“BRAC Social Empowerment and Legal Protection Programme is playing a leading role in developing women's leadership by building a community-based grassroots forum called Pollishomaj. The Pollishomaj members reported increased roles in accessing justice, protesting violence against women, child marriage, accessing safety net allocation for the right holders, participating in local governance institutions, and political process.
“On behalf of UNESCO, I would like to send my heartfelt congratulations to Radio Pollikontho for reaching this significant milestone of successfully operating a community radio station for over 10 years. Radio Pollikontho has spent over the past decade developing its listening communities through the radio, as well as other online and offline activities. Its initiatives have been greatly praiseworthy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT WE DO
Promote grassroots activism through community-led platforms
Forming Pollishomaj (community-led platforms) to promote activism and take affirmative action against gender-based violence.
Raising awareness and building capacity
Tailor-made social and behavioural change campaigns and capacity building initiatives to improve women and girls’ individual and collective agency, engage men and boys to foster positive masculinity and change gender-based power relations at the community level.
Legal aid services
Legal advice and counselling, alternative dispute resolution and court case support for survivors of violence.
Local advocacy and networking
Advocacy initiatives at the local level, particularly with local government institutions, to address child marriage and improve GBV response services.
Action drama and community radio
Popular theatre and community radio to disseminate information on socioeconomic issues, including rights, entitlements, gender-based violence and harmful practices.
Referral services for violence survivors
Targeted service referral for protection and social reintegration of survivors with healthcare, psychosocial, legal and income-generating activity services.
HOW WE DO IT
Pollishomaj (community-led organisations)
6,918 organisations across Bangladesh, through which community can combat gender-based violence and women can exercise their rights
Legal aid clinics
233 clinics provide free legal support to survivors of gender-based violence and people living in vulnerable conditions
2,000+ local folk artists and 183 community theatre groups raise awareness and share information in local dialects
Community radio: Radio Pollikontho 99.2 FM
1million+ people reached each year with social awareness messages in local dialect
Partnerships and collaboration
Partnering with government agencies and BRAC’s programmes to ensure multi-sectoral services and justice for survivors of violence
WHY IT WORKS
Enables women, men and adolescents to obtain the individual and collective agency to be organised and raise their voices against gender-based violence
Survivor-centric prevention, protection and social reintegration
Ensures all survivors are treated with dignity, respect and confidentiality in delivering legal, psychosocial and other referral services
Information through edutainment
Information and awareness messages disseminated through interactive action drama and programmes in local dialects for maximum impact
Accessible legal education and services at the community level
Free legal advice, alternative dispute resolution and needs-based case support to the doorsteps of survivors of violence