72.6% of women who have been married in Bangladesh have experienced at least one kind of violence by their husband in their lifetime.
We develop women leaders who play active roles in their communities. Almost a million women are members of our 12,800 polli shomaj - democratic, women-led institutions through which they build support networks, claim entitlements, and prevent exploitation. These institutions strengthen rural communities by closing gaps between women and local government. We also improve access to information through platforms, such as our popular theatre groups, and Radio Pollikontho, an award-winning community radio station. These mediums address social issues, such as violence against women and children.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND LEGAL AID SERVICES
31 million Bangladeshis experience one or more legal problems every year. Only one in every two of these people seek legal information and advice.
As the largest NGO-led legal aid programme in the world, we primarily work in three ways: raising awareness and mobilising communities to know and stand up for their rights, addressing the immediate needs of individuals through alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and providing all necessary support to survivors of human rights violations, including filing cases in court. We operate 453 legal aid clinics in 61 out of 64 districts across Bangladesh, and focus our work particularly on women, children, and marginalised communities.
GENDER JUSTICE AND DIVERSITY
USD 12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.
BRAC’s gender transformative approach strengthens the voice, choice, and space for women and girls to combat violence and eliminate all forms of gender discrimination, with the active engagement of men and boys. We work to transform socio-cultural gender norms, build capacity of our staff and stakeholders, ensure a supportive working environment for everyone, and advocate for gender equality and gender justice at all levels through gender mainstreaming.
LIPI CAN NOW GO TO SCHOOL AGAIN
Lipi used to love going to school in Badarganj, Rangpur, until a man twice her age started harassing her. Lipi repeatedly refused his advances but he persisted. She was a student of class 6 at the time.
One day he blocked Lipi on the way to school. He began to assault her and then attempted to kidnap her. Luckily, her friends heard the screams and intervened just in time.
Lipi’s parents went to the school headmaster and the union council chairman to seek help, and filed a general diary with the police. No one took action. Worried about her security, Lipi’s parents asked her to stop going to school.
Her father went to BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Services staff, who suggested alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is often recommended instead of court proceedings for expeditious results as there is a huge backlog of cases. There are currently 3.3 million court cases pending in Bangladesh because of lengthy legal processes.
BRAC works with the government and local authorities to hasten and resolve such cases. In this case, BRAC officials took Lipi to the government sub-district executive officer (UNO) and also discussed the matter with the union council chairman and the locals. The UNO ordered the police to take action. The UNO discussed with the district commissioner who took the decision to form a mobile court. The mobile court found the man guilty, and both he and his father were arrested and ordered to serve 15 days in jail or pay BDT 3,000 in fines. The man paid the fine and signed an undertaking that he will not harass or threaten anyone again.
Lipi is now attending school again and studying hard for her SSC exam next year.