Planting sustainable development

English11. April 2015

Work by Norway’s Strømme Foundation to encourage entrepreneurship and education in Bangladesh has long been backed by the Kavli Trust. Their partnership is now being extended to a new programme.

Bangladesh_Shonglap_Per FronthThis socio-economic empowerment with dignity and sustainability (SEEDS) initiative involves purposeful work with 3 000 marginalised and poverty-stricken families. The latter are located in the most vulnerable parts of Bangladesh, where the Strømme Foundation already has its Shonglap educational project. Seeds could ultimately reach 14-15 000 people.

“Achieving long-term change in local communities means that the people themselves must be involved,” explains acting communication manager Rune Mørland at the foundation.

“That’ll create the soil for cultivating lengthy and vigorous growth. And the spin-offs will be substantial.”

He adds that the Kavli Trust’s decision to support the work in Bangladesh means a great deal for the foundation and for all the people affected. The funds being provided by the trust for the Seeds programme will be split between encouraging entrepreneurship and providing education.

Entrepreneurship

  • —   Vocational training for adults and young people.
  • —   Establishing community centres as active meeting places for local communities. People will contribute themselves to the construction work and to filling the centre with such pursuits as a library, various services, exchanging experience and identifying markets.
  • —   A financial and practical start-up package for the very poorest, so that they can begin cultivating vegetables and meeting basic needs.
  • —   Work on influencing civil society and the government to safeguard the rights of poor people.

Education

  • —   Strengthening existing primary schools through an educational collaboration to boost school attendance, quality and governance.
  • —   “Bridge schools” for boys and girls aged nine to 11 and 12-13, where they can catch up on missed learning and return to school after completing an exam.
  • —   Shonglap groups for girls aged 11-18 who have dropped out of school. This programme raises their awareness of human trafficking, child marriage and dowries, and aims to enhance their self-confidence, strengthen their vocational training, and improve their reading, writing and arithmetic skills as well as their health knowledge.
  • —   Shonglap Forum, follow-up groups for girls who have completed the Shonglap programme.

“Helping individuals to grow in dignity and strength creates enthusiasm and movement,” emphasises Mørland. “So we expect SEEDS to spread further to 6-9 000 families in neighbouring areas.”

For more information, go to www.strommestiftelsen.no

Photos: Per Fronth

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