One of the programs run by The Hunger Project in Bangladesh that works to end hunger builds the capacity of elected women, focused on two core areas: 1) to challenge gender inequality and violence against women, and 2) enabling women to effectively participate in local politics.
The program – called POWER for Political Participation for Women for Equal Rights – raises awareness about the patriarchal and traditional structures that reinforce routine human rights violations faced by women.
Shifting mindsets over time
A new survey conducted in almost 550 households in the Khulna district where the capacity building work was carried out showed that the POWER program has resulted in significant, positive shifts in mindset and behaviour – within just a 2-year period*. For example, the survey found:
*Comparing 2015 (baseline) and 2017 (endline) data from 542 households. Respondents included women and men.
The survey also found that as a result of THP’s capacity building interventions, community members reported engaging in elections and local cooperatives, feeling a sense of agency to change things, and feeling satisfied with local services and institutions. For example:
This newfound sense of collective community empowerment is evident in the story of Rumi, a 14 year old girl who was taken out of school and nearly forced into a child marriage – learn more about Rumi’s inspirational story HERE .
The survey also identified areas that still require attention – for current work in the Khulna district and for future scale up of the POWER program in other districts. THP Bangladesh is looking at the survey’s recommendations and will incorporate them into future program planning and interventions. The survey identified for example:
A snapshot of our work in Bangladesh:
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