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Bangladesh: Protecting Human Rights

Donor: USAID
Grant Amount: $12,700,000
Project Dates: March 2011 to March 2016
Technical Areas Covered: Gender Based Violence; Human Rights; Domestic Violence; Child Marriage; Trafficking; Protection.

 

Project Summary:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported Protecting Human Rights (PHR) project is a five-year domestic violence prevention and protection program in Bangladesh, implemented by Plan International across the country, focusing on 102 unions and eight upazilas of six districts: Barguna, Bogra, Chittagong, Dinajpur, Jessore, and Sylhet. The aim of the program is to reduce domestic violence and related human rights abuses in Bangladesh. To implement the program, PHR works in partnership with the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Additionally, PHR has contracted 11 local partners through sub-recipient grants to carry out specific tasks at the district, upazila, and union levels.

In order to achieve its goal of reducing domestic violence and other human rights abuses in targeted areas, PHR is designed around the USAID four relevant Intermediate Results (IRs):

  • IR 1: Key DV and HR Legislation and Policies Enforced
  • IR 2: Increased use of Formal and Informal Justice Systems by HR Survivors
  • IR 3: Increased Support Services to HR Abuse Survivors
  • IR 4: Public Awareness on HR Issues Improved, which relate to five major program components as outlined in the Cooperative Agreement: 1) advocacy of legislative reform and enforcement to reduce domestic violence; 2) capacity building of key stakeholders involved with the protection and promotion of human rights; 3) increasing access to justice for survivors of human rights abuses; 4) providing survivor services for the survival of victims of DV and HR abuses; and 5) building mass awareness and implementing educational campaigns on domestic violence and other human rights abuses.

The PHR program has stressed the importance of forming partnerships, alliances, and collaborative efforts that foster preventive, protective, and legal human rights measures and developing linkages between and among local and national government representatives, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and community leaders. The coalition working together as agents of change with local communities spearhead efforts to: eradicate domestic violence and related human rights abuses such as dowry, child marriage, sexual harassment, trafficking-in-persons, stalking, rape, and child abduction; protect and support survivors; and prosecute perpetrators.

PHR has seen some remarkable successes in its first four years of implementation, including:

  • At the national level, PHR’s advocacy work paid off with the passage in April 2013 of the Rules for the Domestic Violence Act of 2010, and the project is continuing to educate the public and service providers on the proper application of these rules.
  • Plan has strengthened civil society coalitions that are advocating at the national and district levels, called Human Rights Advocacy Forums. These multi-stakeholder groups have been meeting regularly and leading initiatives to reduce child marriage and strengthen the services available to survivors.
  • At the community level, the Social Protection Groups that Plan has established are functional and have been leading community activities to change attitudes on domestic violence and ensure that survivors receive necessary services.
  • Over 5,100 survivors of domestic violence received legal services under the access to justice component.