Bandhu Social Welfare Society started its journey in 1996 with a mission to address the health care needs and human rights issues of sexual minority populations for achieving a vision of a Bangladesh where every person, irrespective of their gender and sexuality, is able to lead a quality life with dignity, human rights and social justice.
Today after 20 years, Bandhu is sincerely continuing to serve the communities with undivided commitment and is paving the way for obtaining their social justice, equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Bandhu operates within its own strategic plan designed for every five year. The principles, activities and approaches of the Strategic Plan correspond to national priorities for health care interventions and directly linked with current National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS response. Bandhu’s activities have significantly contributed to attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the government, particularly Goals 1, 3 and 6.
The 4th Strategic Plan (2017-2021) of the organization is also developed to ensure that its program interventions on health and health rights, implemented through 36 well-equipped field health centers in 22 districts and 25 partner CBOs across the country, can add significant value to national response on health for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly 1, 3, 5, 16 and 17.
Bandhu’s 4th Strategic Plan (2017-2021) revolves on a Theory of Change considering the facts that gender and sexual minority communities need
(i) access to comprehensive and high quality health care services
(ii) access to social entitlements and social protection services; and
(iii) to live in an environment where their human rights are protected in order to have a minimum acceptable quality of life with dignity and respect like any other human beings.
To achieve this, Bandhu structures and strategizes its response around three main development pillars in its 4th SP 2017-2021:
- Improved access to quality health services
- Protection of human rights and access to justice
- Access to social entitlements and social protection
These three pillars shall constitute the key results that Bandhu would like to achieve by 2021, as measured through a set of core-Indicators of Bandhu.
Organizational activities, experience and achievement in sustainable development:
With support from different donors and development partners Bandhuhas scaled up essential Sexual Heath and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) activities including HIV intervention, legal support, advocacy and policy development programs that work on addressing the social, religious, cultural and legal impediments of LGBT communities in terms of their rights and freedom.
Broad range objectives are:
- To improve delivery of SRH -HIV prevention, care and treatment services for sexual minority population in Bangladesh.
- To enhance strategic knowledge about the impact of SRH and HIV on sexual minorities
- To advocate at policy level for enabling environment in order to facilitate issues with sexual minorities with ensuring sustainability, social justice and dignity
- Expansion of service coverage at other geographical locations
The focus area of work
Bandhu over the years has successfully collaborated with the Government of Bangladesh and development partners to ensure appropriate sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) based services including HIV prevention intervention for sexual minorities who are considered as marginalized population in terms of getting social justice, equality and freedom based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
The activities and services are being implemented countrywide through 37 well equipped field offices with clinical facilities and 500 staffs. Its activities are grounded at the grassroots level, involving emergent CBOs across the country (25 CBOs so far, both MSM and hijra).BSWS service model recognized as a best practice model by UNAIDS and Amfar Foundation USA.
I. Community strengthening and mobilizing to more effectively engage in governance, policy and service delivery
- Provision of safe spaces to meet, socialize and educate
- Outreach and networking
- Health and rights education
- Capacity building
- Knowledge generation
- Policy and advocacy
- Sensitization Meeting/workshop/consultation session at policy level
- Project Facilitation Team (PFT) Meeting with local level administration, social elites, Lawyers and Journalists
- Local elected bodies
- Law Enforcement Agencies
II. Social welfare and support services
- Drop-in services
- Psychosexual, psychosocial and Mental health counseling
- Livelihood program
- Vocational training and skills building
- Community building activities
III. Health services
- STI and general health treatment services
- Care and support services
- Free medical consultation
- Free medicine
- Referrals for ARV access and other health services
IV. Legal support
- Legal counselling
- Document harassment and violation cases
- Monitoring and evaluation of the cases
- Refer the cases to the appropriate authority
The organizational structure
The organization is systematically organized and delivers its services through eight integrated departments i.e. Prevention & Care, Policy Advocacy & Communication, Training & Social Awareness, Monitoring & Evaluation and Research, Finance, Administration and Human Resources, Public Relation & Resource Mobilization, Internal Audit. This framework is being managed from Central Office in Dhaka. The Executive Director is the chief executive and is assisted by Director-Programs and Director – Finance & Admin along with senior management team who are the heads of the each department.
Monitoring and Evaluation:Bandhu has developed its integrated monitoring and impacts evaluation unit which synchronizes with various projects that the organization implements.
Financial Management and Audit: Bandhu has a transparent and responsive financial management with computerized data base system. A central account of Bandhu is maintained through a Mother Bank Account (Core Account) where all funds including project funds are initially deposited. The Core Account records the inflow and outflow of funds.
Internal Audit: An Internal Audit system supported by qualified audit firm works independently and report to the Executive Director. In addition, external auditors regularly conduct annual audit of projects as well as for organization.
Bandhu has also extended its network to regional and international arena and is now considered as one of the largest programs in regional and international showground in terms of addressing broad range of sexual minority population. These networking with different forums and platforms and its active involvement in the activities and initiatives have collectively contributed to make the organization more visible in the areas it works.
Bandhu is now the secretariat of South Asia LGBT Network and is also an integral part of number of regional and International initiatives such as AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (ASAP), International AIDS Society, South Asia MSM and AIDS Network (SAMAN), MSM Global Forum (MSMGF), Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM), Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), South Asia Human Rights Commission of Marginalized Sexualities and Genders (SAHRA) etc.
Apart from this, BSWS is an active member of STI/AIDS network of Bangladesh, Bangladesh human rights forum, SRHR and Advocacy Forum.