Today, over a quarter of Bangladesh' population lives in towns and cities. Rapid urbanisation, coupled with limited financial and physical capacity, has put significant strain on these areas.
To date, the Government of Bangladesh has mostly ignored the growth of informal settlements, or reacted by evicting squatters. New approaches to the urban context are needed.
The project builds on previous engagement with the community of Jogen Babu Maath (JBM), a slum in Dinajpur city. 50 households (approx. 250 people) occupy the once waterlogged and uninhabitable space. Like many informal settlements, JBM is characterised by tenure insecurity, poor housing materials, limited access to public services, and densely crowded and unsanitary conditions.
The aim is to incrementally improve living conditions through community mobilisation. The team are supporting capacity building, facilitating access to banking and co-designing vital infrastructure - sanitation, drainage and road surfacing.
JBM community and committee
Nuton para ('New St') in Jogen Babu Maath slum, consists of 50 households. The community are both Hindu and Muslim. Many are from different parts of the country, and most moved to Dinajpur for economic reasons. They are involved in a range of occupations from construction day labourers to rickshaw pullers and earn between 100-250 BDT per day (99p-£2.47).
In November 2015, AzuKo facilitated a democratic election to establish a committee. The 11 person group is representing the community throughout the project from brief development to design, construction and maintenance.
AzuKo is an architecture charity, registered in the UK. The nonprofit aims to empower global communities through design. AzuKo works alongside communities to improve living conditions in some of the world's poorest areas. Research-driven projects range from housing, sanitation and infrastructure to public space.
AzuKo is the implementing agency, supporting JBM with design, engineering and technical expertise as well as fundraising.
- Musings from Jo, director of AzuKo
SAFE is a local shelter nonprofit, based in northwest Bangladesh. The organisation aims to reduce the vulnerability of low income households to environmental hazards such as flooding. Primarily this is achieved through promoting improved house building techniques and environmental initiatives. SAFE is a trusted organisation within the region and is a champion for culturally sensitive design solutions.
SAFE is heading community engagement, including gathering baseline data and facilitating workshops. SAFE will support JBM with logistics, material sourcing and construction.
- Read an interview with Apu, project manager
- Architecture students and graduates from BRAC University (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
- Photographer / videographer Turjoy Chowdhury
- Documenting current conditions, community assets, skills and motivations
- Establishing a democratically elected committee
- Providing capacity building opportunities (eg mapping, finance)
- Undertaking a needs assessment
- Developing a brief
- Identifying and designing technical solutions
- Logistics, sourcing and construction
Three areas for development have been identified as a priority - sanitation provision, improvements to drainage and road surfacing. Through AzuKo support and a range of fundraising efforts (sponsorship / events / campaigns) funds have been raised for phases 1 and 2, and for the design and construction of a communal sanitation facility, to be completed in November.
Additional funding is sought (approx. £10,000) for the design and construction of solutions to address drainage and road surfacing needs.
The team would like to thank every donor. Gifts may include:
- Thank you and acknowledgement (social media, email, letter)
- Personalised project updates (email, photography, film)
- Handicrafts produced by Jogen Babu Maath womens group
- Logo displayed on website / project publications / impact reports / press
- Opportunities for involvement / engagement
The team believes in the power of participatory design to improve lives. Any media support which champions public interest design and our human-centred methodologies is gratefully received.
This project embodies community-driven development (CDD).
"People are the best judges of how their lives and livelihoods can be improved and, if given adequate support, resources, and access to information, they can organise themselves to provide for their immediate needs." - ADB
The project brief has been developed by the community, in response to their specific needs and context. JBM committee will lead phase three including sourcing materials, site management, ongoing maintenance and reporting.
The participatory approach ensures self-reliance rather than dependence on aid. Capacity building workshops throughout are key to longterm sustainable development, allowing the community to continue incremental upgrading works beyond the project scope.
Description: Community-driven development in an urban slum of Bangladesh
Consultants: Simple Action For the Environment (SAFE)
Building status: proposal (Buildify submission)
Construction period: 2016-17
Needs: funding support, promotion
Location: Dinajpur, Bangladesh
Coordinates: 25°38'3'' N, 88°38'53.7'' E
Tags: community, incremental development, slum, participation, low budget
Project ID: 627
Published: 19 September 2016
Last updated: 12 October 2016
(images have individual licenses)