NORTHWEST BANGLADESH
RDRS works exclusively in Northwest Bangladesh, the northernmost area of the country, known as greater Rangpur-Dinajpur in Rajshahi Division. Its current working area covers 37 Upazilas (sub-districts) of 7 (Include Rangpur), Districts namely Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Kurigram & Lalmonirhat in the greater Rangpur-Dinajpur region in the northwest part of Bangladesh. Presently this includes 307 Unions – the
lowest tier of local government and extends into the riverine belt to include the islands and sandbars in the River Brahmaputra. The area is generally very low-lying, and crisscrossed by river systems. The total working area is 5,498 sq. with a population of 6.2 million. Total participants in the RDRS programme are approximately 1.5 million, including health and at least two-thirds are women. Rangpur is around 250 kilometers north of the capital Dhaka, and now well connected by road since the Jamuna Bridge was completed.
The northwest Bangladesh is historically more neglected and poor. The soil tends to be sandy and water tables deeper than in other regions.
Environmentally RDRS working area is vulnerable to frequent natural disasters. People face catastrophe like cyclones during summer, floods and river-bank erosion in the rainy season, drought in summer, spring and cold wave in winter.

THE BANGLADESH YEAR

January Cold, Drought, Lean Season
April Cyclone, Stroms
July Monsoons, Floods, River erosion, Lean Season
October Drought, Cold, Lean Season
 
Figure: RDRS Working MAP

Lacking any significant industrial development agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and main source of employment. The spread of irrigation has reduced the extent of the lean season but remains problematic

RDRS has a strong commit-ment to and receives respect from the people of the northwest. After providing humanitarian assistance to refugees in camps across the border in India, RDRS returned with them to focus in the northwest and contribute to the huge task of rehabilitation. When RDRS first began inside the country, most roads were earth-filled the few bridges and culverts damaged and no other NGOs operated. RDRS has assisted the people develop and played an important role in the
development of road systems,public services (bridges, culverts, clinics, schools) and flood shelters and in the greening of the landscape through afforestation, crop diversification and irrigation and in the education and organisations of the rural poor.
Copyright © 2001 RDRS Bangladesh. All rights reserved.