More about our work in Bangladesh
We are producing a ground-breaking political debate programme with a weekly audience of 7 million across television and radio.
The Bangladesh economy has been growing at an impressive 5% per year for the past decade. While seven million people were lifted out of poverty between 2000 and 2005, around 40% of the population still live on less than $1 per day.
The country is also making good progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the areas of immunization and the participation of women in the economy.
The most remarkable achievement is in the field of primary education, with Bangladesh well on its way to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015, although retention is an issue.
However, despite decreasing poverty, nearly half of all children under five are malnourished and governance remains an issue.
Bangladesh came into being in 1971, when Pakistan split - East from West - after a bitter liberation war. Bangladesh spent most of the next 15 years under military rule.
Democracy was restored in 1990, but political tensions have spilled over into violence, in which more than 100 people have been killed in recent years.
Today, much of the unrest is blamed on antagonism between the two main political parties: the Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) - which was created by forces opposed to the Awami League in the late 1970s. The mutual animosity between their respective leaders, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, has been reflected in frequent clashes between their supporters.
The crisis escalated in October 2006, when the BNP-led government stepped down ahead of the planned January 2007 elections. In line with the constitution, a caretaker government assumed power during the campaign period. However, the Awami League, alleging electoral bias, announced a boycott.
This led to further violence, a state of emergency was declared, elections postponed and a military-backed caretaker government appointed. Although elections have been promised by the end of 2008, for now much of the political process has been suspended.
- The number of people living on less than $1 per day has decreased significantly since 1991 - from 58.8% to 41.3%
- Bangladesh has almost met the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to primary education by 2015 - 96.7% of children are currently enrolled
- 47.5% of children under the age of five are still malnourished
- 65% of people watch television and 39% listen to radio
- There has been phenomenal growth in the mobile phone sector - currently at 37m, but estimated to rise to 50m by 2009
Governance and human rights
Working in partnership with Bangladeshi broadcasters and the BBC Bangla Service, we produce a ground-breaking political debate programme
that gives citizens the opportunity to interact with policy-makers, civil society figures and independent personalities on important issues of the day.
Now in its third series, Bangladesh Sanglap (Bangladesh Dialogue) reaches a weekly audience of 7 million across television and radio.
Eighty per cent of its audience believes the programme has improved political debate in Bangladesh. More