RDRS Bangladesh has been working for rural development by empowering the rural poor in northwest Bangladesh for over 38 years. RDRS was formally established as the Bangladesh field programme of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation/Department for World Service (LWF/DWS) on 8 February 1972 to provide relief, rehabilitation and development assistance to the war-affected people in northwest Bangladesh. The Koch Bihar Refugee Service (CBRS), which assisted thousands of people fleeing from war-ravaged Rangpur-Dinajpur region to adjoining Koch Behar in India during War of Liberation in 1971, is the forerunner of RDRS
About RDRS Bangladesh
RDRS Bangladesh has been working for rural development by empowering the rural poor in northwest Bangladesh for over 38 years. RDRS was formally established as the Bangladesh field programme of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation/Department for World Service (LWF/DWS) on 8 February 1972 to provide relief, rehabilitation and development assistance to the war-affected people in northwest Bangladesh. The Koch Bihar Refugee Service (CBRS), which assisted thousands of people fleeing from war-ravaged Rangpur-Dinajpur region to adjoining Koch Behar in India during War of Liberation in 1971, is the forerunner of RDRS.
Registered under: NGO Affairs Bureau
Registration Number: 003
Registration Date: 22 April 1981 and renewed on 17 May 2010
Vision and Mission
The rural poor and marginalized achieve meaningful political, social and economic empowerment, quality of life, justice and a sustainable environment through their individual and collective efforts.
RDRS works with the rural poor and their organisations in order to establish and claim their rights as citizens; to build their capacity and confidence to advance their empowerment; and resilience to withstand adversity; and to promote good governance among local institutions and improved access by the marginalized to opportunities, resources and services necessary to fulfil decent lives.
Some Important Moves of RDRS
Over the 40 years, four broad states are identified in the development of the RDRS programme:
Relief and Rehabilitation: 1972-1975 (Emergency response; Physical rehabilitation)
Sectoral Development: 1975-1985 (Key sectoral specialism; Research and development phase)
Comprehensive Development: 1985-2005 (Community based Federations; Microfinance programme)
Comprehensive Development with Right-based Approach: 2005-onwards (Partnership with GO/NGOs; Access to resources and services)
Mainstream Programmes and Priorities
The RDRS strategy is operationalized through the vehicle of four mainstream programmes which translate broad strategic aims into themes (or sectors) as the basis for specific development interventions. Some themes apply across several programmes and, where possible efforts are made to ensure these are complementary. The mainstream programmes and their thematic priorities are:
Priority 1: Active Citizens, Civil Society and Justice
Empowerment of citizens, CBOs, CSOs
Accountable local governance
Gender equality & women’s empowerment
Action against domestic violence, trafficking/kidnapping and injustice
Enhancing awareness and skills Quality of Life (Health, Education)
Priority 2: Quality of Life
Communicable disease and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS
Safe water, sanitation and hygiene
Access to basic health care
Quality education for children, adolescents
Natural Resources and Environment
Priority 3: Food, Environment & Disaster resilience
Climate change adaptation and mitigation
Disaster risk & vulnerability reduction
Food security & sovereignty
Access to livelihood resources, skills and technologies Economic Empowerment
Priority 4: Economic Empowerment
Access to financial services
Enterprise and market linkages
Reduction of seasonal unemployment and hunger (impact of monga)
Management and Staff
RDRS is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising leading actors from the humanitarian sector in Bangladesh. Its programmes run by a Management Committee consisted of 9 senior staff members.
RDRS programme is supported by longstanding core partners including Church of Sweden; Finn Church Aid, Finland; Norwegian Church Aid, Norway; DanChurchAid, Denmark; ICCO & Kerk in Actie, The Netherlands; CORDAID, The Netherlands; Stromme Foundation, Norway; BftW, Germany; and ELCA, America.
RDRS also implements a range of different partnership and bilateral projects – based upon its core programme with support from bilateral/multilateral agencies including Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; DFID; Save the Children, PKSF Bangladesh; The Asia Foundation, ADB; WFP; UNDP; UNESCO; USAID; EC; WaterAid Bangladesh; Kik Textilien, and Practical Action, Bangladesh.
RDRS Working Area and Population
Working Area: 22,161 sq. Km Other Participants
Districts: 16 Participants in health programme: 144,000
Upazila: 74 Children in Education Programme: 68,000
Unions: 534 Other clients/beneficiaries: 289,658
Population of RDRS area: 21 million Facilities
Total Groups: 16,525 Head Office: Dhaka
Participant Households: 410,000 Central Coordination Office: Rangpur
Programme Participants: 2.25 million Research Centre: NBI, Rangpur
Training Centres: 11, Staff: 2,904, Volunteers: 734
Established in 1972 to assist with relief and rehabilitation of greater Rangpur-Dinajpur region immediately following the War of Independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the RDRS program evolved into a sectoral then comprehensive effort. Formerly the Bangladesh field program of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation/Department for World Service, RDRS became a national development organization in 1997.