Programmes and Projects

Sustainable development is the core underpinning philosophy of PSD. As such, we have developed an integrated approach to our programmes and projects, which includes careful consideration of social, environmental and economic issues that contribute to poverty in Bangladesh. Accordingly, our programmes are multifaceted, connected and flexible. 

Integrated Family Programme

PSD’s Integrated Family Programme involves three main areas:

  1. Free Schools
  2. Microcredit Scheme
  3. Adult Education


1. Free Schools

PSD operates two free primary schools in Moghbazar and Nandipara. The national curriculum is followed and students are encouraged to sit the final exams for entry into secondary school. As PSD is underpinned by a philosophy of sustainability, we also have a special focus on sustainability studies. All students receive a uniform, required text books, stationary, a school bag and any other learning resources, free of charge. Additionally, PSD staff provide general awareness training to parents about the importance of schooling for their children.  

Coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the students have unique learning styles. In response, PSD teachers employ a range of alternative and tailored pedagogies to improve learning outcomes. For example, because most of the children are relatively independent, we prefer interactive group work and discussion rather than one-way instructive methods. Teachers also use a one-on-one approach so the individual needs of each student are understood and catered for. Studies also focus on real life examples and contemporary community issues, which has more meaning for the students and usually gains greater support from parents. We have also noticed that many of our students have exceptional artistic skills and respond well to images and visual aids, thus PSD is endeavouring to use more multi-media in the class room.

2. Microcredit Scheme

Microcredit is the provision of small financial loans to disadvantaged families who have no access to mainstream credit services due to their poor economic situation. PSD provides small loans to families so they have the capital to start their own small enterprises, thus improving their economic situation in the long term. By learning how to help themselves, people become more self- empowered and less reliant on systems of welfare.

Research strongly suggests that microcredit is most effective when provided to women, because they have a tendency to pass on benefits to the whole family unit and have a significantly higher rate of repaying their loans than men[1]. Thus, women are the target beneficiaries of PSD microcredit programmes and to date approximately 200 women have taken advantage of this opportunity. The loans have been used to develop a range of alternative livelihoods including traditional block printing and batik, sari weaving, tailoring services, agricultural production, catering.   

Improving the economic situation also aids the success of the schooling programme. Parents are more likely to encourage their children to attend school if they have more certainty and stability surrounding their incomes. Relieving the economic burden of families is crucial in encouraging and facilitating education.


[1] International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (2007) Women Fact Sheet, www.ifad.org/hfs/thematic/southasia/south_1.htm

 

 3. Adult Education

Adults from both communities are also offered a range of informal vocational training opportunities for alternative livelihood development. Training provided often compliments the microfinance programme and to date has included health, hygiene and gender awareness training and counselling. This service enables the parents to improve the success of their small enterprise development, their ability to repay loans and, most importantly, to lift themselves out of poverty

Health Programme

Most of the families PSD works with have little or no access to basic health services. Consequently, many adults and children suffer from a range of illnesses and diseases. Most commonly these include colds, coughs, fevers, eye infections and diarrhoeal diseases. Malnutrition is also common amongst children. PSD provides free and regular doctor check-ups to all students. In addition, there are also first aid facilities available at each school. Although this programme is an improvement, this remains one of PSD’s most challenging areas and there is much work to be done.

Cultural Programme

On a regular basis the schools organise and host different cultural events for the families, partner organisations, education parents, volunteers and the wider community. These include cooking days, singing and dancing performances and displaying art work. These events are a great opportunity for the whole community to get together and appreciate the successes and unique talents of the students, whilst keeping Bangladesh’s unique culture alive.

 Advocacy

PSD is engaged in raising awareness, knowledge and action about poverty and sustainability issues at local, national and global levels. Through our integrated family programme [link to], we are constantly building awareness, knowledge and capacity with our beneficiaries. We are also actively involved in ECD (Early Childhood Development) and have cooperative arrangements with a range of partner organisations [link to partners and sponsors]. 

We also produce a quarterly newsletter, News and Views, which is available for download [link to news and views].