Camila Gutierrez Plata, MAUD 2018 and Ross Marc Eisenberg, MUP 2018
Organization: United Nations Development Programme, Bangladesh
Sponsor: International Travel Community Service Fellowship
” In the first few weeks we worked with 3 Bangladeshi students from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology with whom we traveled to three different cities, and met with each city’s government officials and community leaders. With them we went to several different poor settlements in each of the cities, to understand each of them and set the quantitative data we looked at in context.
We first visited three different settlements in the city of Narayanganj, close to Dhaka. After meeting with some officials at the City Corporation office, we went to some nearby settlements that are on Railway Authority land. These are right in the city center and are very dense; we were guided through the settlements by the Community Development Committee leader, who took us around the settlements, showing us some of the poor conditions, like clogged drains and bad quality housing, as well as some of the improvements they had made with the previous UNDP programme, like water pumps and cement pathways.
We then visited a poor settlement across the Shitalakshya River, one located in a more rural area of the city. Here we met with some of the representatives of the community and had a small focus group discussion with them.
After this we split in two groups and visited Mymensingh Municipality and Chandpur City Corporation. First we met with some of the local government officials and community leaders, with whom we later visited three communities – one on the peripheral riverbank and two others closer to the city center.”