‘Every day, we are learning from the grassroots people, and the grassroots are the mentors for all development practitioners around the world.’

Dr. Md. Shahid Uz Zaman
Founder & Executive Director, ESDO

ESDO has been continuing from more than three and half decades with a vision an equitable society free from all discrimination. ESDO firmly believe that sustainable development never be possible without ownership of the grassroots people . Ownership come from effective participation and effective participation only possible through the addressing the common problem of the community. We believe that systemic and enduring change is possible when communities are able to initiate and drive their own development agenda. If their capacity is built they can bring changes in systems to access basic rights and services through working with government and other actors as well as harness and grow their own resources.

We all know that there is no short-cut solution to the improvement and empowerment of grassroots people. It’s a long road, but people-initiated, people-led initiatives and people’s center are the best approach for sustainable development and empowerment of community, locality and population. Every day, we are learning from the grassroots people, and the grassroots are the mentors for all development practitioners around the world. Most of our experiences guide that lack of community ownership and applying the traditional top-down approach, albeit initially were more effective, ultimately produce insignificant outcome. Also, the deep-rooted socio-cultural stigma and formal power structures also play a crucial role in the success of development agenda. As a holistic development organization, ESDO emphasized the blending of Human Rights-based Approach and Service Delivery Approach to trigger its initiative for the optimum benefit of the target groups. At the same time, We therefore, invest in capacity building to enhance community-led initiatives to create a firm basis for sustainable development and social justice.

ESDO managed the mentioned programs in 3831 Unions, 153 Municipality, 381 Upazila under 52 districts & 7 City Corporation, 8 Division of Bangladesh, directly reaching more than 10 million poor and vulnerable people. Different need-based programs are aimed to enhancing the capabilities of deprived people in terms of social development, disaster facing, food security, agriculture, gender, nutrition, microfinance, health, environment, rights and governance, education and human development, and with empowering them to solve the problems that affect their lives and to cooperate to resisting oppression and exploitation. The undertaking of such self-initiated and autonomous actions is an important achievement in a context where the deprived people are dependent for their livelihood and social security. Within the reporting period of 2022–2023, ESDO has implemented a good number of exemplary initiatives in Bangladesh.

I thank the General committee, Executive Committee, leadership team, senior management, and the entire staff for their positive attitude, commitment, and teamwork. They embody the true ESDO spirit of passionate work!

We also convey our heartfelt gratitude to all concerned government officials for their guidance. We are always grateful to our development partners for their continuous, long-term partnership with ESDO. This partnership is not only in terms of financial support but also in terms of technical guidance and lessons sharing from the field. Our sincere gratitude goes to all the development partners of ESDO.

A big salute to all participants—they are actually the drivers of this development journey while we are just helpers, and through this fruitful combination of driver and helper, significant effective changes has already been observed by different studies and feedback from different stakeholders.

We shall overcome.