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PRAAN Launches Women-Friendly Space to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in coastal Noakhali

Bangladesh has experienced a rise in gender-based violence in recent years, with reports indicating an increase in incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment. Many women in Bangladesh may feel hesitant to report these crimes or seek help due to fear of stigma and potential retaliation.


In any emergency, nature or manmade, the situation worsens. Women become more vulnerable due to their gender and societal roles. Displaced women, particularly those forced to leave their homes due to natural disasters, are especially vulnerable. River erosion induced land loss and displacement is a common scenario for demographics in Noakhali. Even if they are shifted in shelter, be it temporary or permanent, particularly women may still face challenges such as inadequate access to basic services, lack of employment opportunities, and limited social support networks. This may put them at greater risk of experiencing poverty, social exclusion, and gender-based violence.


Dhansiri Ashrayan Prokalpa is a shelter project in Hatiya of Noakhali district by the Government, established as an effort to improve the living standards of the landless and homeless people. According to government data, the project has constructed housing for 945 landless families. Understanding the necessity of prioritizing the needs and safety of displaced women, Participatory Research & Action Network- PRAAN feel the importance of emergency response efforts in order to mitigate their vulnerabilities as displaced and ensure their protection and well-being in humanitarian settings.


We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new Women-Friendly Space (WFS) Center, located in Dhansiri Ashrayan Prokalpa, Chanandi Union, Hatiya, Noakhali, aimed at providing a safe haven for women and adolescents residing in the shelter project.  With support from ActionAid Bangladesh and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), programs such as providing information and advice regarding emergency health care and reproductive health care to women and adolescents, psycho-social counseling, creating awareness about prevention of gender-based violence, and increasing women’s participation in income and production-based activities will be conducted from this service center. Also, the center will work to provide, referral services as well as security and emergency humanitarian assistance to women during any disaster.


We believe that every woman deserves a safe space to thrive and achieve her full potential. Women-Friendly Space provides such a safe space for women where they can feel free to express themselves, share their experiences, and receive support from other women through processes of empowerment.


This center offers a range of services tailored to meet the needs of women. WFS provides psychosocial support, though support groups, individual counseling, recreational skill building activities, Gender-based Violence Case Management, information on critical issues like sexual and reproductive health, legal rights, childcare etc. all designed to empower women and prevent violence against them. We also offer capacity-building programs, social identity-building activities, and opportunities for networking and entertainment.


Our team of trained professionals is dedicated to providing women with a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Information and awareness raising, outreach and prevention session will also be conducted within the community to support and empower them in combating gender-based violence. We believe that by creating a space, a community where women can come together and support one another, we can help break down barriers and foster a sense of togetherness.

We are committed to providing women with the tools and resources they need to be empowered. And we are here to help them do just that. So if you’re a woman looking for a safe space to connect, learn, and grow, if you are a woman who want to work for a better world for women, we invite you to meet us at our women-friendly space center.

Photo; Kazi Nishat

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