Why Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with half the population of the U.S. (about 170 million) living in a country about the size of the state of Illinois.

Poverty is deep and widespread. The population in Bangladesh is predominantly rural, with almost 80% of the population living in rural areas. Many people live in remote areas that lack services such as education, health clinics and adequate roads, particularly road links to markets. 

An estimated 36% of the population in rural areas lives below the poverty line. They suffer from persistent food insecurity, own no land and assets, are often uneducated and may also suffer serious illnesses or disabilities. Another 29 % of the rural population is considered moderately poor. Though they may own a small plot of land and some livestock and generally have enough to eat, their diets lack nutritional value. As a result of health problems or natural disasters, they are at risk of sliding deeper into poverty.

Women are among the poorest of the rural poor, especially when they are the sole heads of their households. They suffer from discrimination and have few earning opportunities, and their nutritional intake is often inadequate.

Children suffer the most with 40% of children severely malnourished and 25% of these children not living past the age of 5.  



We are currently serving 60,004 poor families in over 1,600 villages in four districts in Bangladesh; Netrokona, Bogra, Kishoreganj and Chandpur.


Most of our target families fall into the poorest two of the four categories by which we classify the poor. The four categories are:

extreme hard core poor


families that have one simple meal daily and no economic assets

hard core poor


families that have two simple meals a day and very minimal economic assets

very poor


families who experience some food deficiency during the year

less poor


families have sufficient food by are unable to provide healthcare or education for their children.


Because of the number and intensity of their issues, many nonprofits in Bangladesh do not focus on poorest of the poor. This is the population we serve. The usual “single approach” of assistance (micro credit, education, food programs and healthcare) has very high failure rate with this population. The holistic approach is designed to provide a comprehensive program offering them an opportunity for permanent uplift out of poverty.   


We have high standards when it comes to outcomes and evaluative processes. To date, 325,000 people have been permanently lifted out of poverty due to our efforts in Bangladesh. The goal is to reduce poverty by a minimum of 50% in any area we serve. This has been accomplished—and exceeded—in most of the areas served as shown in the chart below. A survey is done every three years to measure key indicators and document the progress of the families and the work of the organization.  

Extensive poverty reduction among families in our working areas has also had a tremendous impact on local economies through increased purchasing power of the poor, improved agriculture practices, reforestations, promotion of gender equality, education for the children and clean water, sanitation, and housing for the poor. We also have had opportunities to improve the regions our families live in through building flood protection levees, drainage canals, roads and bridges, and fish ponds.



                   % of Population by District

Poverty has been reduced in all nine of PEP's work areas, between 25% and 85% in each are with four areas experiencing more than 50% reduction.




43,000 families have received emergency food assistance

HEALTH - Social Worker.JPG


42,396 children and pregnant or lactating mothers have received vitamins critical to their health

EDUCATION - Group of Students from School.JPG


91,901 children have been educated through our two year child development centers

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25,644 women took part in savings and micro-credit programs


Meet Momota from Bogra, a woman who lived near one of our clinics. 

She had been very ill with gall stones and other illnesses. Even a common illness can be devastating for a family living in rural Bangladesh. Momota received services from one of our clinics that restored her health completely. We also helped her family throughout Momota’s illness, providing food and blankets. The family now owns two cows and the father provides a steady income driving a van.  

Momota is a success story!


Meet Selena from Netrokona, Bangladesh. She was a member of one of 240 families who were resettled after losing everything in a flood several years ago. 

Thanks to your support, she and her family are living in their own hut and have started a new life. Selena had earned income from her participation in the roadside tree program and received 60% of the profits when the trees were harvested last year. With these funds and money earned from the sale of a cow, Selena was able to purchase a small plot of land to farm — securing their income for years to come.

Selena is a success story!


Meet Sheta, a widow with seven children. When the family began working with our program in Bangladesh in 1994 they initially received a tin roof for their hut to ensure their safety during the monsoons.

They chose our microcredit program to purchase chickens and ducks and began working on their economic uplift. All loans were repaid. They helped care for roadside trees planted near their home which eventually paid them a profit once the trees were harvested. Sheta became a silkworm rearer in our sericulture industry. One of her children learned tailoring. Another operates a taxi earning a good income. Much of this support was a result of PSDI funding — your donation!!!! The family graduated out of poverty into self-sufficiency in 2008. Today Sheta owns two homes for her and her family. Five of her children are married and are able to contribute to the household. 

Sheta is a success story!