Since 1974, we have supported researchers’ efforts to improve lives in Bangladesh. As local concerns evolve, so does our focus.

Information and communication technologies have been at the heart of many of our activities. In the late 1990s, IDRC-supported research provided low-cost Internet connectivity to schools and research institutions. This led to one of Asia’s first rural telecentres. Bangladeshi researchers also developed software — including an optical script recognizer and a dictionary — allowing non-English speakers to make full use of computers in the Bangla language.

Another example is a large-scale research project examining how people can best adapt to the effects of climate change in the Himalayas. Researchers are also exploring the links between climate change and migration from delta areas. Results inform government policy in this crucial area.

Strengthening labour markets

There is widespread preoccupation with concentrated employment in Bangladesh’s low-wage garment sector. In the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, improving conditions in the garment sector assumed a place on the global agenda.

IDRC-supported researchers are examining labour market dynamics to find ways to improve workforce skill levels. Our research led the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to implement a local-level, community-based system to measure poverty.

Supporting women’s advancement

Poverty, particularly as it affects women, remains a focus of IDRC-supported research in Bangladesh. Researchers look for ways to remove barriers to women’s participation in the workforce, and to women’s entrepreneurial success. Research is also ongoing into the relationship between poverty and child marriage.

Another area of focus is the difficult topic of immunity for perpetrators of sexual violence during times of war. Researchers aim to change social attitudes and find justice for women victims of such violence.

Total IDRC Support

129 activities worth CA$33 million since 1974


IDRC support is helping

  • provide a centre of excellence for high-quality, influential, and policy-relevant research
  • reduce transmission of the dengue virus 
  • improve rural-to-urban job transformation, especially for women
  • increase innovation in local think tanks
  • lower the rate of child marriages in poor urban settlements