Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service
Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) a non-government organisation was established on 8 February 1972 with the support of Geneva-based international at donor agency Lutheran World Federation. At the outset, RDRS used to help the war affected people. The RDRS started its journey as a local non-government development agency in 1997 with the setting up of its main objective in achieve the socio-political and economic emancipation of the poor rural masses by insurance ad establishing human right and the rights to get equitable share of the national resources.
In course of action, RDRS included micro credit. Later this programme acquired an independent characteristic. RDRS has established a network at national and international level regarding this issue beside prevention of discrimination against women and children. The organisation has been conducting policy advocacy on these issues. It has been playing a strong role in combating women and children trafficking.
RDRS has been implementing programmes for the development of health services partially safe motherhood and child health in community northwest region. Besides, public awareness programme is also being campaigned by them in accordance with the government's health policy to educate the people about the ways of prevention and recovery from tuberculosis, leprosy and HIV-AIDS. RDRS has surpassed the 70% target of tuberculosis patient identification. It has fixed by the government and scored 74%. Similarly RDRS has achieved the success rate of 90% in cursing the tuberculosis patients.
Different educational programmes are being implemented in Northwest region by RDRS. It has constructed about 1200 primary schools and most of those have already been registered and nationalised.
The motto of RDRS's education programme is to make the children of poor families pro-school, to reduce their drop out rate at primary level and to ensure primary education for all of them.
RDRS has taken up some specific programmes to upgrade the agro-based standard of life of the people of the northwest region. It has been motivating the local farmers to grow high yielding variety of crop and to maintain ecological Balance through field schools run for the cultivators. RDRS also undertook some research-based projects in the fields of agriculture, food security and climate change. These programmes have been designed to prevent monga, a pre-winter short-term famine occurs in the north-western Bangladesh every year and to acquaint the people of the region about strategies of living developed to suit with the situation created due to climatic change. In interfering the social frosty movement, RDRS has been playing a sole of catalyst. Inspired by their motivation local people have started to plant saplings in and around their homesteads and on the roadside spaces. Since 1980s, RDRS is conducting Char Development Programme for trying to make easier the hard life of backward people living in 130 incurable chars. It also took object in 2001 socio-economic development of enthrone minority communities of the northern region. Poor women, Children and male members belong to ethnic minority communities including santal, oraon, mushahar, Mahali, Pahan, Rishi and Malo Living in the districts of Rangpur, Panchagar, Takurgaon and Dinajpur have been brought under this development project.
RDRS is extending micro-credit services to about four hundred thousand poor and ultra-poor people through its 155 branch offices setup in 55 upazilas in eleven districts. It also provides allot assistance to the people inverted by natural calamities like flooding, drought, river-erosion, cyclone and cold-wave.
At present, the command area of RDRS has expanded to 16,660 square kilometre area of 467 unions of 60 upazila under Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Takurgaon, Panchagar districts. 411,246 poor families of these north-western districts have formed social organizations called 'Union Federation' through which they have been involved in various development, tree-plantation, poverty alleviation, women development, Health-nutrition and family planning, adult-child education and demonstration, small and collage industries, agriculture, protection, development of chars and ethnic minorities and micro credit disbursement.
RDRS, at present, delivers services to 1.9 million people belong to four hundred thousand families of the country with an annual budget of US$ 18-20 million. [Shamsul Huda]