Project with urban schools and slum communities

Children’s wellbeing and safety in the communities where they live, and access to education in Bangladesh are greatly impacted by disasters. Poor children in informal settlements are among the most vulnerable. We have been working to increase the capacity of children, women, local communities, schools and local government in urban slums and schools on risk reduction and resilience. This allows them to prevent, be prepared for and be ready to respond to diverse urban hazards.

Bangladesh is a country of exceptional vulnerability to natural hazards as well as one of the most densely populated and rapidly urbanizing countries in the world. Forecasts suggest that by 2050 half of the country’s population will be living in urban areas, with 30% of the urban population living in slums.

Such rapid and large-scale urban growth poses unique challenges to cities and towns. As cities struggle to cope with their growing populations, slums and informal settlements have significantly grown. These areas are characterised by low-quality housing, inadequate water, drainage and sewage facilities and are especially vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards. Over the last decade we have been working to reduce risks and increase urban resilience in the face of climate change and everyday hazards.

We have been working with schools and in slums to reduce their risks, ensure that they are prepared for disasters and ensure educational continuity after disasters strike.

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219 natural disasters happened in Bangladesh between 1980 and 2008, causing over US$16 billion in total damage.

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1.5 Million children have experienced disruption of their education due to natural disasters in the last three years.


Cities in Bangladesh are facing growing challenges due to climate change and especially slums are strongly affected due to poor infrastructure. Disasters also have negative impact on primary schools which often experience temporary closures.

Slums face months of localized flooding due to poor infrastructure, and stagnant water causes significant health hazards for local residents especially small children. In addition, fires in slums, due to informal connections to electricity and cooking practices in overcrowded living conditions, are also a frequent and unreported hazard, destroying the dwellings and limited possessions of already poor households.

A study led by Save the Children on the impact of disasters on primary schools in selected flood and cyclone-prone areas of Bangladesh found that 84% of sampled schools experienced extended closures lasting an average of 26 days.


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900 schools suffer severe damage from floods, cyclones and river erosion every year.

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More than 4666 schools per year are affected by disasters.

Project outcomes

Save the Children is a leading organisation in urban risk reduction and resilience. We have been working in Bangladesh since 1970 with many local partner organisations to increase the urban resilience capacity of local communities, schools and government institutions.

This project improves the resilience of local communities to ensure that schools are safe. Community level activities include raising capacities of women and children on safety and risk reduction, supporting the training of urban community volunteers as first responders to be ready when a disaster strikes, and advocacy campaigns to influence policy makers. We work closely with governments to ensure that municipalities and city corporations incorporate risk reduction actions into annual development. The project is expected to reach around 13,000 direct beneficiaries and over 65,000 indirect beneficiaries.

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The project is expected to reach around 13,000 direct beneficiaries and over 65,000 indirect beneficiaries.

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