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Relief International (RI), headquartered in Los Angeles in the USA, was established as an international non profit concerned with both immediate post-disaster operations and long-term interventions to promote sustainable development. Since 1990, RI programs have supported long-term economic and collaborative community development through innovative programming at the grassroots level. RI programs—in 22 countries around the world—address a wide range of development and livelihoods issues, including agriculture and livestock support, organizational capacity building, community-based infrastructure construction and rehabilitation, women’s empowerment, and education, training, and youth initiatives. RI designs and implements all programming in close collaboration with local communities and organizations to ensure that its programs do not impose solutions from the outside but rather address the local long-term needs and requirements, fostering an environment of self-help, sustainability, and local ownership.

In addition to disaster response, RI development programs have focused on education and youth development, health and nutrition, economic development and reconstruction and national infrastructure. RI programs benefiting youth have included construction of libraries and schools, school-based telecenters, and programming including youth exchanges, and youth conflict resolution and community service programs.

RI’s education and technology programs have demonstrated capacity in implementing projects combining technology, education, and community empowerment. RI has a track record of innovative, region-specific initiatives that use resources available in the community--such as a biogas system for providing electricity to Internet Learning Centers (implemented as part of the School Connectivity Project in Tajikistan). Community driven programming allows school children and youth to learn 21st century skills including ICT and media literacy, project based learning, problem identification and problem solving skills.

Relief International in Bangladesh

RI has worked in South Asia since 1998, when the organization extended its technology program throughout India. RI in Bangladesh is registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau under the Prime Minister’s Office. Since the inception of RI’s operations in Bangladesh in 2003, RI has collaborated closely with communities, local government and authorities to implement youth, education, environmental, human rights, and disaster preparedness programming. The RI Bangladesh Country Office currently implements an integrated education program reaching 60,000 students. RI’s education programming is currently implemented in 21 districts across Bangladesh. Through RI’s environmental programming in Bangladesh, RI is enhancing environmental awareness, increasing scientific understanding of earth as a system, and helping students develop an inquiry-based approach of studying nature. Through the European Commission–funded Media and Human Rights project, RI developed and implemented human rights and professional development education for rural reporters and linked the rural reporters to mainstream media outlets, achieving increased human rights coverage in remote areas. The project also included classroom lessons and workshops on human rights and journalism.

RI also operates an emergency response cell based in Dhaka which is deployed during a disaster to assess the needs of the affected communities. Following Cyclone Sidr, a three-member team immediately deployed to assess the needs in Bagerhat and Barguna districts, two of the most affected districts in southern Bangladesh, and implemented emergency relief programming in Barguna District. RI also attended all government coordination meetings and thematic consultative group meetings related to response and recovery from the cyclone.