IE Banglanam: Bangladesh

March 12, 2012

This year's Economic development-focused IE is, sadly, halfway through. We just completed our first full day in Vietnam after spending almost a week in Bangladesh and the difference in level of development is striking even at first glance.Our Bangladesh visits spanned the entire spectrum of key organizations in the development world - from luxury office buildings in Dhaka to factories in the export district and communities in remote rural villages. The highlight visits for me were a talk by Bangladesh entrepreneur Kamal Quadir, visits to Bengal Plastics and Square Pharmaceuticals and a day in rural villages visiting recipients of BRAC loans. My most salient impression of Bangladesh was the population density – people would start crowding around us as soon as we stepped out of the bus just to look at us. Surprisingly, even the poorest people knew a word or two of English! My favorite quote that encapsulates the most unique setback for development organizations came from the local WaterAid representative: β€œThe problem with doing work in developing countries is that usually when you fix one issue, you create another,” - referring to negative consequences from convincing people to install toilets in their homes.

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Yordanka Martin