Bangladesh - NGO Law Monitor


Bangladesh is endowed with a rich tradition and culture of philanthropy. Religions that attempted to overcome social stratification and seclusion flourished there in past centuries. The civic tradition was reinforced following the devastating war for liberation in 1971, when a host of “self-help groups” emerged to provide relief and rehabilitation, and to support development.  At the same time, however, given the legacy of colonial and authoritarian military administration, civil society remains in a formative stage.

Today in Bangladesh, mainstream civil society organizations (CSOs) are mostly philanthropic groups, citizen coalitions, and private voluntary agencies.  Many CSOs seek to serve under-served or neglected populations, to expand the freedom of or to empower people, to engage in advocacy for social change, and to provide services.  The exact number of CSOs in Bangladesh is unknown.  According to one estimate, the number of CSOs registered with various governmental authorities totals 250,000.  Among these, it is estimated that less than 50,000 organizations are active.

Bangladesh has a unitary government with a Westminster-style parliamentary system, governed by a Constitution that is the supreme law of the Republic.