NGO Profile: HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh

DOCTOR OF EDUCATION PROGRAM Contemporary Approaches to Educational Problems – Ed 855.716: Spring 2014
Name of Organization URL
HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh Ashley Pugh, Program Officer 16401 NW 2nd Ave., Ste 202 Miami, FL 33169 443-340-5192 SKYPE: Ashley.Pugh2 Public Health Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
Founded in 1999, HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh aims to provide health services to needy people in Bangladesh, particularly the women and children in rural areas. HOPE serves those who otherwise could not afford healthcare. HOPE is working towards the following important United Nations Millennium Development Goals:
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Contact Information

Focus Location

Reduce Child Mortality, Improve Maternal Health Combat HIV/Aids Malaria and other Diseases Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.


Through HOPE’s 40-bed Hospital and our 8 Rural HOPE Medical Centers, we are reaching over 30,000 women and children a year. HOPE Foundation also provides specialized care through our international partners. HOPE was founded by Dr. Iftikher Mahmood, a Bangladeshi-American pediatrician based in Miami. Dr. Mahmood grew up in Cox’s Bazar and always knew he wanted to relieve the suffering of women and the needy in his home district. Dr. Mahmood runs HOPE Foundation out of a Miami office with the help of HOPE’s Program Officer, Ashley Pugh. Both travel to Bangladesh frequently. In Bangladesh HOPE has a team of 76 dedicated employees.

Research Challenge, Program, & Context

RESEARCH CHALLENGE Demographics: 85% Muslim, 10% Hindu and 5% other-Buddhists Our premise is that stakeholders in the communities we serve can be key advocates for hygiene and public health. We seek research support to evaluate what key levers must be in place, based upon global research and what might an NGO consider in incorporating best practices into our education program. We have the support of medical staff and institutions, but the barrier seems to be active community engagement to view hygiene issues as primary. We seek to learn more about the tools of community participation and to consider key questions as we move forward. PROGRAM and CONTEXT For this project, we are focusing on a curriculum directed to children ages 8-16 and their parents, on improving nutrition in the region. Boys must be included because culturally, we will be seen as discriminating against boys. Also, mothers with sons will not attend as they cannot bring all children. Overall, improved educational alertness will transform into healthy behaviors for future families. Malnutrition is a widespread issue in Bangladesh. 48.6% of Bangladesh’s children under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished, and Bangladesh has one of the highest maternal malnutrition rates in the world. Malnutrition leads to underdevelopment of the birth canal, which leads to obstructed labor, one of the major causes of maternal deaths. Malnutrition also leads to anemia and vitamin deficiency in pregnant mothers that have serious complications for her and her baby during pregnancy and delivery. The average age of marriage in Bangladesh is 15 years old, with the average age of first delivery at 18. The majority of expectant mothers are still adolescents. In order to prevent malnutrition, we need to start educating girls and their parents on the risks for malnutrition and why a healthy diet is so important. HOPE has significant challenges implementing a nutrition awareness/education program for the following reasons we have observed:

Parents are reluctant to receive information as they feel they have more pressing issues to be concerned about, for example, a child with Pneumonia. They are unaware of the importance of nutrition. Culturally, parents need to attend these educational meetings with their children, but in poor and rural areas, parents are busy working and ring to provide for the family. They see it as a waste of time. There is the cost factor for healthy food. So many of the families we serve are extremely impoverished and would tell us they cannot afford healthy food.



We must start educating these parents and their children on the importance of nutrition from the beginning of puberty, when their bodies begin to change and mature. Improved nutrition means less maternal mortalities and morbidities, and healthier families for the future.

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