The British Asian Trust, a leading South Asian diaspora development organisation officially launched in Bangladesh on Thursday night.
Founded by the Prince of Wales, the trust was launched in the country through an event held in the Grand Ballroom of The Westin Dhaka, according to a press release.
The British Asian Trust is also known for its pioneering work in social finance. As a part of the launch, it hosted a workshop for the development community in Bangladesh to learn more about social finance.
This follows the launch of its $11 million development impact bonds at the United Nations General Assembly last year, which aimed to improve education outcomes in India.
The trust is now bringing this social finance approach to Bangladesh with plans to launch an even larger amount of development impact bonds in Bangladesh next year, to support skills development for workers in the informal economy.
Chair of the trust's Bangladesh Advisory Council Shayan F Rahman hosted the launch. Shayan is also an adviser to the board of Beximco Group.
"The British Asian Trust has been pioneering exciting development initiatives across the region, and this will now include Bangladesh. I look forward to working with our NGOs, philanthropists and investors in the coming years to make a lasting impact on some of Bangladesh's enduring development challenges," said Shayan.
"It is an honour to launch the British Asian Trust in Bangladesh. It represents the desire of the Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK, and around the world, to invest in Bangladesh's social development and continuing success," he added.
Speaking at the event, Judith Herbertson, head of the UK Government's Department for International Development in Bangladesh, said, "We are delighted to see The British Asian Trust launch in Bangladesh, extending the great work it has been doing across South Asia for over ten years.
"Bangladesh is an important trading partner for the UK and we are committed to supporting its economic development and furthering its progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Partners like the British Asian Trust, rooted as it is in the Bangladeshi diaspora, are vital for us to achieve these goals together," Herbertson added.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the trust said they will be working in partnership with Bangladesh's social entrepreneurs to transform thousands more lives, drawing on the expertise and generosity of their supporters in the diaspora.
Among others, members of the British Asian Trust's Bangladesh Advisory Council Farooq Sobhan, former foreign secretary of Bangladesh; Elthem Kabir, governor of the Society for the Promotion of Bangladesh Art; Dr Gowher Rizvi, international affairs adviser to the prime minister; Salman Fazlur Rahman, MP, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister; and Robert Chatterton Dickson, British high commissioner to Bangladesh, attended the event.
The British Asian Trust is tackling poverty in South Asia, primarily working in the fields of education, livelihood, anti-trafficking and mental health.
Its work in the region includes a mental health programme to raise awareness, dispel stigma and deliver quality mental health support, aiming to reach 5 lakh people by 2021.
In India, the trust has used interactive digital technology to reach 5 lakh youths over three years – particularly adolescent girls – in a programme which also aims to address critical areas such as education, health, economic empowerment and life skills.