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Sinley Mro in her vegetable garden


Since September 30, 2015, Helen Keller Intl has led the USAID-funded Sustainable Agriculture and Production Linked to Improved Nutrition Status, Resilience, and Gender Equity, (SAPLING) Resilience Food Security Activity to improve gender equitable food security, nutrition and resilience in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh, in five upazilas (sub-districts) of Bandarban District. The SAPLING consortium includes Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Bangladesh, iDE, and three local non-governmental organizations: GRAUS, Tahzingdong and Toymu. SAPLING engages pregnant and lactating women, and children under two, communities, government and traditional institutions through interconnected pathways that build livelihoods assets, improve health and nutrition, improve disaster risk management, and increase resilience, gender equality and social inclusion, at all levels. Read more about programmatic approaches and project results in the SAPLING Program Overview as well as the following activity briefs:

While COVID-19 risks and government mandated mitigation measures implemented since March 2020 have heavily impacted SAPLING participants and their communities, the project’s hyper-local approach allowed us to quickly pivot to support COVID-19 response and adapt existing activities to ensure continued support to participants. For example, SAPLING’s strategy has always involved multiple mechanisms to reach remote communities and share program activities – check out the videos below to learn more:

Research and Learning

The Bandarban District of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is a diverse and remote mountainous area, home to 11 ethnic minority groups and Bengalis. SAPLING has conducted extensive research to ensure locally contextualized project design and ensure high quality implementation. Please see summary briefs and related research reports below for more details on how assessment results have been used to inform and adapt project activities.

Access to Health Services
Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Practices
Understanding Chittagong Hill Tracts communities

Success Stories

In the face of significant challenges in this relatively isolated and disaster-prone area, with SAPLING technical support and guidance, communities engaged by the project have made remarkable strides in supporting and protecting the health and wellbeing of their households. Please see below for a selection of participant stories.

Implemented in partnership with: