BAT CASE STUDY & VIDEO | Measuring the Impact of Our Community Programmes in Bangladesh

Nov 15, 2017 8:15 AM ET

BAT’s Sustainable Agriculture & Farmer Livelihoods Focus Report

We have long and successful associations with
many rural communities in Bangladesh and, in 2016, commissioned the global consultancy Nielsen to conduct an independent impact measurement study of our three key community programmes.

Enhancing landscapes and livelihoods

Our Bonayan afforestation programme was launched in the 1980s and has distributed over 95 million free saplings to rural communities. Nielsen’s study found that not only has this brought environmental benefits, but it has also helped make farming communities more self-sufficient, offering them a new source of food, fruit and sustainable timber to sell for furniture making. 76% of beneficiaries told Nielsen that they have benefited financially from Bonayan.

This extra income means that more parents can now afford
to send their children to school, which has had a dramatic impact on literacy rates in the communities. Take Rehana Begum, who featured in Nielsen’s report; she has been growing trees supplied by the project for the last 10 years, earning her enough money to pay for her children’s education.

Safer water

Through our Probaho programme, over 170,000 people a day now benefit from better access to safe drinking water, thanks to 65 new water filtration plants we have installed. The study found that this has reduced the number of people suffering from waterborne diseases, from 32% down to only 0.3%.

The huge impact on the lives of the women and girls, who are responsible for collecting the family’s water each day, was also identified by the study. It means that women no longer have to travel long distances to collect water or have to deal with constant sickness in the family. This gives them more time to spend helping their children with their studies and to take on more work, such as seamstresses for the village, helping to boost the family’s income.

Lighting the way

A third Bangladeshi project is Deepto, which, since 2011, has brought solar power to 16 remote villages with no electricity. Nielsen found that 65% of beneficiaries reported that they have started new income-generating activities, such as basket weaving and sewing, since getting solar power in their homes.

Before Deepto, over 70% of schoolchildren faced problems keeping up with their schoolwork, due to not having sufficient light to study in the evenings. Over 84% now have more time to study, which is helping to improve their school performance.

Villagers also feel much safer going outside at night, which is benefiting the community. Maamma Marma, a local businessman, explained to Nielsen: “As there was no permanent solution for light in the past, people used to fall asleep at eight or nine. I couldn’t keep my shop open for long either. But since free solar-powered light became available, my business has been yielding more profit.”

Learn more in BAT’s Sustainable Agriculture & Farmer Livelihoods Focus Report which can be downloaded here. 

The full report of the Nielsen study is available at