The Right To Be Human: The Dilemmas Of Rights-Based Programming At Care-Bangladesh

Abstract

This case describes the development of an innovative HIV/AIDS prevention project in Bangladesh that targeted sex workers and other high-risk groups. The project, SHAKTI (Stopping HIV/AIDS through Knowledge and Training Initiatives), was developed by CARE-Bangladesh. The case tells the story of how a fairly simple project to raise HIV awareness among sex workers evolved into a larger project that sought to empower one of the most marginalized populations in Bangladesh to fight for their basic human rights. The decision to focus on rights was controversial within CARE-Bangladesh itself, and it eventually led to the sex workers protesting government-ordered evictions at two large brothels. SHAKTI was then caught between supporting the sex workers and abiding by CARE-Bangladesh's policy of remaining non-political.

The case is appropriate for a wide variety of courses in nonprofit, NGO management, health policy, and international development. For management courses, the case illustrates how entrepreneurial management within one unit of a large nonprofit can affect the larger organization. For international development courses, the case is useful in addressing how a rights-based approach can affect the design and ultimate goals of a project compared to the goals of the larger organization. This case can also be used in both kinds of courses to address issues of program design, and students can be asked to develop log-frames and evaluations. Embedded within all of these discussions are issues of diversity and difference and how they can affect the design and implementation of a project.

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