The need to establish a local NGO that focused on the development of plain land indigenous people arose in the late 1990s, when now-Executive Director, Lakshmikanta Singh was completing his masters at Chittagong University.
Chittagong, which is infamous for its Hill Tracts and ethnic tribes, has a long and rich history of conflict between mainstream society and the indigenous groups that inhabit its bordering hills. Similarly, but often forgotten, the plain lands of Bangladesh are home to indigenous groups who also face extreme social exclusion and severe discrimination in most aspects of life; the primary difference being the lack of representation of plain land indigenous people making them overwhelmingly more vulnerable to exaggerated marginalization.
First noticing this during his studies, Lakshmikanta recognized the need for plain land indigenous people representation in mainstream society. Entertaining the idea of establishing a small NGO to serve this purpose, he pursued a career in the development sector working on several government initiatives before deciding to branch out on his own.
In 2002, Lakshmikanta and a number of other founders established Ethnic Community Development Organization (ECDO).
Reducing the marginalization of minority groups was a key focus for ECDO. Since establishment, we have worked towards this goal by raising awareness of the rights of citizens in indigenous communities and providing them with a better platform for support. We aim to empower indigenous communities by addressing the disparities in terms of access to, and quality of, social provisions such as health and education. We have achieved a lot, but recognize that there is still much more work to be done.
We will continue to assist indigenous communities in working for a positive and sustainable change for those deprived of rights and opportunities. Looking into the future, we hope to deliver a society where empowered, educated, aware and culturally diverse indigenous groups are able to ensure their own human development free from discrimination, poverty and exploitation.
Mr. Lakshmikanta Singh
Mr. Jugeshwar Singha
Dr. Suresh Chandra Singha