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Friendship NGO

Celebrating 20 years
22 November 2022 | starting at 16:00 GMT

Bonhams are delighted to help celebrate and raise funds for Friendship, in their 20th year.

What is Friendship?
Friendship, an international Social Purpose Organisation , has been working for the last 20 years to help address the needs of remote and marginalised communities in Bangladesh—mostly those living in the northern river islands and southern coastal belt. Friendship delivers on its four commitments—Saving Lives, Poverty Alleviation, Climate Adaptation, and Empowerment—by providing effective and integrated services in six sectors interacting with each other: Health, Education, Climate Action, Inclusive Citizenship, Sustainable Economic Development, and Cultural Preservation. The organisation, which started in 2002 with a floating hospital serving only 10,000 patients, is now providing healthcare and other development solutions to more than 3.5 million people a year and is within reach of approximately 7.5 million beneficiaries. Nearly two-thirds of its almost 5,000 employees are recruited from within communities and trained as medic-aides, teachers, paralegals, etc.

20 Years of Friendship
Friendship began its journey in 2002 with an innovation: a floating hospital in the shifting river islands, where conventional healthcare systems were impossible to operate. From the outset, Friendship was forced to innovate.
That spirit of innovation has continued in its three-tier healthcare system that reaches the doorsteps of hard-to-reach communities, its nature-based and locally-led climate adaptation techniques, community managed mangrove plantations, and dismantlable, IT-enabled schools taking education where it was once impossible. These developments have been driven by 20 years of commitment to our ethics and values, and dedication to bringing opportunity, dignity and hope to the most vulnerable through long-term and integrated involvement.
This year, as it celebrates 20 Years of Friendship, the organisation aims to tell the storeys of the heroes who work to help their communities survive in the face of the climate crisis and intensifying global challenges—and about the innovations by the Friendship community, which are scalable and replicable innovations that can save lives and empower unaddressed communities around the world.

What causes do we support?
From Bangladesh, a country facing the most pressing of humanity's challenges, we develop scalable solutions to strengthen marginalised communities, and empower people to transform their lives and reach their full potential.
Friendship's vision, which has remained unchanged for 20 years, is a world where people—especially the hard-to-reach and unaddressed—have equal opportunities to live with dignity and hope. While the organisation's projects are varied across a wide range of interventions in unaddressed and climate-impacted regions all over the country—from the coastal belt in the south, to the moving 'char' islands of the north to the Rohingya camps—every one of these projects is driven by our core values: integrity, dignity, quality, justice and hope.

What will this money be used for
Artists visiting Friendship's working areas this year spent time with many young members of the community who were overcoming social and political difficulties with support from Friendship's Inclusive Citizenship and Education programmes, among others. Some of the artwork featured here tells the storeys of these young people. Friendship's support programmes for persons with disabilities ensures that children who are disabled have equal opportunity to reach their full potential. We do this by building awareness of disabilities within communities, to destigmatise disability, and then by making sure that parents and community members are aware and have access to the services available to help disabled people develop and adapt to society. These funds will also help develop our education projects, including primary and secondary schools—which play a critical role in ending child marriage.

Plans for the Future
In line with its approach over the last 20 years, Friendship will always seek as a priority to ensure continuity of the support it provides to the communities it serves, while adapting its interventions to their changing needs and capabilities. Over the last 20 years, Friendship has developed a set of solutions that have worked sustainably in geographic areas where, because of their remoteness and isolation, other willing agencies have struggled to address challenges successfully. These solutions have proven their effectiveness in diverse geographies and socio-economic conditions, such as the river islands in North Bengal, the coastal areas in the south, or the Rohingya refugee camps.
Friendship's strong track record over many years provides a persuasive narrative for the adoption of its methods by others. Friendship will increase its efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of its integrated development model so that it—or elements of it—can be replicated on a larger scale and integrated into the systems of public service delivery by government and private stakeholders such as development agencies, other NGOs or foundations. The Government of Bangladesh has always been a close partner, and it is intended to continue to strengthen that collaboration.

At the same time, we would like to make the voices from impacted communities loud and clear in the global conversation on climate issues, especially at global events like COP and CBA.

Another related key objective will be to access resources for itself and other local organisations from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) put in place by the UN in 2010.
Finally, there is a dream of opening a Friendship University, the realisation of which would bring together years of innovation, hard work and linkages of soft and hard skills that have enabled success to happen. The goal is to create a university for climate and development studies, embodying Friendship's ethics and values—an ethics driven university enriching human character and dealing with the most challenging crises of the day.

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