Rupantar’s democracy and political empowerment program was launched in 1998 implemented in rural, semi-urban and urban areas. The aim of the program is to empower marginalized women in decision-making process, reduce gender inequality, improve governance, ensure legislation at local level, and build capacity of local elected bodies for providing better services to citizens. The objectives of the program are to improve local governance and increase transparency and accountability. We emphasize on stakeholders and beneficiaries mapping, mass awareness at local level, social media campaign, advocacy and hold dialogue with duty bearers, service providers and policy makers,

Strategic approaches

  • Rupantar complements government of Bangladesh (GoB) effort in achieving the sustainable development goal (SDG).
  • Inclusive in terms of gender parity.
  • A broad based strategy that includes partnership with local government officials, civil society organization, religious leaders, journalist and community people.
  • Program fits in to GoB goals.

Key achievements

In Aparajita Khulna cluster, women in decision making process increased in local government institutions, political and civic institutions. There is an increase in support for women leaders in the community. The project has achieved 100% achievement.

In Aparajita Barishal, there is an increase of women in decision making in local government institutions, political and civic institutions, satisfaction of constituents in service delivery by elected and potentially elected women representatives. There is also an increase in support for women leaders in the community.

Our current projects

Aparajita- women political empowerment project- Khulna

Aparajita Khulna project goal is to politically empower grassroots women and to promote equal participation, representation, and leadership of women within local governance. The projects three key intervention strategies include: empowering women to enhance their collective strength and amplify their voices, engaging and creating opportunities for women’s in local political affairs and foster an enabling environment for women’s political empowerment. The project focuses on capacity building, advocacy for sustainability. Capacity development initiatives includes peer-to-peer learning and educating, training, and mentoring assistance. The project is implemented in 2 districts of Khulna and Bagerhat in 11 upazilas and 84 unions. Each union has a women’s network comprising 15 members reaching 1,359 women advocating for grassroots women.

Our reach

  • Each union comprises 1,359 Aparajitas.
  • At Upazilla level there are 221 Aparajitas, including 60 co-opted civil society representatives.
  • Two districts have 38 Aparajitas, including 15 co-opted civil society representatives.
  • At the divisional level, there are 17 Aparajitas, with 6 co-opted civil society representatives.
  • At the national level, there are 3 Aparajitas, including 1 co-opted civil society representative. 1,445 women leaders are actively engaged Aparajita Khulna, with 1,451 direct.
  • Additionally, there are 2,192,738 indirect beneficiaries.

Aparajita – women political empowerment project Barisal

Aparajita Barisal project was launched in Barishal, Jhalokathi and Priojpur districts, 11 upazillas and 102 unions. The project focuses on women political empowerment through capacity building to strengthen political skills and advocacy to create space for women in political sector. The project implements through three key intervention lines including focusing on women as primary stakeholders, for strength in numbers and voice, secondary stakeholders for space and opportunity and focusing on duty bearers, decision and policy makers for enabling environment.

Our reach

  • Directly: 2,855 with Male: 1,183 and Female: 1,672
  • Indirect beneficiaries: 2,342,825

Aparajita projects received a year extension from June 2023 till June 2024.

Nari Kotha- radio program

Aparajita project explored an alternative means as for example radio program and social media for reaching target stakeholders and “Nari Kotha” radio program was launched in 2021 for awareness on women political empowerment using social media platform.

It is a nation-wide campaign enabling women to think on the benefits of women participation in decision making process including union parishad and local political system.  The radio program uses online platforms including Facebook, YouTube radio and radio and Bangladesh Betal app to allow women political empowerment activists, civil society organization, and other relevant stakeholders for further use of the content.




ASTHA project was launched in 01 July 2023 with a goal to promote tolerant and peaceful democratic spaces with upholding human rights in civic and social sectors. The project actively engages to empower civic activists, youth, women, minorities, and marginalized groups. The project is supported by Switzerland government, implemented by Rupantar and partners including ASHIKA Development Associates, Democracywatch, GRAUS, Sabalamby Unnayan Samity (SUS), and Trinamul Unnyan Sangstha. The project will cover 147 sub-districts under 18 districts including Barguna, Patuakhali, Satkhira, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Panchagahr, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Naogaon, Chapainawabganj, Joypurhat, Khagrachari, Rangamati, Bandarban, Netrokona, Mymensingh, and Sherpur aiming to reach 603,590.

The stakeholders of the project are marginalized community people, mainly ethnic and religious minority groups, local civil society representatives including women, youth, and opinion leaders, community leaders and policymakers, local administration, election officials, law enforcement agencies, project partners, NGOs, CSOs, and CBOs.

Specific objectives

  • To encourage active youth engagement at the grassroots of the working area to prevent communal violence and promote peace, tolerance, social harmony, and good governance.
  • To explore the opportunity of youth leadership by creating the scope of synchronized and interactions among youth, community leaders, and seniors.
  • To engage the grassroots youth, male and female, from marginalized communities in the mainstream development process of the country aligned to National Youth Policy, 2017.

Initiative to develop the leadership skills in socio-political sector at Rangpur and Rajshahi division

Rupantar is implementing the initiative to develop the leadership skills in socio-political sector at Rangpur and Rajshahi division project. The project was launched on 1 November, 2023. The goal of the project is to promote non-violent competition between political parties and strengthen inclusive, citizen-responsive campaigning resulting in a peaceful political atmosphere. Main activities of the project are – project orientation, meeting for developing project strategy and implementation plan, training of trainers (ToT) on The International Republican Institute (IRI) developed training module, socio political harmony leadership skill training, consultation and preparatory meeting for interaction between citizen and political leaders, interaction between citizens and political leaders on pre-election promises and media campaign

There are three objectives of the project including:

Objective 01: Identifying the respective role of social and political leaders and youths for ensuring democratic political atmosphere, effective conflict management and resolution and upholding mutual respect and ensuring participatory method.

Objective 02: Commitment of political party leaders declared in front of citizens and youths to ensure a democratic political atmosphere.

Objective 03: Promote participatory practice in the political process by direct participation of citizens and youths.

The stakeholders are political leaders, youths, citizen, women leaders, influential male-female leaders, journalist, civil society members and media leaders.

The project intends to reach 1,052.

Development partners

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Bangladesh
  • The International Republican Institute (IRI)
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)