Practical Everyday Information
Bangla is the language of Bangladesh. In Dhaka, many people speak English, but fewer in the rural areas.
The work hours are from 10:00am - 06:00pm, Sunday - Thursday. The weekends are Friday and Saturday, and most offices are closed.
Banking Hours are from 09:00am - 03:00pm, Sunday - Thursday. Banks are closed on Friday and Saturday.
Government office hours are 09:00am - 05:00pm Sunday - Thursday.
Shopping hours are usually 10:00am - 08:00pm.
Bangladesh is a very conservative country, so covering up is important. Long legged and loose pants are a must, andabsolutely nothing above the knee is acceptable. Long sleeve shirts are also recommended, and a shawl is recommended for women.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Bangladesh is extremely low compared to most countries, and especially western countries. For budgeting, an average meal costs between 200-500 BDT, although it is possible to go over in the city. Office canteen costs 20BDT and provides basic food. Outside food will be more expensive depending on the type of food.
The electricity is 220 volts A/C, 50 Cycles. It is recommended to check your electronics and their power usage before coming to Bangladesh otherwise they might not function here. Urban and rural areas in Bangladesh periodically suffer from power failure, due to low power supply.
Getting around Dhaka
Dhaka is notorious for its traffic.
Rickshaws are used for short distances, at a price of average 50-100BDT depending on the trip.
CNGs (baby taxis) can cost between 100-300BDT depending on the distance traveled, although most trips within the city should not cost you more than 200BDT. Bargaining skills are an asset to predetermine the amount, as rates are not regulated by a meter. It is a good idea to have a sense of how far you're headed beforehand, particularly because foreigners are charged a higher rate.
Taxisrange from 300-600BDT within the city of Dhaka. However, taxis are not that readily available and usually are difficult to find.
Food and Drink
In Dhaka, you can budget food costs at 300-600BDT per day per person, although costs may vary depending on the quality of food and/or restaurant. In rural areas, food costs will be approximately within 200-400BDT a day per person. It is not recommended to eat street food while in Bangladesh, and because the tap water is unsafe, bottled water can be purchased anywhere, both in cities as well as rural areas. Please be cautious when eating outside food during your length of stay in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi meals are made up mostly of chicken and rice, along with vegetables and sometimes fish and eggs. Fresh fruits are abundant, with markets all over selling many varieties of mangoes, jackfruit, and pineapple, to name a handful.
General Information on Bangladesh
Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign nation in 1971, following a nine-month liberation war. It is one of the largest deltas in the world with a total area of 147570 sq. km.
Bangladesh has a glorious history and rich heritage. It was once known as "Sonar Bangla" or the "Golden Bengal". The territory now constituting Bangladesh was under Muslim rule for over five and half centuries from 1201 to 1757 AD. It was under the British rule following the defeat of the sovereign ruler, NawabSirajuddaula, at the Battle of Palassey on 23 June, 1757. The British ruled over the Indian sub-continent from 1757 to 1947. During this period, present day Bangladesh,was a part of the British Indian provinces of Bengal and Assam. With the termination of the British rule on August 14, 1947, the sub-continent was partitioned into India and Pakistan. At this time, Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan and was called "East Pakistan" for about 24 years from August 14, 1947 to March 25, 1971. The Bangladesh Liberation War ended December 16, 1971, leading to the country's independence.
Bangladesh is heir to a rich cultural legacy. In over two thousand years of its checkered history, many illustrious dynasties of Kings and Sultans ruled the country and have left their mark in the shape of magnificent cities and monuments. Apart from this,the country's old cultural traditions can be viewed in archaeological sites, sculptures, stones and terracotta, in architectures,museums, archives, libraries classical music, songs and dance, paintings, drama, folk arts, festivals, games, as well as ethnic cultural activities.
Bangladesh is situated on the northeastern side of the South Asian Subcontinent. Its long southern coastline along the Bay of Bengal shares the Indian Ocean with India and Myanmar. It is bordered on the West by the two Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar and on the East by the Indian state Assam and Myanmar. The southeastern corner of Bangladesh shares a border with Myanmar.
Except for the hilly regions in the northeast and the southeast and some areas of high lands in the north and northwestern part, the country consists of low, flat and fertile land. A network of rivers, which consist of the Padma, the Jamuna, the Teesta, the Brahmaputra, the Surma, the Meghna and the Karnaphuli, flow throughout the country.Sundarban, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is the home of the world famous Royal Bengal Tigers.
The climate is sub-tropical with a mild winter from November to February, summer from March to May and the monsoon season is from June to October.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. According to the US aid review report, the population of the country stood at 160 million in 2010. The density of population exceeded 2600per square line at that time. The literacy rate of the country, according to govt. statement, is about 51.6% for the 15+ year population.
Over 85% of the total population is composed of Muslims. The percent of the other religions present in the population are: Hindus 12%, Buddhists less than 1%, Christians less than 1% and others less than 1%. A communal harmony among the different religious groups has ensured a very congenial atmosphere. For more statistics and information, visit: http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/FR207/FR207%5BApril-10-2009%5D.pdf
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries of the world with an annual per capita income of $476 (2007 estimate). For the year of 2006-2007, the GDP growth rate was 6.51%. The per capita in taka is Tk. 35904, approximately US$520 (2006-2007). At present, agriculture contributes 34.58% of GDP, while the industrial sector contributes 11%. Export earning cover 14.2% of GDP, while imports take up 21.5% of GDP. The main markets of export goods are the EU, USA and Canada.
Bangladesh Bank is the central bank of the country, which is responsible for promoting growth and development of the banking system in the country, as well as the over-all control of the activities of all other banks.
Yunus Centre Office Expectations and Protocol
The Yunus Centre is located on the 16th floor of Grameen Bank's Head Office Building. For your convenience, the address is as follows :
Grameen Bank Bhaban
Upon arrival, you will be required to:
- have a local cell phone number
- work a regular business week, which is Sunday - Thursday, 10-6
- sign an attendance log book
- being your own laptop to work everyday
- submit Weekly Updates to track your work progress
- hand in a report at the end of your internship consisting of reflections, etc (format will be given upon request to the supervisor)
Grameen Bank Field Visit Information
All interns of Yunus Centre will have the opportunity to participate on a 5 day long Grameen Bank Field Trip to broaden their experience and to learn about the philosophy and operational procedures of Grameen Bank. Under the supervision of the Department of International Program, Grameen Bank, the trip serves to show the impact of Grameen Bank on the socio-economic and cultural lives of borrowers and Bangladesh. In addition, the interns will have the opportunity to visit an affiliated social business concern and a Grameen sister company. All transportation, accommodation, food and interpreter costs are the responsibility of the Intern, and should not be more than BDT 20,000 (twenty thousand only) per person for the full trip. wField visits normally start with an early Sunday morning departure for the village destination, and return to Capital Dhaka Thursday evening.
Despite the heat, long sleeves, long pants, and modest attire is important; no tank tops, shorts, skirts, or anythingabove the knee, especially in the village. SalwarKameez is the traditional outfit for women, which should be respected.
For safety and sanitary purposes, it is recommended that you bring closed toe shoes or sneakers to the village, as well as a pair of shower flipflops. Also, it is important to check seasonal weather conditions to ensure that you pack accordingly (ie; an umbrella during monsoon season).
Things to bring:
- insect repellant and suncreen
- flashlight with extra batteries
- flip flops
- feminine products
- notebook, pens
- basic first aid kit (including rehydration salts, anti-histamine)
- mosquito net (recommended)
The following is a list of hotels that interns have stayed at before:
1) The Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel
107. KaziNazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka
Tel: 8111005, Fax: 8113324
There is a Corporate Rate available for those affiliated with Grameen Bank and Yunus Centre: Rooms are available from US$130 to US$950 per person per night. The rate is subject to 12.5% service charge & 15% govt. tax (Grameen Corporate Rate).
Distance from Yunus Centre: 10 km
2) Pacific Inn Guest House
Address: House# 12A, Road# 18, Banani, Dhaka
Phone: 9882326, 9884439, Fax-9882326
Standard (Air-Conditioned) Room: US$20 Grameen Bank rate per night (breakfast, local phone, airport pick-up is included).
Distance from Yunus Centre: 12km
3) Hotel Grand Prince
Address: C/A Plot# 6 & 11, Block# B, Main Road. Mirpur-1, Dhaka-1216
Phone: 88-02-9012952, 8021599 Ex: 0401
Standard (Air-Conditioned) Room: US$12 Grameen Bank rate per night (breakfast, local phone, airport pick up is included).
Distance from Yunus Centre: 1.2 km
Practical Everyday Information