Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK), 1985

Name of organization: Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK)

About the organization: 

Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK) started its journey in 1985 as a community led non-government organization with the efforts of a group of dedicated social activists through organizing the disadvantaged poor people living in the remote areas especially in the river islands of Teesta, Brahmaputra and Jamuna of Gaibandha district in Bangladesh with the purpose to establish a poverty free equitable society where justice, equality, human rights and dignity of all people are ensured. GUK works with poor, extreme poor, vulnerable, excluded and all other disadvantaged groups of people especially women, children, ethnic groups and person with disability to bring about a sustainable positive change in their lives. Presently it is working in ten north-western districts of the country i.e Gaibandha, Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Bogra, Joypurhat and Kustia.

GUK is working with the aim to bring sustainable development in the lives of disadvantaged people through implementing different integrated programmes. Over the years, through sincere efforts the organization has achieved very well reputation and acceptance in country and abroad as well as also built a good relationship with programme participants, community people, local administration, local government institutions and other relevant stakeholders in its working areas.

GUK mainly focus on following areas in regards to programme implementation:

  • Education
  • Food security
  • Livelihood
  • Market linkage
  • Capacity building
  • Women empowerment
  • Human rights
  • Skills development & job placement for youths
  • Health, nutrition & WASH
  • Disability inclusive development
  • Good governance
  • Disaster management & climate change.

Brief of programme experience and achievement:

(a) Humanitarian action and disaster management:

GUK has long working experience in humanitarian response, disaster management and climate change issues. Since 1987 GUK has been implementing disaster management, emergency response, recovery and rehabilitation related projects. Through different interventions, the organization is making people especially living in the flood prone areas of northern districts adaptive to disaster and climate change. So far GUK responded to flood and river erosion disasters of 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and cyclone sidr of 2007 (Barisal district). GUK has established 18 flood shelters where affected people with their household assets and livestock can take shelter during flood. Besides, 65 cluster villages are established where nearly 1000 families are living safely and nearby affected families can also take shelter here during floods. Besides, nearly 12000 individual households in the remote river island Char areas have been raised considering the highest flood level of 2007 through different interventions. The organization has also started working in Ukhia upazila of Cox’s Bazar district since November, 2017 to provide emergency support to Rohingya refugees.

GUK’s approaches to reduce disaster (especially flood) vulnerabilities

Cluster Village:

The organization takes initiatives to establish Cluster Villages on raised plinth considering highest flood level where 10-30 families can live together in each cluster. Sometimes GUK provides housing support and sometimes to shift their existing houses to the cluster villages. These cluster villages are made accessible for Person with Disabilities so that they can move easily.

Homestead Raising:

 We take measures to raise individual homestead plinth considering highest flood level so that people of these households with their assets can remain safe during flood. Tube wells and latrines are also installed on the raised homestead to provide safe drinking water and sanitary facilities.

Flood Shelter:

 The organization takes initiatives to build Flood Shelter on raised plinth considering highest flood level where 400-500 flood affected families can take shelter with their moveable assets. WASH facilities, safety & security measures are made available in each shelter. These Shelters are also made accessible for Person with Disabilities for their easy movement.

Schools or Community Place Raising:

 GUK also takes initiative to raise Community Places or Schools ground considering highest flood level so that affected families can take shelter with their moveable assets during flood.

Major activities to address disaster:


  • Staff capacity development on disaster management;
  • Awareness raising and strengthening community based disaster preparedness and management capacity whereas disability issues are considered on priority base;
  • Disaster management committee formation at grass root level;
  • Make accessible model house for persons with disabilities;
  • Skill development of volunteers;
  • Provide early warnings to the local community as well as to the government and international community;
  • Homestead plinth raising and soil compaction through fruit and vegetable tree transplantation and fodder cultivation;
  • Construction of flood shelter & cluster village and community place raising considering accessibility for person with disabilities;
  • Seeds preservation;
  • Management of Food bank and special savings to meet emergency needs during disaster;
  • Networking with regional, national and international level stakeholders;
  • Find raising

-Emergency Response:

The organization supports affected people within very short time during disaster with it’s boats, speed boats, staffs and community volunteers. Emergency response includes Search & rescue, shifting to safe places and shelters, provide first aid & medicine support, emergency WASH (temporary latrine, tube well) support, distribution of pure drinking water, dry food items & child food, cloths, hygiene kits (sanitary napkin, soap) saline, candle, torch light.

-Early Recovery:

The organization undertakes different activities immediate after disaster to bring affected people in normal life which includes Food for Work (FFW) Cash for work (CFW), Cash for Training (CFT), unconditional grants support, repairing houses, roads, social (schools) and religious institutions, Education in Emergencies (EiE), Agricultural inputs (disaster resilient seeds, fertilizer), organizing human & animal health camp. GUK also set up and operate Women and Child Friendly Spaces to reduce trauma of flood affected women and children.


GUK implements activities to support affected people to become resilient for long term through providing loan, housing support, agricultural inputs (seeds, fertilizer & utensils) support, construction of roads, culverts, bridges & riverside embankment, construction of community bathing place, installation of latrines & tube wells, ponds cleaning, nutrition support for under 5 children and pregnant as well as lactating mother, provide support to Severe Acquit Malnutrition (SAM) centre in government hospitals, Provide support for livelihood resilient by long term Incomes Generating Activities (IGAs), .

(b)  Socio-economic development and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized people:

GUK has been working for socio-economic development and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized people since its inception in 1985. The organization mainly targets poor women and other vulnerable groups like persons with disabilities as they are most disadvantaged and deprived from various opportunities. GUK is working for improving the socio-economic condition of these disadvantaged groups and to empower them socially and economically.

 (c) Education:

To eliminate illiteracy from Gaibandha district GUK started adult education programme in 1989. Afterward, the organization started non-formal and formal education programme in 1989 and 2007 respectively. Over the years, GUK has provided primary education to 18000 children through its formal and non-formal education interventions. A total of 26 formal primary schools have been established and being operated by GUK where presently 4180 children are receiving primary education. On the other hand, a total of 909 dropout children (aged between 7-11 years) from poor and extreme poor families are receiving primary education through 30 non-formal education centres. Besides, GUK has established 3 secondary schools in remote areas where more than 1600 students are studying. The organization has also established and operating a technical training institute and a skills development training center.

(d) Social Mobilization:

The organization is working for social mobilization by joining with different networks and forming various forums. It has developed 120000 change makers in northern districts of Bangladesh and formed different human rights groups. These change makers and human rights groups are actively playing important role to stop Gender Based Violence (GBV) and to uphold human rights through organizing and participating rally, human chain, campaigning, day observation etc. Moreover, GUK organize rally, fair, campaign on different issues and different national and international day observation to create awareness among people.

 (e) Livelihood and inclusive financing:   

From the very beginning, GUK has been working to improve the livelihood condition of disadvantaged people through its different development projects as well as its microfinance programme. Group, federation, VDC and CBO formation, capacity building, inclusive financial support, asset transfer, agriculture diversification, develop women entrepreneurs, micro insurance, information & technology transfer, trade based skills development training and job placement, exposure visit, advocacy, market linkage, demo plots on climate adaptive crops, agriculture input support, agricultural value chain, strengthening local service providers are the main activities for livelihood improvement. So far, about 48,000 families successfully uplifted from the extreme poverty and 40,500 families got ownership of productive assets (cows, goats, sheep, poultry) through livelihood and inclusive financial support from GUK. Currently a total of 179250 people are directly involved with GUK activities.

(f) Gender:

Gender is a cross cutting issue of GUK and it considers different issues by gender lence during designing or implementation any project. The organization has been working on gender and women empowerment issues from its inception. Almost in all the programs/projects, GUK targets 95% women as programme participant. Active participation and involvement of women is considered with high importance for improving their condition.

 (g) Adolescent and youth empowerment:

With the purpose to transform young boys and girls as skilled human resources, GUK is working to make them aware on different issues and also providing various trade-based skills development training and supporting for job placement and self employment. GUK has established a skill development training centre in 2010 through which it is providing 3 & 6 months long trade based residential training to youths. Besides, GUK is also making adolescent and youths aware on different issues like early marriage, dowry, health & hygiene, WASH, nutrition etc. through conducting session. So far, the organization has provided skills development training to 5016 youths in 8 different trades like mobile servicing, IT support service, web design, graphic design, outsourcing, electrical & electronic mechanics, fashion garments and supported them for job placement and/or self-employment.

(h) Nutrition:

GUK has well experience to carry out nutrition interventions with the support of national and international development partners. GUK is trying to improve nutritional condition of disadvantaged and flood affected poor women & children through its different interventions. So far, 12,700 Severe Acquit Malnutrition (U-5) children are screened and 644 are provided with treatment support; 12,730 pregnant and lactating mothers are provided with IYCF sessions and counseling which increased their knowledge.

(i) WASH:

GUK has longstanding experience to implement WASH related projects with the support of different national and international development partners. GUK is trying to ensure safe water, hygienic sanitation and hygiene practices for people living in flood prone riverine areas. So far, a Total of 15,748 individual household are provided with tube-wells and 91,982 households are provided with sanitary latrines..  Furthermore, the organization has established 333 cubical bathing places in river island char areas of Gaibandha and Kurigram districts. Besides, WASH and hygiene kits are distributed among 5597 flood affected families in 2017.

(j) Disability:

GUK has long experience and well reputation in disability development activities. The organization is working to ensure rights of persons with disabilities and to improve their overall livelihood condition. GUK received Award from the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 2016 for the contribution in the field of disability mainstreaming. So far, 2600 Children with Disabilities (CWDs) have been enrolled in mainstreaming government primary schools; 240 government primary schools have been made accessible for CWDs; Assistive device have been distributed among 7321 CWDs & Persons with Disabilities (PWDs); 150 families having PWDs have been made accessible; therapeutic services provided to 3000 CWDs; 250 PWDs have been provided with rehabilitation support; 50 govt. & non-govt. organizations/institutions/ offices have been encouraged to make their office premises accessible for PWDs.

(k) Good governance and human rights:

For ensuring good governance and democratic environment GUK works with local administration, Local Government Institutions (LGIs), government and non-government service providing organizations through advocacy, motivation and civic education. GUK involve local administration and representatives of local government institutions with its filed level activities to ensure transparency and accountability.

  • Geographical coverage of the organization. A map will be appreciated (Map attached).
Sl No Name of District Name of Upazila
01. Gaibandha Fulchari, Shaghata, Gaibandha Sadar, Sundarganj, Sadullapur, Palashbari, Gobindaganj
02. Rangpur Pirganj, Mithapukur, Rangpur Sadar, Pirgacha, Kaunia
03. Kurigram Kurigram Sadar, Rajibpur, Ulipur, Rowmari, Chilmari. Razarhat, Fulbhari
04. Lalmonirhat Lalmonirhat Sadar, Aditmari, Kaliganj, Hatibandha, Patgram
05. Nilphamari Nilphamari Sadar, Domar, Dimla, Jaldhaka, Kishorganj, Syedpur
06. Dinajpur Dinajpur Sadar, Ghoraghat, Fulbari, Nowabganj, Birampur, Birol, Chirirbandar, Hakimpur, Birganj
07. Panchagarh Debiganj
08. Bogra Shibganj, Bogra Sadar
09. Joypurhat Joypurhat Sadar, Akkelpur, Panchbibi
10. Kustia Khoksha
11 Cox’s Bazar Ukhia
  Total:    11 47



GUK envisions a poverty free equitable society where justice, equality, human rights and dignity of all people are ensured.


Inspired by credo “Release not Relief”, GUK works with and for poor, extreme poor, vulnerable, excluded and all other disadvantaged groups of people especially women, children, ethnic groups and person with disability to bring about a sustainable positive change in their lives.

Core values

  • Rights to fulfill basic needs of all people;
  • Full confidence and belief to independence and liberation war of Bangladesh;
  • Humanity, respect and honor to all people irrespective of men and women;
  • Expression of free and independent thought;
  • Equal attitude to all irrespective of race, religion and caste;
  • Especial care for most vulnerable and person with disabilities all the time;
  • Learning from others;
  • Confidence on the capability of people on developing their own condition;
  • Creativity and innovation;
  • Honesty, faithfulness and sincerity;
  • Accountability and transparency;
  • Ensuring equality of men and women in every sphere;
  • Group initiative;
  • Positive attitude/realization to nature and ecology;
  • Proper utilization of assets;
  • Cost effectiveness attitude;
  • Transparency in all aspects;
  • Awareness on environment.


General Council:

GUK has a General Council (GC) consisting of 25 members which is the highest authority of the organization. Presently 56% of total members in the GC are women. Usually members of the General Council meet once in a year where discussions held about different strategies, audit and major activities of the year. The General Council is also responsible for selection of Executive Committee members.

Executive Committee:

The Executive Committee (EC) of GUK consisting 07 members elected for every 03 years by the General Council. Meetings of the Executive Committee held 4 times in a year. The Executive Committee supports the “Program Management Team” for smooth implementation of activities. The executive Committee is responsible to the General Committee.

Programme Management Team:

GUK has a Programme Management Team (PMT) consisting 9 senior members from different individual units. Members of this team have strong leadership quality, proven experiences and commitment. Chief Executive of the organization leads the programme management team. This team is responsible for strategic direction to implement programme activities smoothly. This team also maintains communication and liaison with government, people’s representatives and development partners.

Website address for more details: