Efforts for Rural Advancement (ERA) is a development, humanitarian, non-profit, non government organization (NGO) established in July 1997 with a group of local social development workers under the leadership of present Executive Director. It has been implementing integrated development activities in the district of Sunamganj, the northern eastern part of Bangladesh. The head office ERA is located in the district headquarters of Sunamganj.
The district of Sunamganj is located at the northeastern part of Bangladesh under Sylhet division. It is located in the bank of river the Surma. India bound the North border, Sylhet district is located in the East, Habigonj & Kishorgonj district is on the South and Netrokona district is on the west.
Sunamganj district is the one of the low-lying, disaster and poverty prone area in Bangladesh. Natural disaster like flash flood, heavy rain, sometimes earthquake is a common phenomenon in the district. River and soil erosion are one of the major disasters and natural water flow is disrupted due to situation of river and cannel. Flash flood damages crops just before the harvesting period and it is a normal phenomenon. Different water bodies bound most of the Upazilas, communication is very difficult. In the rainy season, country boat becomes the only mode of transport. During the dry season people have to walk and ride on boat (only main river way) to cross miles of distances. More than half of the year most of the areas goes under water during the rainy season.
95% of the total population are poor and among them 48% population are living under extreme poverty line and they area landless. Government services are very poor especially in education, health and employment generation. Literate rate is very below, high drop put rate from primary school, unemployment rate is very high, maternal and child mortally is comparatively very high any other district of Bangladesh. Safe water and sanitation is a burring issue in the low-lying areas.
Basic rights of poor people are violated due to poverty and lack of awareness. They are also exploited by water-lord (lease of haor). The livelihood situations of women are most vulnerable due to very limited scope of involvement in IGAs and they have no power in decision making process in a family. Religious binding is another barrier of women empowerment.
ERA dedicated to reduction of suffering of the underprivileged people and the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty.