Sunday, October 14, 2007
So Why Bangladesh?
A number of people, including co-workers, friends and family, both here and at home have asked, “So why Bangladesh?” This is a great question that doesn’t have a simple answer other than maybe “why not!” I suppose leaving it at just that would be plain rude so I’ll do my best to give some background and begin to provide an answer. As many of you know Robin and I met in the Peace Corps in the early nineties, and had the intention even then of living overseas and working in international development. After three masters degrees and numerous years of work experience in A2 and DC, we felt that it was the right time, both in terms of family and our careers, to move overseas. Fortunately, in early summer ‘07, a field assignment opportunity opened up with my company’s Bangladesh office that focuses on small and medium enterprise development in Bangladesh and other South Asia countries. Even though my primary focus is to help streamline and strengthen internal operations (i.e., project management practices), I hope to get involved in some of our enterprise development work. In addition to this field assignment opening up, which is what technically brought us here, Robin felt – even before our moving – that Bangladesh had good opportunities for her in public health. I suppose this still doesn’t quite answer the question since we could’ve found something back in Sub-Saharan Africa where we’ve both worked before. For me, I first became interested in Bangladesh after making a couple of work-related trips here in 2005. It was during these trips that I learned about the unique work that the team here has been doing in developing markets in key industrial sectors. My initial interest turned more to a desire to live and work in Bangladesh after reading Muhammad Yunis’s amazing story about Grameen Bank and the development and expansion of microcredit in Bangladesh. As we meet more people and get settled into our lives here, I’m sure our answer to this question will likely evolve further. We’ll keep you posted.