Only about two and a half years after winning the Independence through a disruptive war, rehabilitation assisted by massive UN relief operations, a grave misfortune struck Bangladesh due to devastating floods and loss of all crops in 1974. Severe food shortage and no food assistance being available from the international community, disastrous famine followed perishing hundreds of thousands of people. Undaunted, the Government resolved to achieve self reliance in food production starting the well known Swanirvar Movement through a Swanirvar Cell headed by a Special Secretary to the Government under the Ministry of Agriculture. Its main task was providing motivational leadership, implementation in the field spear headed by the Deputy Commissioners of the then 19 Districts of Bangladesh.
The movement continued with many other associated developmental works with good results. But after the change of Government in 1981, the Swanirvar Cell was abolished terminating the Government led movement for achieving food autarky.
The inertia caused the volunteer workers to continue the activities for a while, in order to give them an organizational structure a non-government organization (NGO) was established in the name of Swanirvar Bangladesh obtaining necessary registrations from the relevant authorities.
Field activities of Swanirvar Bangladesh gradually became multi-sectoral including literacy, family planning, primary health care and nutrition, rural infrastructure development, crop production, livestock, poultry and fisheries development, tree plantation etc. It also started minor micro credit program beginning with the famous Dheki Loan which gradually encompassed many other rudimentary production, processing and service activities by the rural poor with loans provided by the Nationalized Commercial Banks.
The organization had continued with loosely bound management, mostly by volunteers both at the headquarters and in the field. Although the spirit of self-reliance reigned, there were many limitations, particularly the credit program pursued by volunteer workers was not very satisfactory. In order to give the organization a corporate structure for the sake of sustainability and dynamism, making room for expansions ensuring proper transparency and accountability in management, the Memorandum and the Rules and Regulations of Swanirvar Bangladesh was radically revised, registered with the Registrar Joint Stock Companies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 in May 2008. In the meantime, in order to meet the structural and systemic requirements imposed by the Micro-credit Regulatory Authority, Registrar, Joint Stock Companies and own changed needs of Swanirvar Bangladesh, as decided by its Governing Body, the existing Memorandum and Rules and Regulations are being further revised.
Ideals and basic concept of Swanirvar Bangladesh
1. To transform the hands of beggar into the hands of worker
2. To work with what one possesses, not to wait for what is not in this hand
3. To utilise the manpower, local resources fruitfully and use every inch of land for productive purposes
4. To organise the grass root people of the society through formation of their own organisations on a voluntary basis and to train them to become self-reliant
Principles of Swanirvar Bangladesh
1. Preparation and implementation of development plans through local initiative. Proper distribution and utilisation of local resources through government assistance (financial and other)
2. Preparation and implementation of various projects through the committees formed at village, union, upazilla levels and organise the people of all levels, to involve them in development activities
3. To facilitate communication between government officials and rural community and ensure co-ordination of development activities
4. To organise village co-operatives for taking the leadership of the village to discharge the responsibilities in rural development activities
5. To inspire all levels of people to discharge their responsibilities with patriotism for the betterment of the rural community