Worldwide, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has some 150 embassies, consulates-general and permanent representations to international organizations. It also has 345 honorary consulates, with limited powers. All of these represent the Netherlands. Together, they are called ‘missions’. The missions are the eyes, ears, and voice of the Netherlands. The embassy staff and consulates promote Dutch interests and assist Dutch nationals living or travelling abroad. Embassies are also active in development cooperation, cultural affairs and media relations. Consulates are subordinate to embassies and carry out more practical, routine tasks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague coordinates the activities of the mission network.
What Do the Embassies and Consulates Do?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes Dutch interests abroad. To help it do so, it has a worldwide network of embassies, consulates and permanent representations to international organizations. The activities, makeup, and size of each mission depend on its host country and region.
Embassies and consulates – bilateral missions – concern themselves with relations between the Netherlands and other countries. Their main areas of activity are:
- Political affairs
- Economic affairs
- Development cooperation
- Consular affairs
- Press and cultural affairs.
Embassies operate in all these areas, whereas consulates only deal with economic and consular affairs and, on occasion, press and cultural affairs.
In countries receiving aid, the embassies play an important part in selecting and implementing development projects. They help formulate a general approach, and they have the contacts to deploy local expertise and human resources.
The Netherlands is one of the most active and long-standing partners in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender in Bangladesh. Specifically, the Netherlands aims to reduce maternal mortality and end violence against women and child marriage in Bangladesh.
To implement SRHR in Bangladesh four result areas have been developed:
Young people are better informed and are thus able to make healthier choices regarding their sexuality.
A growing number of people have access to anti-retroviral drugs, and other commodities, such as contraceptives and sanitary napkins, required for good sexual and reproductive health.
Public and private clinics provide better sexual and reproductive healthcare services, which more and more people are using.
Greater respect for sexual and reproductive rights of people whose rights are denied.
Violence Against Women
Due to urbanization and a growing population living in slums, many women suffer from reproductive and sexual health problems. In the slums women experience more violence than outside slums and they lack basic public services. However, many develop survival strategies; they find a job, mainly in the garment factories. Although some garments factories provide day care and health care services, as well as information about SRHR and access to sanitary napkins for reduced prices for their employees (of whom 80% are women), violence against women remains a big issue in Bangladesh.
The Netherlands supports a portfolio of 12 projects concerned with sexual and reproductive health rights. EKN’s eight projects from the SRHR budget have been formulated with SRHR as their primary objective: three SRHR subsidy projects funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one project from EKN’s education budget. Please see the overview of the project portfoliobelow. For more information, please see projects at a glance or download the flyer of every project.
Projects funded by the SRHR budget from the Embassy
- Unite for Body Rights (UBR)
- Saving Women from Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Menstrual Regulation (NIRAPOD)
- Bangladeshi Association for Life skills, Income and Knowledge for Adolescents (BALIKA)
- Generation Breakthrough (GB)
- Narir’s Shastho, Odhikar o Icchapuron (SHOKHI)
- Working With Women
- Initiatives for Married Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment (IMAGE)
- Promoting Physical and Emotional Wellbeing of Adolescents (BRAC IED)