When HealthBridge’s partner Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust moved to a new neighbourhood in 2013, they dreamed of doing something to improve the playing field across the street. After all, WBB had been working on livable cities since 2004 and a key part of their program is preserving and improving public spaces.
Achieving something positive can be extremely difficult, and this was no exception. After years of looking at the situation and trying to figure out how to proceed, a UN Habitat grant gained through HealthBridge suddenly turned the dream into a reality. WBB began with meetings in the local community to hear what adults—and especially children—wanted from the field. With UN Habitat support, they organized a workshop to use Minecraft to design potential improvements. In the process of engaging local politicians, the city government also committed to using a similar community engagement process to improve parks around the city and they added the playing field in question to their list of parks to improve.
Then came the exciting part—the actual work of building the children’s corner. They purchased play equipment, painted old tires as a boundary, made benches and seats from logs, and put up a net to prevent cricket balls from hitting the children playing. They tried to keep the children out until it officially opened; long lines of children eagerly awaited their turn on the slides and other equipment.
Happily, more girls are now playing on the field. The children’s corner has made them and other small children feel welcome. Similar work is bringing benefits to children and adults in several other cities in Asia and Africa thanks to the support from HealthBridge and UN Habitat.