What's a 12-year old boy doing in the disaster-prone Korail region of Dhaka?

Why do the school children of Korail have an easy friendship with him?

Why do his images adorn the walls of the narrow warrens of Korail?

Why is INNO the Friend You Know?

Come, journey with Inno and his young friends and discover the unique Communications Programme that is piquing interest in Korail.


Sound of Korail


Friend of the idea. Fan of the Innovator.

Inno is the most earnest voice in the Disasters & Emergencies Preparedness Programme in Bangladesh and is the face of grassroots innovations-seeking activities.
Inno arrives on the scene with the attitude to make things better.
To innovate a more efficient way to get things moving. With the relentlessness to find the better solution and the resolve to take everyone along!

Come, Meet Inno!


Mohammed RafiqThe Coolest Veggie
Grower you ever met!

Here’s an awe-inspiring Inno Idea! Come meet the Innovator!

For Mohammed Rafiq, cultivating Lau or Bottle Gourd was something he always did in
his village. The creeper climbed and spread over the thatched roof of his village home
and provided protection and food.

In Korail, the roofs are of searing hot tin sheets and he did not know how to cultivate
Lau in these conditions. There was hardly enough space to plant his feet, forget
planting anything else. In congested, space-hungry Korail, cultivating Lau
seemed a distant dream.

Mohammed Rafiq also kept pigeons in coops on the roof. Their droppings offered a great opportunity as manure. He planted the Lau creepers in a row on the ground beside the
house and spread the creepers up on to the roof on a trellis he created out of string and
wire. Happy in the sun, they flowered and soon there were little gourds all over.
Mohammed Rafiq squirreled up to his gourds many times a day and watered them and
looked after them. Soon it was time to harvest.
Even before the gourds arrived, the Lau plants were delivering the best fruit of his
labor. Every day they cast shade on the tin roofs and kept the home below delightfully
cool and comfortable.

The idea took seed. Many people came to see. Some copied Mohammed Rafiq’s methods.
Some were successful. Some not. But they all agree that it really is cool in
Mohammed Rafiq’s house. A hot tea does indeed taste even better here!

“When it comes to growing plants, if I plant them, they just grow!”

Lau is part of the staple diet of Bangladesh. A regular curry is made with it and eaten with rice. So is a simple tossed vegetable. All very easy to make! Lau also gets added to lentils and Dals and meat curries to give them extra body.

HOSHNIARA BEGUMHoshniara’s rental business stays afloat with a water storage innovation!

Here’s another Inno Idea! Come meet the Innovators!

Growing up in Mymensingh— an area criss-crossed by various rivers and lush, green countryside— Hoshniara was not prepared to deal with extreme water scarcity when she and her husband moved to Korail. The sweltering, tiny tin shelters, made even more cramped with drums and buckets used to store water, did not make for good living. Cooking, eating, washing, cleaning — living would come to a standstill each time the drums ran empty.

Hoshniara and Alamgir wracked their brains together— how to make living easier, for themselves and for their many tenants? There was no way to put a water tank on the flimsy tin roof, but maybe they could consult a mason to make a tank under the room?!

Enter Mohammad Dulal Khan, who figured that with a well constructed lining of plastic, lime, sand and brick, a clean and convenient way to store water could be built under the room for Hoshniara and many like her!

Now that Hoshniara has in-built water storage, she’s able to demand more rent, save and send some money to her parents each month! Moreover, she no longer runs out of water in the middle of the day, she can cook and feed her kids right after they get back from school every day!

Meanwhile, Mohammad Dulal Khan has become a very busy mason indeed—almost every home in Korail has a water tank beneath it now!

“Nowadays everybody is getting ‘under the room’ water tanks made. It’s a great solution!"
View All Stories

Come to KORAIL

Korail, the land of paradoxes. Home away from home to almost 200,000 people, mostly migrants. An urban nightmare and a haven at the same time. Korail - a 170 acre stretch of land across the Gulshan Lake. Water - the source of life and of disease.

Who lives here? The laborers and masons (30%) who build the burgeoning city, but themselves live in semi-permanent tenements. Rickshaw pullers (20%) who ferry you across the city but barely have a foothold. Tradesmen (12%) who cater to the city’s needs but whose basic needs are seldom met. Garment workers (18%), the backbone of Bangladesh’s export economy. All eking out a life, living on the edges of the great and ancient city Dhaka.


200,000Korail's Population

142Korail's Schools

170 acresKorail's Area

58%Literacy rate

Inno comes alive on the walls of Korail

The children gather to greet Inno! They chant together.

"Inno! Inno! Inno!
He is our friend, you know!"

For Safer Communities - INNO Zones

Innovating Solutions Appropriate to Local Context

Innovating Disaster & Emergency Preparedness solutions appropriate to the local context begins by seeking innovations locally. Before disaster comes calling again.

Seek every improvement imagined and expressed by a resident in making life better within the built environment. Innovations that make one better prepared to battle and survive in times of emergency. Wisdom which makes the quality of life in normal times better. Communities are then more prepared to face recurrent emergencies, leading to lower impact, disruption and loss of life.

The DEPP Innovation Labs for Safer Communities seek to scout and support ideas to address these needs, building safer communities. It is a part of the broader DFID-Start Network Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) Labs, which aim to identify and support contextualized solutions to local emergency settings. In Korail, these labs are called INNO ZONES.


The power of a multi-faceted partnership

The partners bring a mix of skill sets and backgrounds. This places the lab in a strong position to tap and build upon local innovations, validate and lend credibility to them, and enable their scaling and replication in the region.

Contact Us

Dr. Muhammad Fuadul Islam
Project Manager
Dhaka Community Hospital Trust

190/1, Baro Moghbazar (Wireless Railgate)
Dhaka 1217, Bangladesh

+88 02 9351190, +88 02 9351191
[email protected]

Ms. Meghna Chawla
Communications Specialist

15 A, Institutional Area, Sector 4, RK Puram
New Delhi 110 022, India

+91 11 261 74272
[email protected]

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