About Us

The work of Symbiosis in Bangladesh is carried out under the overall management and oversight of Symbiosis International, an NGO registered in Australia and based in Brisbane, Australia. Our dedicated staff working in our local organisation, Symbiosis Bangladesh, are essential to our success. The local transfer of knowledge and experience in all walks of life enables Symbiosis to facilitate change without destroying the culture or sense of identity of village communities.  

Symbiosis International undertakes projects in Bangladesh through its implementing division, Symbiosis Bangladesh, which is registered in Bangladesh as an NGO.  Symbiosis International has a range of funding partners that have agreements with either Symbiosis International or directly with Symbiosis Bangladesh.

The power to change comes from working together


Our vision is the transformation of the poor and marginalised within their communities in Bangladesh, such that they are freed from exploitation and dependency


Our mission is to empower the poor and marginalised in Bangladesh through group formation, education and training, collective savings and peer lending to deliver sustainable development outcomes within community organisations.


Our Team

Executive Leadership

Lisa West-Newman

CEO | Symbiosis International

Lisa stepped into the CEO role, following the retirement of our Founder, Dr Morris Lee in July 2020.

With 10 years of experience in community development in South East Asia and a background in communications and public policy, Lisa joined the Symbiosis Board as a Director in 2017 with a particular focus on supporting our communications and fundraising efforts.

Lisa is committed to spending time in Bangladesh with staff and group members to hear first-hand the stories of transformational change occurring in participants’ lives.

Roger White

CEO | UTE Holdings Pty Ltd

An industrial chemist with water treatment skills, Roger visited Bangladesh for the first time in 2007, immediately feeling a strong connection with the people.

In 2007-08 he joined the Board of Symbiosis International where he served for seven years. During that time he continued to support the water treatment program with Symbiosis and make occasional visits to Bangladesh.

Roger now leads our endeavours to develop a sustainable social enterprise program in country.

Dr. Abdur Rahman

Country Director | Symbiosis Bangladesh

Dr. Abdur Rahman is a Medical Doctor with 34 years of experience with the Government Health Ministry in Bangladesh. With expertise in training, leadership, research and community development, Dr. Rahman has worked in senior level management for many years.

He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor for the School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences at James Cook University in Australia.

Dr. Rahman has been a friend and supporter of Symbiosis since it began in 1995, and in 2014 became Country Director of Symbiosis Bangladesh.

Symbiosis International Australia Board

Noel Harvey OAM - Board Chair

Experience in Local Government as councillor and administrator, experienced board member on several  government authorities and government owned enterprises.

Nick Young - Deputy Chair

Cyber Security Consultant with experience in public sector, NGOs and Community Development 

Dr Neil Parker

Retired Specialist in Public Health Medicine, with over a decade of clinical and community development experience in rural Bangladesh

Krystal Wallis

Nurse/Midwife/ Volunteer Manager in Palliative Care with extensive experience working in not for profits 

Scott Dale

Qualified Chartered Accountant & CPA Specialising in Business Development

Andy McCulloch

Urban and Environmental Planner with background in International Development and passion for exploring the nexus between environmental and social outcomes

Savaen Cameron

Leadership experience in travel, hospitality training, management, youth work, and international community development.

Adam Robinson

Solicitor in Private Practice for over 30 years

Caryn Chan

Experience in the professional services and NFP sector and serves as the Central Services Director of an Australian Charity.  Chartered Accountant and member of Governance Institute of Australia

Symbiosis Bangladesh Staff

Chief Finance Officer

Abu Bakkar Mia

Chief Finance Officer

Building Manager

Juljalale Wale Rahman Sweet

Building Manager

Stakeholder Relations

Nazrul Islam

Stakeholder Relations

Senior Program Officer

Asif Kaiser

Senior Program Officer

Symbiosis Australia Staff

Travis McAuliffe

Board Secretary
Chief Finance Officer

Dr John Davis

Chief Programs Officer


Helen Young

Funding, Programs and Communications Manager

Our Founders

Starting with two friends and a shared vision, Symbiosis International continues the the work of Founder and Patron Dr Morris Lee, OAM and Founding Country Director in Bangladesh, Mr Akand.

Together, they established the organisation to work in the poorest communities of Bangladesh, creating a process for development that was empowering, holistic, sustainable and locally grown.

Our Locations


PO Box 6166, Mitchelton, QLD 4053

53 Prospect Road, Gaythorne, QLD 4051

Phone: +61 7 3355 5985


House # 5A, Flat # C-5, Road # 136-137, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh

Phone/Fax: +88 02 9883599

Working Together for Good

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