Bangladesh: Govt Targets Freeing 18m Poor from Poverty by 2020

Jun 2017
Bangladesh, June, 30 2017 - The government has set a target of freeing another 18 million people from poverty by 2020 under a project - "One House, One Farm", according to official sources. The target will be achieved by providing financial and livelihood support to 3.6 million households from a special allocation of Taka 80.0 billion, Project Director Akbar Hossain told BSS.

The project in two phases had already provided support to nearly 15 million ultra poor of over 2.2 million households at 40,527 villages under 485 upazilas of all 64 districts across the country.

"In the next phases, he said another 18  million poor people of 60,515 villages across the country would get support to be self-reliant," the project director said.

With successful implementation of the next phase, the total number of beneficiaries of the project would cross 30 million-mark, he said.

The official said the government has allocated Taka 8,010 crore for the third phase of the project. Of the total allocation, 75 percent will be added to the revolving fund as grant. Rest of the fund will be spent for providing livelihood training to the beneficiaries and for logistics support for the project.

So far the government has allocated Taka 3,162 crore for implementing the first and second phase of the project.

Under the project, Village Development Association (VDO) has been formed in every village with 60 poor people, 40 female and 20 male. After formation of the village organisation, the members start saving Taka 200 per month that turns Taka 2,400 in a year. The government also gives Taka 2,400 per farm family per year as grant.

Besides, a fund of Taka 150,000 per year is given by the government as grant to each of the VDOs as revolving capital. This fund is merged with their individual savings and bonus from the government.

"We took initiative to build their capital through micro savings instead of micro credit," Akbar said.

The VDO members are given training on five farming livelihood activities like agriculture, nursery, fishery, poultry and livestock activities. After getting the training, the beneficiaries start their own business by taking loan from the VDO's revolving fund at only 8.0 percent interest.

The members of VDO meet in evening meeting weekly to decide which framing training they will take and which kind of business they can start.

The project had already helped reducing poverty rate, said the project director.

According to a World Bank report, the extreme poverty rate dropped to 12.9 percent last year, which was over 22.0 percent before launching the project in 2009.


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