Bangladesh has made significant progress in poverty reduction in rural areas due to its successful implementation of the massive social safety-net programs.
Thousands of poor families are leading normal life overcoming economic vulnerability and improving their socioeconomic conditions as well as living standards in the past ten years, experts said.The social safety-net programs included employment generation project for the ultra poor, test relief, food for work and work for money, vulnerable group development (VGD), and vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programmes, Asrayan Prokalpo, training for livestock, hens and duck rearing and so many other programs are contributed faster reduction of poverty.
The UNDP in July this year published a report that Bangladesh successfully helped 19.3 million people to get out of poverty between 2004 and 2014, the fastest reduction in the United Nation’s poverty index during that period.
The 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), said the population in multi-dimensional poverty in Bangladesh had dropped to 74.4 million in 2014 from 93.7 million in 2004.
Additional Divisional Commissioner of Rangpur Division Md. Zakir Hossain told daily sun that the government is implementing social safety-net program to ensure social security, livelihoods and food security of the poor, backward, marginalised and underprivileged people.
The people of northern districts must be credited for bringing about a revolution in different crops production around the year and rearing chickens, duck, goats, sheep and cows gets popularity in the northern districts which also helped increase their earnings, he said.Besides, people were also doing small businesses in their own areas as banks and different non-government organizations were providing loans among the low income groups of people which was also increasing self-employment in Rangpur division, he added.
Chairman of Rangpur-based research organisation Northbengal Institute of Development Studies Dr, Syed Samsuzzaman, said successful implementation of massive social safety net program has improved livelihoods of the poor.The income generating activities (IGAs) with supports of this program have improved economic conditions of the poor bringing them out of poverty cycle in last ten years, he said.
Talking with reporters, rehabilitated couple Abu Bakar and Dulali at Chengmari-2
Asrayan Prokalpo in Gangachara upazila he said they became homeless since the Teesta eroded their homes repeatedly.
Rehabilitated couple Anwarul Islam and Mariyam, Masud Rana, Nurul Amin, Mofizul Islam and Shekel Banu there said they lost their homes to river erosion up to 12 times over the years.
“After rehabilitation, we got government assistance under the social safety net program to become engaged in IGAs and all of us are now earning well to lead happier life,” said Abu Bakar.
Shekel Banu said all rehabilitated families have cows, goats, poultry birds, homestead garden, kitchen, sanitary latrine and many other facilities and their children are going to schools.
Around one-lakh poor families have improved livelihoods through various IGAs utilising training, assistance and micro-credits under the recently renamed “Amar Bari, Amar Khamar (ABAK) project under the safety program in the district.
Beneficiary of the ABAK project Alifa Begum of Kursha Balorampur village of Sadar upazila said she got interest-free loans Taka 10,000, Taka 15,000 and Taka 30,000 in various phases since 2012.
After getting loans, she purchased heifers, goats and sheep with assistance of her husband Amjad Hossain.
“I have nine cows, 12 goats and 17 sheep, two acres cultivable land taken on lease along with other assets worth Taka ten lakh to lead solvent life now with my family members,” Alifa said.
District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer ATM Akhteruzzaman said massive uplifts under social safety net programs were implemented spending huge food grains in addition to employment generations and distribution of VGF rice among the poor in last ten years.
Deputy Director of the District Women Affairs Office Kawser Parveen said over 60,000 lakh tonnes of VGD food grains were distributed among destitute women, allowances among poor pregnant women, lactating mothers and loans among trained women.
“Over 9,500 women have achieved self-reliance in last ten years through various IGAs and properly utilising allowances and food assistance distributed among them to cut poverty and lead improved life in the district,” she added.
Deputy Director of the he Department of Youth Development Md. Dilgir Alam said his department provided training to unemployed youths on various trades and disbursed loans to make them self-reliant in last ten years.
“Over 4,500 trained youths have become self-reliant and many others are on way to achieve similar successes through IGAs under the government’s SSNPs in the district,” Alam added.
Dr. Tuhin Wadud, associate professor of Begum Rokeya University, said implementations of massive social safety-net programs were playing the key role in improving living standard of the poor in the district.