IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Centre
GRANT AMOUNT: $90,000
THEMES: Infrastructure; Social Saftey Nets
Poverty alleviation is the greatest challenge Bangladesh currently faces. Although Bangladesh has shown impressive economic and social gains, the level of poverty continues to be a challenge with 32% of the total population living below the poverty line in 2010. The objective of the Social Investment Program Project (SIPP II) is to improve the livelihoods and quality of life, and build resilience to climate variability, natural hazards and other shocks experienced by the rural poor. The first phase of SIPP, approved in 2003, primarily focused on the critical small-scaled infrastructure services, and social assistance given to the rural poor. The second phase aims to empower the community and prioritize support to the poor by building and strengthening systems and linkages with other funded programs. Micro-credit schemes have been an important tool for poverty eradication and a central pillar of SIPP II.
The CARTA sub-project was designed to improve the existing governance practices of the village-level institution, focusing on the micro-credit scheme under SIPP-II. The specific objectives were to:
- Assess the transparency and accountability of funds management established in the framework of the micro-credit scheme
- Improve the capacity of existing village micro-credit supervision structures to ensure transparency and accountability of the micro-credit scheme at the village level
The sub-project perception survey provided valuable insights about the perceptions and experiences of beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries and village level committee members. Through the data collection process, it was noticed that many officials and elites were reluctant to cooperate with the evaluation process, which had a negative effect on the beneficiary willingness to participate freely. The survey only provided a snapshot of the micro-credit scheme so no value judgment can be inferred from the effects of the capacity building element of the CARTA sub-project.
Although some community beneficiaries were organized in monitoring groups (Sachetan Dals) and received capacity building training on social accountability tools, SIPP-II policies, human rights and good governance, it is too early to know whether they will disseminate their knowledge or take a sustained and active monitoring role in the community. However, the perception survey painted a bleak picture of the viability of the program if no program reform is made. Only 39% committee members admitted that the loans are used for right purpose and they duly monitor the loans. In addition, 27% of committee members believe that the loan is a grant so it doesn’t have to be repaid.