Digital Cash Transfers in Bangladesh

08 Mar 2018 by Daniel Winstanley,

UNDP’s Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) Programme is working with the Government of Bangladesh to re-configure the current social security system so that economic growth is achieved in a more inclusive manner, with economic opportunities reaching the rural and urban poor and the protection of vulnerable groups against shocks. Support is provided primarily in two areas: governance of social protection and strengthening of systems. In collaboration with SSPS’s sister project, Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO), and in partnership with the Bangkok Regional Hub and Innovation Facility, which is funded by UNDP and the Government of Denmark, UNDP is testing the delivery of social security cash transfers to SWAPNO beneficiaries through bKash’s and Dutch Bangla Bank Limited’s (DBBL) Rocket mobile-money services. bKash and Rocket are pre-existing mobile-money service providers in Bangladesh, with hundreds of thousands of agents across every local region (Union Parishads) of the country. The goal of this initiative, titled Social Security Digital Cash Transfers, is simple: test an alternative, digital method of transferring social security cash transfers to Bangladeshi citizens, and provide rigorous evidence that this method brings significant savings in terms of costs and time as opposed to the current traditional method. After an intensive … Read more

Rural Women to Fight Against Climate Change

29 Oct 2017 by Bipasha Chakma, Communication Officer, IBFCR

Women constitute about half of the Bangladesh population, but their social status especially in rural areas still remains very low. Rural women belong to the most deprived section of the society facing adverse conditions in terms of social oppression, economic inequality and also natural hazards caused by the climate change. Deluti Union of Paikgacha Upazila in Khulna District is such an area where climate change impact is high and affected badly by salinity. Due to this salinity, there is acute crisis of safe drinking water and livelihood options are shrinking fast for the community. They can get fresh water only during the monsoon and can cultivate once a year. Men and women are migrating to Dhaka or Khulna for jobs and becoming vulnerable. Those who don't want to migrate also struggling to survive. They are fighting with climate change and coming up with their own solutions. "Padma Pukur" is one such solution, which is helping the community to solve their drinking water problem temporarily by harvesting rainwater. "Padma Pukur" is located at Deluti Union Parishad building. But there is still much work to be done to make it clean and protected. … Read more

Built back better - from flood affected to flood resilient

05 Sep 2017 by Cathrine Haarsaker, UNDP Bangladesh, Early Recovery Facility and Montasir Rahman, UNDP Bangladesh, Early Recovery Facility

Woman working on dry ground on Char MontolaWoman working on dry ground on Char Montola
  Kurigram, Bangladesh — On a small river island in northern Bangladesh, a women sits outside her home, working on a traditional embroidered quilt. Next door, her neighbor is tending to her vegetable patch. The landscape around them is flooded, but their houses and homesteads stand dry. We are on Char Montola, a river island in Kurigram district in the north of Bangladesh. In the middle of 2017, at a time when many of the river islands, flood plain areas or even higher grounds in the Brahmaputra river basin are inundated, Montola is one of the few standing one foot above the flood water level. The raising of Char Montola was made possible by the UKAid (funded through the Department for International Development DFID) response to the 2015 floods in North-West Bangladesh. With the support of UKAid through a joint UN programme, UNDP’s Early Recovery project implemented a ‘cash for work’ scheme and gave shelter reconstruction support in a total of four sub-districts of Kurigram and neighbouring Gaibandha. … Read more

Can Bangladesh become a welfare state

17 Jul 2017 by Göran Jonsson, Sr. Programme Adviser, UNDP Bangladesh

The National Social Security Strategy approved by the Cabinet in 2015 points to a strong political commitment of Bangladesh to become a welfare state. The welfare state has potential to provide economic security, advance opportunities and ensure wellbeing for all and should, therefore, be of shared interest to citizens of different walks of life. Welfare states come in different shapes, determined foremost by whether universal or selective policies are chosen. However, common to all is that the State as a provider of social security assumes responsibility for guaranteeing a minimum level of welfare to its citizens. This happens to be the majority view in Bangladesh and it is also a mandate of the state as laid down in the country’s Constitution. Poverty reduction has become a unifying moral issue in political discourse and culture. These are good starting points. A welfare state is based on principles of public responsibility for those falling behind, with certain demands on scope and quality of the social security system. Setting standards for what it would take for Bangladesh to become a welfare state, the Core Diagnostic Instrument (CODI), recently developed by a consortium of global development agencies to assess effectiveness of national social security systems, … Read more

Three Women from Satkhira Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities of Social Security in Bangladesh

09 Jul 2017 by Shazia Omar,consultant

Last week I visited Ashashuni union of Satkhira, a flood-prone area where river erosion, limited economic opportunities and increasing salinity caused by climate change and made worse by shrimp cultivation has resulted in poverty for thousands of people. There I met three women. Poor citizen. The first young woman was a bright eyed lady named Parul Akhtar. She was dressed in a colourful shalwar kamiz, busy behind her sewing machine, when I arrived at her homestead. I asked her to tell me a bit about herself while her son circled us curiously. Parul’s father was a van gari puller who was very poor. She was married off young because her father could not afford to feed her properly and felt bad about that and he hoped her husband would provide her with a better life. This didn’t turn out and when she was pregnant she returned to her father’s home because her husband had married another woman from a neighbouring union. A few months later, her father’s home was washed away by the river during cyclone Aila when she was pregnant. It was a harrowing experience. … Read more