Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The World Bank has provided $200 million to improve the livelihoods of approximately 5 million poor people in rural areas of Bangladesh.
To materialise the aim, the Bangladesh government on Tuesday signed a $200 million financing agreement with the International Development Association (IDA) for the Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project.
IDA is the World Bank’s concessional arm that helps the world’s poorest countries.
The Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project aims to benefit approximately 5 million poor people in rural areas, said a press statement of the World Bank.
The project will provide livelihood support and enable access to market through business partnerships to empower the rural communities.
The project will mobilise the poor and extreme poor people, who often remain left out from micro credit schemes, by building and strengthening community institutions including Nuton Jibon Community Societies.
In addition, the project will raise nutrition awareness, share agricultural knowledge and focus on enhancing youth skills so that they can take advantage of employment opportunities.
The project will also fund small scale rural infrastructure.
“While Bangladesh has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty over the past four decades, poverty remains more pervasive in rural areas than in urban areas in Bangladesh,” said Christine Kimes, acting country head of the World Bank in Bangladesh.
“The Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project will scale-up the activities of predecessor programs to improve economic wellbeing and empower the poorest households, and especially poor women,” Kimes added.
The project builds on earlier projects – Social Investment Program Project (I & II) – which started as a pilot in Jamalpur and Gaibandha district and has now expanded to 16 of the poorest districts in Bangladesh.
The monitoring and evaluation data showed significant improvement in the incomes and living standards of project beneficiaries.
The Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project will cover around 2,500 new villages in 12 districts in addition to the around 3,200 villages supported under the earlier projects.
“The project is a testament to the government’s continued commitment for accelerating pro-poor growth,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, additional secretary to the Economic Relations Division in Bangladesh.
“Following a community driven approach, the project will increase income and create employment opportunities for the poor and extreme poor population in the rural areas,” he said.
The agreement was signed by Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Christine Kimes on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit from IDA has a 38 year term, including a 6 year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.