Crisis response

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

Building Resilience, Constructing Lives

12 Jul 2016

One of the beneficiaries of UNDP-ERF reconstructing his house at Jumkarchar in Kurigram Sadar. Photo: Santu Das/UNDP
Like every other day, Abdur Rashid and his family went to bed early knowing they would have to be up again in a few hours, ready for work. But as he fell asleep to the sloshing of the rain accompanied by the occasional rumbling of thunder, a strange feeling of unease played at the back of his mind. In the wee hours of the night, a dreaded roaring startled him and he sat up in bed. A thousand thoughts went through his head as he saw the barrage of water gush into his home, tearing through the flimsy fencing. He yelled for his family members to wake up, as he rushed towards the broken wall of the hut to try and hold off the water with his own body and whatever else he found near. Within a few seconds he realized his efforts were futile – there was no stopping this. He screamed for help frantically and waded to the other side of the hut to try and lift the bed, one of the very few possessions in their otherwise scant house. Soon he realized their efforts here would fall short too, as he saw the level of water increase rapidly … Read more

Cyclone Roanu is a reminder: we must focus on preventing crises, even as we respond to them

23 May 2016

Bangladesh’s exposure to cyclones will not lessen – in fact, with climate change we may see the coast battered more often, harder, and in unpredictable ways. UNDP Bangladesh
As the World Humanitarian Summit unfolds and leaders discuss the humanitarian impact of rising crises and disasters, half a million people are currently displaced after Cyclone Roanu pummeled the Bangladesh coastline on Saturday, with 55mph winds and floodwaters several feet high. Making landfall in the country’s south-east, the cyclone brought devastation to areas unaffected by cyclones for the past 25 years. Where there used to be crops there is now salt water – the sea surrounding even the cyclone shelter. We are already on the ground in Banshkali, the hardest-hit area and the site of 7 of the 24 confirmed deaths caused by cyclone. The embankment protecting the people living there caved in, flooding homes, crops, and freshwater fish ponds.   Meeting with survivors and surveying the damage, our team learnt that in some areas, as many as ninety percent of houses may be damaged, leaving families without shelter for the oncoming monsoon season. Many are now sheltering on a raised road nearby.   Further south, in the sub-district Chokoria, the embankment had not been fully reconstructed following last year’s Cyclone Komen. On Saturday, the community was again inundated by Roanu. The poor recovery left the villages even more vulnerable than … Read more

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