Gender equality

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

Re-writing the Future: Celebrating women leadership in the urban slums of Bangladesh

08 Mar 2016

Khadija Begum—an independent woman from an extremely poor family living in the urban slums of Gopalgonj—took over her new leadership role as a Councilor for Gopalganj Pourashava.  Khadija is the women in the middle wearing a grey scarf.Khadija Begum—an independent woman from an extremely poor family living in the urban slums of Gopalgonj—took over her new leadership role as a Councilor for Gopalganj Pourashava. Khadija is the women in the middle wearing a grey scarf.
“I am very excited that the people trusted me with community leadership! I am now working for the poor to prove myself worthy of their trust. I am focusing on key challenges in my community, such as eliminating violence against women, preventing early marriages, supporting disabilities and promoting children’s education. I am also a member of the Women Development Committee and I believe that unity among women can turn all challenges into opportunities.” Khadija succeeded over adversity through her hard work and determination. Key to realizing her potential was the availability of the right kind of support. Starting out as an extremely poor woman living in an urban slum that afforded no jobs or opportunities, she is now an elected councilor working to improve lives in the community and helping women and girls overcome poverty- and gender-based challenges in Bangladesh.   “I always wanted to become a leader, but I didn’t know how. Before joining the programme (Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction), I was only a labourer with a seven-year-old disabled daughter. There was no platform for my voice to be heard. My husband and I worked as cooks in the Bangabandhu college canteen to support the family. However, our daily earnings … Read more

A Bangladesh for All – Not beyond belief, just beyond our grasp

10 Mar 2015

Gender equality sit at the centre of the Facility’s approach. Mainstreaming and targeted interventions, such as engaging women as front-line health workers, is supporting sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. PHOTO CREDIT: KAWSER AHMED
Violence against women is a widespread issue and it is not one that’s going away. Over the past two decade, many global initiatives have been undertaken to promote and enforce women’s rights. Significant international mechanisms have been developed, world conferences held and even a decade dedicated to the plight of women (1975-85). In spite of these initiatives, progress towards the achievement of women’s rights globally has been slow and in Bangladesh, violence against women remains a serious concern. It is an issue that permeates all aspects and levels of society, making it a national issue. When women and girls are prevented from enjoying education, are prohibited from raising their voice, are denied their basic rights or access to justice, Bangladesh as a whole suffers too. In fact, a 2012 study found that Bangladesh experienced a 20% loss of potential income as a result of women not being allowed to reach their economic potential[i]. While women all over Bangladesh face different forms of discrimination and barriers to justice, women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) face a unique set of challenges. Such discriminations are further enhanced due to ethnicity, religious persuasion and socioeconomic marginalization. A household survey conducted by the Human Development … Read more

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