A Bangladesh development initiative, the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest project – widely known as EEP/Shiree – won a prestigious award for Outstanding International Leadership at the Annual Gala of British Expertise International in London on 11 April 2016. British Expertise is the UK’s leading private sector organisation for British companies offering professional services internationally.
The award, presented by British Expertise Chairman, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, judged EEP/Shiree to have demonstrated impressive leadership in 2014-15. Shiree is the Bangla word for ‘Steps’. The uniquely ambitious objective is to help 1 million extreme poor people take enduring steps out of extreme poverty.
EEP/Shiree is a BDT 1012.65 crore [GBP 83.53 million] programme which began in 2008 and runs to September 2016. It is a partnership between the Government of Bangladesh, UK Aid’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project is under the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.
EEP/Shiree operates as a challenge fund. It finances national and international NGO projects, selected by an independent assessment panel, that help households escape extreme poverty. EEP/Shiree provides assets, skills and nutritional support through its Partner NGOs to over 1 million target beneficiaries to improve their livelihoods and nutritional status.
The programme gives priority to lesson-learning, communication and experience-sharing across its projects, and uses research evidence from its projects to improve interventions, and to help influence Government policy on extreme poverty. EEP/Shiree has an advocacy role to raise awareness of the multi-dimensional causes of extreme poverty, and to stimulate national dialogue on the eradication of extreme poverty.
British Expertise said “the EEP programme is an outstanding example of how UK Aid can achieve large-scale nationwide, sustainable poverty reduction.”
EEP/Shiree is managed by a consortium led by the consultancy firm Ecorys UK, supported by its Bangladesh partner, PMTC Ltd and by the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bath, the British Council, the University of Cambridge, and Unnayan Shamannay.
Ecorys UK congratulated its team and partner NGOs for their outstanding contributions in delivering this programme. The award is fitting recognition for a highly successful programme that has exceeded most of its targets, and played a key role in helping to ensure that additional measures to eradicate extreme poverty were included in the Government of Bangladesh’s 7th Five Year Plan prepared in 2015. In addition to the British Expertise award, EEP/Shiree also scored A+ in successive and rigourous DFID Annual Reviews, confirming the project’s performance above demanding expectations.