News and Events

News & Events

Tk 884cr British grant for rural dev – The Daily Star, February 26, 2008

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has allocated £65 million over 8 years (2008-2016) to establish and operate a Challenge Fund for the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest in Bangladesh, in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh.

The programme aims to support the Government of Bangladesh to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets on income poverty and hunger. It will do this by enabling over 1 million people to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and achieve sustainable livelihoods by 2015. All projects funded by the Challenge Fund will aim to sustainably improve the lives and livelihoods of extremely poor people within the lifetime of the project. They will achieve this by reducing the vulnerability and social exclusion of the extreme poor and promoting livelihood opportunities.

The programme will benefit extremely poor men, women and children throughout Bangladesh. The extreme poor are a diverse group. They live in all parts of Bangladesh, but are concentrated in vulnerable environments and remote areas. The programme will focus particularly on the very poorest 10% of the population of Bangladesh.

The Challenge Fund will be governed by a National Steering Committee (NSC) chaired by the Secretary of Rural Development and Cooperatives Division (RDCD), Government of Bangladesh and supported by DFID Bangladesh. A Management Agency has been selected, through a competitive bidding process. The Management Agency is responsible for day-to-day management including issuing calls for proposals from NGOs, managing the assessment process, monitoring impacts, and lesson learning.

The Challenge Fund will select proposals from NGOs on a competitive basis. Calls for proposals will be issued, and bids will be selected after a thorough process of independent assessment. The selection criteria will be agreed by the National Steering Committee during the inception phase.

It is likely that the Fund will accept proposals from organisations working in all parts of Bangladesh, although the National Steering Committee will make a final decision on selection criteria for proposals (see above). It is possible that the fund will focus on particularly remote, impoverished, vulnerable or under-served areas, environments or groups, for example people living in basins ‘haors’ and ‘baors’, coastal regions, and the extreme poor in urban areas. The fund will also be taking into account increased vulnerability as a result of climate change as part of the criteria. It will prioritise the needs of extremely poor women and children.

The inception process is on-going. Once the MoU is signed, we hope to call a NSC meeting within a few weeks. A call for proposals from NGOs will be issued within a few months – once selection criteria have been agreed.