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ECNEC may agree to extend time for execution of rural women dev project

Published : Sunday, 9 May, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 230

The government has decided to extend the duration of the project titled 'Strengthening Women's Ability for Productive New Opportunities' (SWAPNO) aimed at improving the socio-economic condition of rural women bringing them out of poverty.
As per decision of the planning commission the project cost remains unchanged at original Tk 853.40 crore approved by ECNEC in April 2015 but its implementation schedule was extended twice so far from 2019 to December 2020.
Under the revised plan the time schedule has been further extended by one year till December 2021, however keeping the cost unchanged.  The revised project will go to next ECNEC for fresh approval after the Eid-ul-Fitr.   
It has been decided in the fifth steering committee meeting of the project held at the end of 2020, said Local Government Division secretary Helaluddin Ahmed.
The sources said the project is working on development of rural women and their socio-economic condition. The sources said that the first phase of the project was successfully completed with government, UNDP and SDGF funding.
The second phase plans to start with 27,900 women beneficiaries from 775 unions in 18 districts. But as no new international development partner was found for additional financing, work on the project started with 4,464 new women beneficiaries in the existing two districts to continue the project.
In the second phase of UNDP's efforts to raise funds for the project, Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM) and Marico Bangladesh Limited provided US$ 0.20 million and US$ 0.30 million respectively from their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund.
The money received from the CSR fund will also be spent through UNDP. After the successful completion of the second phase, the third phase is currently underway in 99 unions of Jamalpur, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha districts with funding of $ 3.50 million from Sweden-based international donors.
Project director Mokhlesur Rahman said a total of Tk 86.47 crore was spent in local currency through UNDP, it is considered as DPA and is shown in the DPA section accordingly.
Sources said it is a social transformation project for ultra-poor women to be engaged in public          works essential for the upliftment of their economic and social life in rural communities. It is focused on creating new employment, and most importantly the future employability, of extremely poor rural women.
Creating productive employment opportunities is generally considered the most efficient way to secure poverty reduction and inclusive growth. SWAPNO will promote and test innovations, offering a replicable model through a parallel policy programme designed to strengthen governance and social protection programmes in Bangladesh.
SWAPNO offers a scalable, government-owned model aimed at participants' lasting exit from poverty. The women will be employed for 18 months in maintaining or rehabilitating important community assets, public works, and community service under the project.

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