After getting huge responses in Satkhira and Kurigram districts, the Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO), a social security project of the government, is going to expand its activities in Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Jamalpur districts from July, reports BSS. “We have a plan to start our third phase in the three districts from July this year. A total of 3,600 poor women of 100 unions under 11 upazilas will be benefited under the government’s social safety net project,” Training Specialist of SWAPNO project Kajal Chatterjee told the state news agency.
He said the objective of the project is to ensure sustainable livelihood and food security for extreme poor and vulnerable rural women. The Local Government Division is implementing the project from April 2015 to December 2020, with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and BSRM, he added.
In Satkhira and Kurigram districts, Kajal said, a total of 8,928 poor women have already been benefited under the two phases of SWAPNO project. “A total of 4,464 widows, divorcees, and wives of disabled men are leading life better than before after the completion of the first phase of the project,” he added. After successfully completion of the first phase, he said, SWAPNO’s second cycle began in November 2017 and the phase will end this month (May).
In the second phase, he said, the project has also given supports to another 4,464 extreme poor women of the same districts through giving job opportunities for maintenance of the union level government assets and providing training to involve in the income generating activities. He said the main objective of the project is to generate employment for ultra-poor and vulnerable women in community identified public assets for a fixed tenure of 18 months and facilitate their digital wage transfer.
Kajal informed that the project is also encouraging responsible saving and spending behavior by facilitating formal savings and participation in informal saving groups known as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs). In order to ensure livelihood sustainability, he said, training on need based livelihoods is being provided and linkages are being established with private sector to facilitate formal sector employment.
He informed that SWAPNO is providing money through e-payment system which will continue in the new three districts. Referring to an internal monitoring analysis on second phase, Kajal said all 4,464 beneficiaries began income generating activities (IGAs) with an average increase in investment per beneficiary by 46.3 percent.
Before intervention, he said, beneficiaries had a two percent propensity to save with the average savings summing to Taka 157. After intervention, SWAPNO facilitated beneficiaries to start ROSCA, or informal savings groups of 12 women each who meet weekly and jointly save, he added.