The government’s social security project for rural women titled “The Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO)” has helped destitute women across Satkhira and Kurigram fulfill their dreams and potential. With additional support from UNDP, the five year plan has already helped more than eight thousand women and as rural women play a vital role in the development of village communities, it is impertinent to establish their social security and strengthen their roles as community leaders.
The first phase of the project is set to help widows, divorcees and wives of disabled men and in the second phase, the union level government assets will be maintained. The beneficiary women received cash wage payments along with bonus. The wage as well the extra bonus helped the women increase their livestock assets and others which gradually lead to reduction of overall poverty. The families were seen to increase their expenditure on education which means in the long run, the families may be able to come out of extreme poverty forever.
These women were also able to buy agriculture lands and engage in more farm activities. According to experts, if more rural women engage in agriculture work, it will also help to establish household food security. The survey report stated that “All the indicators of the project show that the beneficiaries now aspire to live a better life and they will continue to do so in the absence of the project.”
Rural women have always contributed to the welfare of the community and the household and by helping them stand on their own feet, projects such as SWAPNO will help the whole economy by increasing the participation of women in the country’s labor force.