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Over 40,000 poor and slum households are enjoying water and sanitation facilities by commissioning of tubewells and hygienic latrines in their respective areas in the city.

Around 11,000 latrines and 2,560 tubewells were installed in the slum areas besides different settlement improvement privileges like footpath and drains to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to the poor and extreme poor households.

Various other settlement improvement facilities like one community latrine, 42,412 squire-kilometer footpath, 6,708 meter drain, 34 dustbins and seven community centres were developed for ensuring improved water and sanitation among the poverty-prone communities.

The access to improved water sources makes the lives of community members healthier while the constructed toilets and bathing facilities leads to improved hygiene practices and the footpaths improves settlement accessibility and mobility.

Nur Islam Tusser, Executive Engineer of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC), said the infrastructural and settlement improvement activities were executed by the direct supervision and monitoring of more than 170 Community Development Committees (CDCs).

Main thrust of the infrastructure development works was to improve the living and livelihood condition of around two and half lakh poor and extreme poor people, especially women and girls, in the city.

The slum households have also come together in an anti- poverty savings scheme to raise more than Taka 12.5 crore. Through the savings and credit programmes, the communities now can operate their own savings schemes and create a revolving fund from which credit operations are being managed by themselves.

By dint of her hardworking coupled with relentless efforts, Shahima Banu, 38, a poverty-stricken woman, has become icon for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger. Born and brought up in a poor family, Shahima, mother of two children, has now been familiarised as successful money-maker and social contributor culminating her long-lasting financial hardship and anxiety.

The programme promotes household and community level urban food production technology demonstrations, provides small input supports especially high yielding variety vegetable and fruit seeds, saplings, ducklings, chick and poultry vaccination.

It also provides business start-up grants to extreme poor women for poultry, goat rearing, beef fattening and agri-business allowing them to have access to regular income.

Besides, the apprenticeships and vocational training improve the odds of youth landing decent jobs and regular income.

Rapid urbanisation in the city is a growing trend that creates various challenges particularly inadequacy of infrastructural services, basic amenities, violence and socio-economic insecurity like other parts of the country.

The community savings and credit activities have been adjudged as an effective means of addressing some of the challenges.

The approach is good for alleviating urban poverty alongside women empowerment as many other slum communities intend to adopt the process after witnessing its overall successes.

The successful trend will continue as the poor and extreme poor people bring about change within their families and communities.