Helping poor in BD: WB approves $600 mn for 2 projects

Dhaka, May 21 :  The World Bank has approved $600 million for two projects in Bangladesh to help over 1.75 million poor and vulnerable populations.These two projects will include youths, women, disadvantaged groups, and returnee migrant workers to improve employability and livelihood opportunities, and build their resilience against future shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a WB media release.
The $300 million Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET) Project will equip more than 1 million youths and workers with skills needed for the future of work.
The project will particularly support youths, women and disadvantaged groups, including people with disabilities to become skillful and to connect them to the labour market.
The project will also support industries to retrain their workers during and after the pandemic and thus accelerate recovery.
The $300 million Resilience, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Improvement (RELI) Project will help improve the livelihoods of about 750,000 poor and vulnerable rural people across 3,200 villages in 20 districts.
Both projects have a maturity of 30 years, including a grace period of 5 years.
“In Bangladesh, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods of thousands of people, particularly, female workers, youths, and returnee migrant workers,” acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Dandan Chen said.
He said these two projects will help empower and mobilise rural poor people, prepare them for the future job market and support entrepreneurial opportunities, especially for women and disadvantaged groups.
World Bank Team Leader for the Accelerating and Strengthening Skills for Economic Transformation (ASSET) Project Md. Mokhlesur Rahman said that Building on the success of earlier projects, ‘STEP’ and ‘NARI’,’ the project will help modernise and build resilience of the technical vocational education and training sector of Bangladesh.
It will set up an international standard model polytechnic in the country.
“Further, the project will benefit the informal sector workers through expanding the ‘Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)’ program.”
World Bank Team Leader for Resilience, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Improvement (RELI) Project Jean Saint-Geours said the project will provide immediate and tailored livelihood support to rural poor people for responding to urgent needs such as the Covid-19 pandemic, improve their ability to cope with future shocks and help them come out of poverty through income-generating activities and skill development.
The project will help organise village groups, build their capacity and finance community plans for savings and micro-loans, as well as climate-resilient infrastructure, giving priority to the poor and extreme poor, women, and youth.
With over 90 percent female beneficiaries, the project will also support entrepreneurship and encourage crop diversification, good nutritional practices, while raising awareness of climate risk adaptation and mitigation, the spread of diseases, and gender-based violence.