More than 45,000 women from slum and underprivileged areas under Rajshahi

Staff Reporter :: 212 Time View :
Update : Sunday, December 10, 2023

More than 45,000 women from slum and underprivileged areas under Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) have become income generators together with social contributors in the city for the last couple of years.

The women have gotten the path of eradicating their long-lasting poverty through self-managed savings and credit activities to some extent raising an anti-poverty savings scheme to more than Taka 12.5 crore.

The activities are being managed by the Community Development Committee (CDC), initiated by a project titled ‘Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities (LIUPC)” being implemented by RCC supported by UNDP.

Chief Community Development Officer Azizur Rahman said the project is intended to achieve long-term sustainable growth by eradicating urban poverty and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The project has been designed to reach initially the unserved and underserved urban population in the city and to promote livelihoods and living conditions of 1.80 lakh poor people living in the urban areas.

Earlier, around 55,000 slum people under 171 community development committees have come together in anti-poverty savings schemes accumulating around Taka 10.5 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 driving out their poverty.

After taking loans from CDCs, many of the members are operating different kinds of micro businesses successfully allowing them to have access to a regular income.

The poor communities operate their own savings scheme along with creating a revolving fund from which credit operations are managed through the savings credit program generating a new dimension towards women empowerment and curtailing urban poverty.

Saving of Ganpara CDC has been raised to more than Taka 20 lakh while Taka 17 lakh was saved by NatunBudhpara and the entire money is being managed and used by the community members for their own welfare purposes without any outside intervention.

RCC Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said the community savings and credit activities have been adjudged as an effective means of addressing some of the challenges to some extent.

Ummaton Begum, 43, of Ganpara CDC, has become a successful grocery shop owner as she pays monthly installment of Taka 7,350 against her credit of Taka 70,000 regularly through operating her shop besides leading her four-member family.

At present, Jahanara of Baganpara is owner of an auto-rickshaw and enabled herself to bring out from the vicious cycle of poverty. Locals Selina and Sonabhan also stated a similar success story.

Taka 8.78 lakh were disbursed among 224 community members under Firozabad CDC till last month, said cashier Sabera Yeasmin.

“We are working to address emerging challenges in poverty eradication through scaling up the innovative solutions by ourselves within the CDC system,” she added.

“It couldn’t be said certainly that all the members have become successful through the money transaction activities but some of them are doing well,” mayor Liton said.

More schemes needed to eradicate urban poverty in the city alongside eliminating other poverty-linked social crimes especially addiction of drugs and its trafficking in the wake of gradually rising slums, poor and extremely poor people.

Shawkat Shahidul Islam, general manager (Current Charge) of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, said substantial and sustainable promotion of women entrepreneurship could be the effective means of ensuring women empowerment.

Lauding the RCC’s women fund saving venture, he said women entrepreneurship is important for boosting their income generating activities besides employment for many others.

Senior banker Islam said the present government has adopted diversified programmes for elevating living and livelihood conditions of the womenfolk and urged the recipients for best uses of the borrowed money.

Empowerment of women has become an urgent need for their economic emancipation. So, the government has introduced diversified programmes for boosting women entrepreneurs.

He said the women entrepreneurs should seize every opportunity through the best uses of their trade-wise associations. Professional training could help women entrepreneurs realize these opportunities.

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