DfID to give 65m for fund to empower the poorest
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom will provide Bangladesh with £65 million over eight years till 2016 to set up and operate a 'challenge fund' for economic empowerment of the poorest.

The Rural Development and Cooperatives Division of the LGRD and cooperatives ministry will operate the fund, aimed mainly at achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals on income poverty and hunger.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between the British aid agency and the Economic Relations Division in Dhaka on Monday. The division secretary, Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, and the DfID country repre- sentative, Chris Austin, signed the memorandum, said a release.

According to the official literature of the programme, the fund is designed to enable more than 1 million people to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and achieve sustainable livelihood by 2015.

All the projects funded by the 'challenge fund' will aim at sustainably improving the lives and livelihood of the extremely poor people within the lifetime of the project. 'They will achieve this by reducing the vulnerability and social exclusion of the extreme poor and promoting livelihood opportunities,' said the document.

A national steering committee chaired by the rural development and cooperatives secretary will govern the fund in Bangladesh.

The poorest 10 per cent of the population, who are not yet covered by other initiatives, will be brought under the programme.

The fund may focus on particularly remote, impoverished, vulnerable or under-served areas, environments or groups, such as people living in haors, coastal regions, and the extreme poor in urban areas.

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