Project Factsheet
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Project ID:00092777Description:SDG-F Bangladesh
SDG Fund
Start Date *: 1 Dec 2014
Joint Programmes
End Date*: 30 Sep 2017
Country: Bangladesh Project Status: Operationally Closed
  Participating Organization:   UNDP - UNDP(MDTF/PUNO only).

Sectorial area of intervention and policy objectives: Inclusive economic growth for poverty eradication

  • Create opportunities for decent jobs and secure livelihoods
  • Create better government policies and fair and accountable public institutions
  • Promote inclusive and sustainable business practices


Joint programme summary:

Drawing on the successful experiences of an earlier UNDP assisted promotional social safety net project and other innovative public works programmes aiming at permanently lifting extreme poor people out of poverty, this Joint Programme will assist women of ultra poor and most vulnerable households to move out of poverty.

The programme, titled Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO), will promote employment, and most importantly future employability of ultra-poor rural women. Creating productive employment opportunities is generally considered the most efficient way to secure poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Strategies of the joint programme will focus on building human capital, knowledge, skills and confidence of extremely poor women for future employability. The women will be engaged for an 18-month employment tenure, mainly in maintaining or rehabilitating important community assets but also in public works and community service beyond infrastructure. The programme will provide assistance to smooth the transition from safety net employment to market-driven employment by vocational skills training, job placement and diversified climate change resilient livelihoods options, ensuring market linkages and access to essential public services and by social and economic inclusion for these women.


  • A strong human capacity building component, including life skills training, confidence building and training in livelihoods skills within the employment tenure, will ensure that the programme serves purposes of both protection and promotion, and makes use of the transformative potential of social protection in reversing social exclusion and economic marginalization.
  • Saving a portion of wages has been found to be a powerful design feature in assisting poor households to move out of poverty. Such savings will be cast as a graduation bonus - a one-off transfer providing seed capital for self-employment, basic household needs (linked to resilience) or further training and educational development. Women will be intensively counselled and supported to invest these savings in productive assets.
  • In addition to assisting women to start and operate self-employment micro-enterprises, the joint programme will focus on facilitating linkages with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Local SMEs in the rural non-farm and off-farm sector will be encouraged to absorb women trained by the programme, with training to be designed based on the private sector’s demand for skilled workers, following ILO’s Community Based Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (CB-TREE) concept.
  • In line with UNDAF guidance and agreed with Government of Bangladesh, the programme will geographically target pockets of poverty and entrenched vulnerabilities where the need is greatest.


Such areas, with the highest incidence of extreme poverty, include Northern districts affected by seasonal hunger and Southern coastal districts affected by natural disasters and climate change.


  • Bangladesh is already facing the realities of climate change, manifested by increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and the joint programme will be guided by integration of Social Protection, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, including for the selection of primary beneficiaries, livelihood opportunities and public works.
  • Recognizing the central role of local government in accountable, pro-poor and gender sensitive service delivery, the programme will enhance good local governance and develop capacity of local government institutions.
  • The joint programme provides opportunities for downstream application of a host of innovative delivery approaches at local level, which will catalyze improvements in delivery capacity and inform social protection strategy and policy through field based evidence. Innovative approaches to be field tested include building employment skills via PPP arrangements like apprenticeships and mapping local demand for skills, relating to both private sector demand and opportunities of own account business; IT based channels of social cash transfers (electronic payments); micro-insurance delivery and climate adaptive measures.
  • The approaches of this joint programme have already proven successful in an earlier UNDP project, which enabled widowed, divorced and abandoned women to protect their livelihoods and family welfare long after project support ended. This proposed joint programme will enable UNDP, ILO and the government to scale up proven successful approaches and also feed these in the new policy framework (National Social Protection Strategy) and the next Five-Year Plan, which are policy and planning instruments currently being developed by the Government of Bangladesh.
  • Crucially, micro-macro linkages will be ensured by embedding the Joint Programme in a Social Protection Policy Support Programme through which UNDP will assist the Government to roll out and implement the adopted National Social Protection Strategy. The Joint Programme will enable UNDP and ILO to be at the forefront in informing social protection strategy and policy through testing and learning and providing field based evidence.


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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Bangladesh or the lead agency for the programme. The MPTF Office Portfolio Manager (or Country Director with Delegation of Authority) for this programme:

The person with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

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