May 27, 2024

RAJSHAHI BUREAU:  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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