New Employment Generation Program for the Poorest
The Government of Bangladesh is initiating “Employment Generation Program for the Hardcore Poor”, a cash-based intervention intended to create employment opportunities for the extreme poor in rural areas during the lean season or the Monga period. The program is built on the lessons learned from earlier successful programs such as the recent “100 Day Employment Generation Program” which was established as a rapid response to the food and fuel crisis of 2007-2008. Bangladesh has had a long history with workfare programs.
The Government is keen on making this employment generation program for the poorest a flagship program based on strong governance and focused on results. The Government accordingly requested World Bank for financing and technical support, to which the World Bank has agreed.
Recently, a World Bank team met with the Ministry of Food & Disaster Management, and identified three broad areas to help strengthen the Government program. Firstly, poverty maps will be used to ensure effective beneficiary targeting and resource allocation at the Upazilla and union level. The program will focus on motivating women workers’ participation. Secondly, clearer rules, better systems and enhanced transparency, particularly in terms of non-wage costs, payment systems, types of works and grievance redress will be on place to improve governance. To ensure better transparency, enhanced systems of information to the beneficiaries and disclosure of project details would be facilitated at the local level. Lastly, the project will focus on improving monitoring and evaluation with emphasis on worksite supervision, strengthening the central program implementation unit and comprehensive third party impact assessments.
It is currently expected that World Bank financing will be USD 150 million over the course of three years, and that project funds will be disbursed against pre-agreed results indicators to ensure greater efficiency in program delivery.