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The Financial Express

Bangladesh's 90pc extreme poor families earn less than 1.0 dollar a day

| Updated: December 31, 2020 10:36:33


File photo used for representation File photo used for representation

As much as 90 per cent extreme-poor families have a paltry monthly income of Tk 2,000 (US$23.80).

The World Bank (WB) considers an individual living on or below $1.25 per day as extreme poor.

Furthermore, 70 per cent households in ethnic communities are extreme-poor.

The average daily earning of such families is not enough even to buy one and a half kilogrammes of rice.

Around 45 per cent of the extreme-poor households live in the country's Northwestern region, 36 per cent in haor areas and 30 per cent in the Southwestern region.

The extreme poor families in haor and ethnic communities are among the most vulnerable as 90 per cent of them have single or no earner and food diversity and insecurity are the highest.

The Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) revealed the data on Wednesday at a webinar.

The webinar was organised to share the progress of a multidimensional extreme poverty programme titled 'Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People', being implemented by PKSF with combined funding from the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the European Union.

If people are poor or extreme poor, it is because they lack choices, and PKSF is relentlessly working towards diversifying their choices and lifting them out of hardcore poverty, PKSF chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said.

Senior secretary of the finance division Abdur Rouf Talukder was present as the chief guest at the webinar while financial institutions division additional secretary Arijit Chowdhury, FCDO development director Judith Herbertson and EU head of Delegation to Bangladesh Maurizio Cian were the special guests.

Known as 'Prosperity', the six-year programme has been working on lifting one million people of 250 thousand households out of extreme poverty by 2025.

The programme, launched in April 2019, is covering 188 unions of 43 upazilas in Kurigram, Thakurgaon, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Magura, Patuakhali, Bhola, Sunamganj, Kishoreganj and Habiganj districts.

People living in these districts face climate shocks that threaten their lives and livelihoods. During the first year of the programme, more than 30,000 extreme poor households have been brought under its coverage.

The inception programme was piloted in 17 unions.

AKM Nuruzzaman and Sharif Ahmed Chowdhury made the keynote presentations.

It was found that 17 per cent extreme poor families were headed by female and they were the most destitute.

Of the extreme poor households, 60 per cent are day labourers, followed by small businessmen and fishermen, 41 per cent are food insecure.

Food insecurity is the highest among ethnic communities. More than 38 per cent are affected by natural calamities while 35 per cent have access to MFIs. Most of the extreme poor families have a single earner.

Nuruzzaman and Sharif said that the programme focused on livelihood, nutrition, community mobilisation and cross-cutting issues like disability, women empowerment, disaster-resilient housing, improving employment opportunity, diversity of income sources and reducing income losses.

Besides, poverty alleviation programme for the extreme poor should focus on market access, financial services, disaster and gender responsive services and capacity building, they said.

Delivering the welcome speech, PKSF managing director Moinuddin Abdullah expressed the hope the programme will make significant contributions to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the 7th Five Year Plan of the Bangladesh government.

Abdur Rouf said that Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction, but the pace of change has been decelerating because of natural calamities and health hazards.

These, however, may create obstacles to achieving the middle income country status if there are extreme poor people, especially in hard-to-reach areas. It is difficult to lift them out of extreme poverty in a sustainable way, he added.

He noted the government has provided PKSF a fund of Tk 5.0 billion for supporting the poor during Covid-19 pandemic.

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