MDG 1: End Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Case Study: Her own boss: giving hope to the poorest women in Bangladesh

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Women in Bangladesh are working their way out of poverty with support from the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). In the last ten years, over 400,000 of the very poorest women have been helped to escape extreme poverty through a UK aid backed initiative called Challenging the Frontiers of Poverty - Targeting the Ultra-Poor.

Under the program, the poorest 10% of women are identified from local communities and mentored to help them increase their incomes and raise their voices in their communities. The program assists women to create one or more businesses tailored to their specific needs, learn key business skills, increase their confidence, and encourage community engagement.

Amina tends to the plants in her nursery Photo Credit: BRAC
Amina tends to the plants in her nursery.

Every week, a BRAC project worker will come to check livestock, teach women about basic hygiene, and offer family planning advice. These sessions also help the women build their confidence and understand their rights.

The program has produced remarkable results; 95% of women have graduated with a stable socioeconomic household and 98% of households now have cash savings. Women taking part in the program have created local shops, wood enterprise companies, plant nurseries, and leased fields for rice cultivation. This has increased respect for women within the community and discouraged families from needing to let their daughters marry early. The program is being implemented in other countries, including Haiti, Peru, Yemen and Ethiopia.

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Last updated: August 19, 2014

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