“Economic Empowerment of the Women Help Reduce Poverty,
Gender Disparity and Gender Based Violence (GBV)”
The focus towards economic empowerment of the rural marginal communities are devised with a view to integrate development interventions for eliminating extreme poverty from the ultra poor communities by exploring existing potentials and assisting them to mobilize their local resources and potentials, enhancing their capacities to chose alternative and employable skills for livelihood development. This also includes micro-finance for livelihood development. RDF supports the beneficiaries to explore their potentials to increase their economic and social status. Considering state of women in Bangladesh, RDF strongly believes that economic empowerment and social empowerment (including education and awareness) of the women are two vital factors that can contribute to the overall social development.
Creating Access to Finance through Micro-Credit Program
One of the major objectives of RDF is empowerment of women. As 48% of total population is women, so their active participation is in need for development of the society. RDF believes, if women can be involved in income generating activities to earn at a sustainable level and educate them about health care, legal rights, one day they will be able to change the society in a positive direction. With this aim in mind, RDF has mobilized and equipped the women to undertakeincome-generating activities in theagriculture, livestock, fisheries, handicraftsand developed women entrepreneurs in the community.
RDF’s customized and diversed range of client centered micro-finance products assist the families to access financial services, mobilize, manage and build assets, invest in self-managed micro-enterprises. This “client protecting service” empowers them with disposable income to invest in health, children nutrition, and children education and prepare them to cope with and combat the emergency thus building hopes to become dignified members of the society in the future.
As of 2022, 263,611 beneficiaries, under 53 Upazillas of 13 districts,were supported only through RDF’s Micro-finance program for their sustainable livelihood through economic activities thus benefited from their chosen trades like poultry, livestock and small businesses. Out of this total number of the beneficiaries, total 91.94% (242,375) were women beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are now equipped and skilled in managing their income earning ventures like poultry management, disease control, marketing for having maximum benefit by efficient management of the value chain of their products. Community based poultry and livestock management are in place. From RDF’s internal assessment, as mentioned above, the beneficiaries are well benefitted as a result RDF has 98.19% of cumulative recovery rate against the financial assistance provided through its Micro-finance program.
Exploring the Potentials of Women
In order to optimize the benefit of economic empowerment and to explore the potentials of women, RDF emphasizes on equipping the women with financial autonomy and technical skills. In view to that RDF imparts training to its clients on various practical and day-to-day management issues related to their livelihood choices and income generating activities. All these trainings are devised and organized on identified
as well as from the felt needs of the clients/beneficiaries. Based on the identified needs, RDF imparts various capacity building/improvement trainings for its beneficiaries, like “entrepreneurship development and management”, skills training on their chosen income generating trades, coping with environmental disasters, which causes hazards to their lives and livelihoods, Leadership & Dynamics, etc. From the findings of RDF’s internal assessment, it shows that the average family income of each beneficiaries have increased by 30% since the women members of the families have involved themselves with economic activities along with their daily household chores. A total of 242,375 households overcome the status of “ultra-poor” status by women income generating activities and right based awareness and training.
Micro Credit Graduates are now confident to Manage Larger Funds as Small & Medium Entrepreneurs
Assessing the needs, demand and capacity developed by the beneficiaries, RDF initiated its Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (EDSc.) and provides EDSc loan basically in three sectors such as trading/off-farm, agricultural/Livestock Farming and small manufacturing activities. Under these sectors there are so many sub-sectors like small businesses like grocery shop, medicine shop, shoe shop, cloth store, fruit shop, electric & electronic shop, fertilizer & pesticides shop, rice dealer, small restaurant, spectacle & watch shop, ready-made garments shop, cosmetics shop, cattle farm, fish farming, robi crops, beef fattening, agro extension farm, crab farming, furniture manufacturing, handicrafts, tailoring shop, plastic factory, leather products manufacturer, rickshaw or car garage, rice mill etc. RDF also makes a supply chain linkage between seller and buyer from manufacturing to the end users for their manufacturing products. RDF trained and created access to larger financial support to 10,174 new small and medium entrepreneurs who graduated from Micro-Credit Program client in 2020. Such assistance ranges from BDT 50,000 (USD 500) to BDT 500,000 (USD 5,000) per project.