LAKEWOOD, Washington — Natural disasters, underdeveloped policies, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, has exacerbated poverty in Bangladesh. The country is struggling to achieve sustainable growth, despite having reduced poverty since 1973. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bangladesh and Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) have banded together to support Bangladesh in its goals toward sustainable development and poverty reduction, and to graduate Bangladesh from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026. However, the two organizations have made notable efforts on their own to support Bangladesh, providing optimism to Bangladesh citizens. Here is how the UNDP and BRAC union are helping reduce poverty in Bangladesh.
About UNDP’s Work in Bangladesh
Since 1972, UNDP has maintained extensive records of country growth and progress and has partnered with people of varying levels in society to build up nations similar to Bangladesh. Three of the main goals UNDP has for underdeveloped countries are eliminating poverty, building accurate structural transformations and building resilience as a protection against any further shocks or crises.
For UNDP, the pandemic and other shocks have made poverty and inequality in Bangladesh all the more prominent. While developmental challenges continue to hurt Bangladesh, the UNDP has made efforts in improving the quality of life for Bangladesh citizens. The organization has helped the country through “supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental and disaster risk management, access to justice, e-service delivery, accelerating digitization and social protection.”
The results of the efforts have shown considerable numbers in improvement. The UNDP reports that in part of their help, per capita income in Bangladesh has seen an increase from $754 to $1,909. Food production has also tripled from 1973 to 2019 and 2009 to 2019. In turn, this success has lowered Bangladesh’s poverty from 35% to 20% during the same time period.
The organization wishes more for the country. The UNDP and BRAC union may help Bangladesh considerably reduce poverty rates and bring the country one step closer to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
About BRAC’s Work in Bangladesh
Similarly, BRAC has made improvements to the lives of Bangladesh citizens where growing anticipation can only come to the recent UNDP and BRAC union. The non-governmental organization utilizes innovation, impact and governance in projects against Bangladesh poverty and with BRAC assistance, Bangladesh has seen an improvement in the numbers.
In BRAC’s 2020 Annual Report of Bangladesh, 101,396 households in the country graduated from extreme poverty. The number of those living in Bangladesh urban slums who received low-cost housing, infrastructure development, livelihood support and access to clean water and hygiene was 608,813. In response to COVID-19, 1.8 million living in the urban slums received food and cash assistance along with hygienic support and awareness against COVID-19. BRAC has used its partnerships with groups such as the Australian and U.K. governments to assist Bangladesh.
The UNDP and BRAC Union
On February 20, 2022, Bangladesh UNDP representative Sudipto Mukerjee and BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh met to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), a legal document explaining a bilateral agreement between parties. They signed the Memorandum with the intent of working together to strengthen poverty elimination efforts in Bangladesh to encourage the country’s growth.
In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Executive Director Asif Saleh stated that the UNDP and BRAC union could help “achieve poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods for people living in extreme poverty by 2030.”
The two organizations are hopeful about the union. With the organizations both sharing successful histories with previous partnerships in poverty elimination and human development, Bangladesh may see more improvements in poverty reduction and growth in 2022.
– Michelanie Allcock