More than two million women in Bangladesh have moved beyond extreme poverty after taking assistance from Brac's Ultra-poor Graduation (UPG) programme.
Initiated in 2002, the UPG programme is aimed at enabling extreme and ultra-poor households to achieve socio-economic resilience in order to progress along a pathway out of extreme poverty, Rozina Haque, programme head of the UPG programme, told a webinar on Saturday.
"So far, more than 2.1 million ultra-poor households in 48 districts have benefited from the programme", she added.
Meanwhile, the scope of the initiative has been expanded for the targeted population and in different contexts like urban, climate change, persons with disabilities and the local community in Cox's Bazar, she mentioned at the online seminar entitled "Women's Empowerment Fireside Chat" organised by Harvard GlobalWE.
Explaining further on the graduation programme, Rozina said assistance under the programme lasts for 24 months for a beneficiary and in the meantime Brac works on livelihood promotion through increasing assets, financial inclusion through accessing financial institutions, social protection through accessing healthcare service, and social empowerment through skill development and community mobilisation.
Speaking on the impact, she said, "We have come to know that annual income of the beneficiaries have risen by 37% while their consumption has increased by 10%. Furthermore, their savings have increased 9 times and access to land has doubled."
While addressing the webinar, Donella Rapier, chief executive officer of Brac USA, said Brac has already reached around 100 million people in 11 countries and has become a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programmes to assist the most marginalised people.
The approach of reaching the poorest and most excluded with a particular focus on women and girls as well as providing holistic, multi-faced solutions to poverty made Brac a unique development organization in the world, she noted.
The webinar was moderated by Sajida Shroff, president of Harvard GlobalWE.