The Local Government Division (LGD), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly initiated a specially-designed training programme titled "Handling the Post-Covid Challenges in Micro-Enterprise Management" targeting around 21,000 young girls and women.
The programme aims to build their skills in micro-enterprise development and help them adapt with the fast-changing employment landscape against the backdrop of large-scale job losses following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press statement.
The training programme is being implemented by Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPCP) of the Bangladesh Government – with financial and technical assistance from FCDO and UNDP – in collaboration with the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM).
The LIUPC project has contributed to stimulating and revitalising the local urban economy by supporting poor people – especially young girls and women living in slums and low-income communities – by providing employable skills and business start-up grants for self or wage employment, it read.
"It has also contributed to improving inclusive livelihoods through socio-economic funds being distributed to young girls and boys as well as women through a systematic data-driven and participatory selection process followed by a digital banking transfer," it added.
"This training will give the participants valuable insight into the most contemporary issues of enterprise promotion initially for the expert staff trainers who will cascade the training to more than 800 community facilitators and 20,000 beneficiaries at the ground across 20 City Corporations and Paurashava in phases," read the statement.
Addressing an online inaugural ceremony of the training programme on Wednesday, UNDP Bangladesh Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee said, "It is often a challenge for the poor women to decide on what to do with grant money for sustainable economic recovery."
He continued, "I believe this exclusively-designed training programme will make that investment effective by generating more employable skills, gainful employment and a modest income for those poor families," he added, according to the statement.
John Warburton, Extreme Poverty, Resilience and Climate Change team leader, and Senior Environment Adviser, FCDO, British High Commission, said the impact of Covid-19 on urban poverty has been enormous.
"As the number of poor people has almost tripled in the 20 project cities – from two million in 2019 to more than six million – which means more than four million people have emerged as the 'new poor' due to the adverse impacts of the pandemic," he said.
"Women are disproportionately affected because of job loss, income loss and business shutdowns. Special efforts, therefore, need to be put in place to support women entrepreneurs," added John Warburton.
Chaired by Abdul Mannan, national project director and joint secretary of the LGD; Dr Jahangir Alam Khan, member, Governing Body, InM; Dr Md Mosleh Uddin Sadeque, director, InM; Yugesh Pradhanang, technical advisor and project manager (acting), LIUPCP; and Ashekur Rahman, assistant resident representative, UNDP Bangladesh also spoke on the occasion, read the statement.
Initiated in 2018, the LIUPC Project works in five major areas that include: climate resilient housing for low-income urban poor, strengthening community organisations, skills and employment generation for women and girls, improving resilient infrastructure, and strengthening pro-poor urban management, policy and planning, according to the statement.