The Australian government has extended its support for the United Nations World Food Programme's (WFP) urban social protection scheme in Bangladesh.
The financial aid worth Tk12.6 crore is aimed at supporting the development and strengthening the urban safety nets in line with the National Social Security Strategy, said a press release.
Moreover, this will be used to develop an effective model for the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) to scale up the major flagship Mother and Child Benefit Programme (MCBP) and roll out the Vulnerable Women Benefit (VWB) programme next year.
The social protection scheme will support 33,000 vulnerable women and enroll them in relevant government safety nets with the financial support from Australia and technical assistance from WFP.
This will also help MoWCA prioritise system strengthening and the expansion of these programmes to vulnerable urban areas, with the two government programmes aiming to permanently support 600,000 women.
"We are proud to support Bangladesh government in its efforts to reach people living in at-risk, low-income urban areas across the country. Such people are among the worst affected by the Covid-19 crisis," said Jeremy Bruer, Australia's High Commissioner in Bangladesh.
"We believe WFP's strong partnership with MoWCA and its on-the-ground presence in Dhaka will help us reach the most vulnerable", added the High Commissioner.
"WFP is very grateful to Australia for supporting the expansion of government safety net programmes to urban areas" said Piet Vochten, WFP deputy country director, adding that "Australia has been historically valuable to our operations as they give us flexible funding, allowing us to immediately assist people in need, including refugees".
WFP provides technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh for its design and delivery of new and existing national social protection systems, programmes and policies. This typically involves inputs to government policy, programme design, system improvement, implementation and evidence generation to promote nutrition-sensitive approaches to food security.