Food Security 2012 Bangladesh – Ujjibito
On Sunday, September 15, the closing ceremony and presentation of findings of final evaluation for the 5-year long Ujjibito project was held. Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation has been implementing the UPP - Ujjibito component of the ‘Food Security 2012 Bangladesh – Ujjibito’ since the end of 2013 with financial assistance from the European Union. UPP stands for Ultra Poor Program.
There were quite a few key speakers at the event including AQM Golam Mawla, Deputy Managing Director, PKSF; Dr MA Baqui Khalily, former Professor, Department of Finance, Dhaka University and Team Leader, Ujjibito Final Evaluation Team, Innovision Consulting Private Ltd, Dhaka, Bangladesh; special guest Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh; special guest Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance; chief guest Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman PKSF and Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, Managing Director, PKSF.
After AQM Golam Mawla gave his welcome speech, Dr MA Baqui Khalily began his presentation titled “Final impact evaluation of UPP - Ujjibito component under Food Security 2012 Bangladesh – Ujjibito” on behalf of the Innovision team of Syed A Hamid, Anwar Hossain, Shubhashish Barua, MA Khaleque and Hafizur Rahman.
In the presentation, Dr MA Baqui Khalily mentioned that the ‘Food Security 2012 Bangladesh – Ujjibito’ had two components; the RERMP-2 component, which was administered by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), and UPP-Ujjibito which has been administered by PKSF and its partner organizations.
The aim of the project was to use a three-pronged multi-dimensional approach to address poverty and its related problems. The three core results of this project are:
• Economic empowerment (reflected in higher standard of living)
• Health and nutritional wellbeing (reflected in dietary diversity and child nutrition)
• Social empowerment (reflected in social cohesion, dignity and decision-making)
The four tenets of the project -- no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing and quality education -- are all directly related to the sustainable development framework. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) area United Nations’ set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The project Ujjibito directly dealt with the first four goals out of 17 SDGs.
Dr MA Baqui Khalily stressed the importance of sustainable poverty alleviation. He said: “Poverty alleviation is not enough, sustainable poverty reduction is required.” That was the aim of the UPP - Ujjibito project and to an extent, they have achieved it. According to the presentation, all UPP households had higher income compared to control households.
After the presentation, special guest Manfred Fernholz, First Secretary, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, gave a speech during which he said: “The EU and its member states are committed to support countries like Bangladesh to achieve sustainable development goals and the poorest and most vulnerable need to remain at the forefront of all efforts.” He also mentioned that even though Bangladesh is growing economically, inequality remains a huge problem.
During his speech, Arijit Chowdhury, Additional Secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance said: “Reducing extreme poverty is one of the main goals of Bangladesh government." He also mentioned that the government of Bangladesh extends their support to all projects that will help to achieve SDGs by 2030.
The first four sustainable development goals are all inter-related. It is a good idea to try and alleviate poverty by integrating these four goals. Only education is not enough to alleviate poverty. The people must have good food and good health in order to be productive and lift themselves out of poverty.