SSC Case Story 18 of 114
Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD), Kotbari, Comilla
Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea share the common strategy for accelerated poverty reduction and achievement of other MDGs. In pursuance with common development approach Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development (BARD) launched the Integrated Community Development Project in Burichang Upazila of Comilla District in Bangladesh. The project aims at establishing participatory community development model to champion the national priority by improving institutional and physical infrastructure of the rural community and enhancing the capacity of the people’s organization in planning, implementing and monitoring and evaluation of development objectives.
Poverty reduction remains the overarching development strategy of the government of Bangladesh since its independence in 1971. The project objective is also anchored within this strategy of contributing to reduction of the level of poverty through improving the quality of life of the targeted population by strengthening the capacity of village based organizations and physical infrastructure.
The Burichang Upazila is one of the most disaster prone areas in Comilla district with 259,000 inhabitants spread over 172 villages in 8 unions. Every year vast areas of the upazila get submerged under recurrent floods. Poverty and unemployment thus remain to be a common phenomena for the people of this upazila because of recurring damage of agricultural crops, livestock, roads, houses, schools, etc. due to flood. Rural infrastructure in this upazila in terms of carpeted road, primary and secondary school buildings, is the poorest compared with adjoining upazilas.
Literacy rate in this area is much lower (39.7%) than the national average (67%). Agriculture is the primary occupation for more than 56% of the inhabitants. This simply demonstrates that the people of this upazila is far away from mainstream development efforts with resultant negative impact on farm and non-farm production, schooling, food security, health facilities, female’s development etc.
The worst hit villages representing two unions of Burichong upazila, Sadar and Pirjatrapur union, have been selected for the implementation of the project activities because of insignificant development intervention in the past. Lack of mechanization of agriculture, very poor communication system with earthern rural roads, neglected school infrastructure, etc. in cumulative resulted in discouragement in investment for production, employment generation & Income Generating Activities (IGAs), and necessary social and community development activities.
Involving rural people through capacity building of Comprehensive Village Development Cooperative Societies (CVDCS) is the fundamental development challenge of this project. Considering the magnitude of poverty and their root causes, construction of rural roads and culvert, construction & renovation of primary schools with necessary refurbishment, building capacity of CVDCS through developing institutional capacities, providing irrigation facilities & construction of community centres, supply of agricultural equipments, providing training (on irrigation, agriculture & fishery) and credit for IGAs and employment generation is targeted as project activities to enhance the capacity of the rural poor for reducing poverty and improving their quality of life.
The ICD project concept emanated from a blending of BARD’s institutional mandate in respect of development initiatives with KOICA’s development intervention in poverty reduction.
Comprehensive Village Development Cooperative Societies (CVDCS) – the village-based organizations have been identified to become the key actor for implementing the project activities for building up their capacity. Cooperators of 43 CVDCSs have been motivated for adopting promising agricultural technologies. Intensive linkage have been maintained with Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) and Nation Building Developments (NBDs) including agriculture office at the Upazila level for ensuring infrastructure development like rural road and school construction, appropriate refurbishment of these schools, supply of agricultural equipments to CVDCS. Union Parishad (Ups) in the project area are also playing important role in implementing the project activities. Thus, implementation, operation and maintenance of programme interventions and activities have been integrated into mainstream activities of CVDCSs, UPs and relevance NBDs at the Union and Upazila level. The project is characterized with employment generation in the community and raising the income of the farm families.
Community people - irrespective of class, gender, profession remain the target group of the project. Nevertheless, household of the poorest strata, members of disadvantage groups became the priority group for providing necessary training, services, equipments, etc. The poorest groups are first involved in the construction work. The project is basically built around the capacity of CVDCSs. Training courses on irrigation management, agriculture and fishery management and sewing are designed to be provided to the beneficiaries (male & female) of the project at BARD. In each group about 30 villagers will be attending the training course. Construction of rural road of about 26.44 KM including about 18 culverts, construction of two primary schools, extension of rooms (two each) in 12 primary schools, construction of 16 community centres, installation of 5 DTWs with sunken pipe water distribution system and domestic water supply, supply of furniture in primary school, supply of 10 power tillers and 10 Shallow Tube Wells (STWs) to selected CVDP societies, supply of rickshaw, van and sewing machine of each 50 to the rural poor will be done through the project.
The project activities are designed to achieve the first goal of MDGs – eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. The project inputs are expected to address PRS policy matrix-4 & 8 by supplying of agriculture equipments to farm families for the application of modern technology which will eventually increase productivity and enhance food security. An improvement in the infrastructure and facilities of primary schools is expected to enhance enrollment of students that will push an increase in educated population in the community which may address PRS policy matrix-11 &14. The PRS policy matrix – 10 (water resources development and management) is expected to be addressed by ensuring the supply and provision of safe drinking water for the community people through the installation of STW and DTWs. The PRS policy matrix 5 & 16 (women’s advancement and rights) are expected to be addressed through different social development programmes for the women that will ensure participation of more and more women in development activities.
The project is highly participatory in its nature. At the national level KOICA and BARD are jointly responsible for the preparation of Project Action Plan to describe detail activities in appropriate Logical Framework (LogFrame) for attaining project outcomes. BARD is responsible for deputing senior officials to take leadership of this project as Project Director and Component Leaders to facilitate implementation of the Action Plan. KOICA is responsible for making arrangement of experts from Korea to work with the PD and CLs for ensuring the quality of implementation and necessary oversight. BARD and KOICA jointly maintain a project office for conducting all activities involving project inputs and outputs.
At the project level 43 CVDCSs, Union Parishads, LGED and officials of NBDs are expected to create a synergy of high participation at the grassroot level and to work with BARD and KOICA for the actual implementation of the project activities.
The project implementation approach is people oriented and participatory. Government participated in this project through BARD and LGED while local government participation is ensured through Union Parishad (UP). People’s participation is ensured through CVDCSs and schools and other educational institutions. So, capacity building through training, workshop, awareness campaign, etc. has been kept at the top of the agenda. Although the project was expected to commence its activities from July 2008, its physical commencement started in mid-2009. During the last couple of months the project achieved the following:
- Needs assessment on training and awareness campaign completed;
- Workshop on the scope of beneficiary participation completed;
- Purchasing of stationeries and office equipments & appliances completed;
- Land acquisition for construction works (provided by community) of community centers and primary school constructions, installation of Deep Tube Wells (DTWs) and Shallow Tube Wells (STWs) and road construction where necessary, completed;
- Detailed technical survey on construction related works is on progress;
- Selection of village based societies for construction and installation related works has been completed
Integrated Community Development Project in Burichang Upazila of Comilla District in Bangladesh is a KOICA funded and Government of Bangladesh (GOB) owned and implemented project. The project concept is based on GoB’s poverty reduction strategy and integrated development approach. The project implementation and management arrangement through Bangladesh Academy of Rural development (BARD) is the reflection of the principles of ownership, alignment and harmonization of aid effectiveness. A couple of policy matrixes from the National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction are integrated in the project objectives and outcomes. A well articulated synergy with MDGs is approached in the project action plan that addresses the issues like increase in family income, enhancement in food security, improvement in water and sanitation status, increase in women’s participation in development activities, etc. bear the mark of alignment with national priority. The project description suggests the adoption of participatory approach by all stakeholders at the grass root level and this again reflects the implementation of the principles of mutual accountability. Furthermore, the identification of inputs and their expected results suggests the project to work for the management of specific results, thereby anchoring the principles of managing for results.
The day-to-day work of the inhabitants of Sadar and Pirjatrapur unions of Burichong upazila turned to be a silent revolution in this area. The livelihood work of the individuals and families created a wave of development intervention across the entire community, irrespective of class, gender, religion and profession. The activities interfaced in the shape of a longer-term bondage of necessity and progress with ultimate goal of social security and economic independence. The integrated approach shaped up very well to enhance capacity at both individual and institutional level.
Training and workshops on different skill based trade like irrigation management, agriculture and forestry management, livestock and poultry development, embroidery, mother and child health care & nutrition, etc. all embraced individual’s capacity to enhance livelihood security through IGAs that eventually will encourage investment and production in the area.
Overseas training in Korea on Rural Development with special emphasis on Korean experience for project related officials and community leaders seemed to be the eye opening and long lasting capacity to envision for a balanced growth in their own community. That experience actually shape up the leadership horizon to facilitate use of project provided equipments, DTWs, STWs, Power Tillers and other infrastructure facilities for the common benefits of all stakeholders. This management orientation helps leaders and people to see the benefits of sharing opportunities through different development activities live construction of community centers, roads, schools, culverts and income generating equipments and activities that ultimately turn to be community resource.
Duration: July 2008 – June 2011
Budget (Optional): Total: US$ 3.52 million (Project Aid : US$3.44 million, Govt.: US$ .08 million)
Name of Primary Contact Person: Dr. Kamrul Ahsan
Title of Primary Contact Person: Project Director, Integrated Community Development Project in Burichang Upazila of Comilla District in Bangladesh &
City: Comilla, Bangladesh
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