Rural Employment and Road Maintenance Program
In the face of floods and famine back in 1974, this program came into being in its original form under FFW and eventually upgraded with the assistance from various donors to use this program as a means to create employment for the distressed rural women throughout the year based on food assistance. Keeping this in view, in 1983 CIDA launched a pilot project called ¿Rural Maintenance Program (RMP)¿ in 7 Unions based on the money received on selling of its food assistance to Bangladesh, which was implemented by CARE international. In 1992 CARE conducted an interim evaluation of this piloting, based on which two interconnected components were included in the project, such as, (a) Rural Maintenance Component (RMC) and (b) Income Diversification Component (IDC). The aim of it was to make the project more beneficial in terms of ensuring self-employment of the women beneficiaries sustainable. The RMP with these components continued until 1995 with the support from various donors. During 1995 to 2002, RMP project was jointly implemented by Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and CARE. During this period donors¿ support for this project started shrinking and Bangladesh government's contribution raised to the level of 55 percent. During 2003-2007 the project was again implemented jointly by CARE and LGED with the financial support of European Union. Since there were no more donors to support the project, the government took it over to totally finance this program with minor changes in its design. The title of the project was also changed from Rural Maintenance Program (RMP) to Rural Employment and Road Maintenance Program (RERMP), wherein more emphasis was given on creation of self-employment. In addition to road maintenance and income diversification components of erstwhile RMP, RERMP also included monitoring of socio-economic status of the distressed beneficiaries.
The long term goal of RERMP is to contribute positively to the rural economic growth of Bangladesh and government poverty alleviation programs. To achieve this goal two specific objectives were indentified in the short to medium terms, which include (i) maintaining the important rural roads fit for communications through repair and maintenance round the year to ensure the rural economy progressing; (ii) making the distressed women beneficiaries of the project skilled in productive activities and create for them self-employment based on training in self-employment opportunities.
In view of the above objectives, this program consists of three components, such as, (i) Road Maintenance, (ii) Tree plantation and (iii) Training in self-employment opportunities.
Under RERMP each women gets Taka 90 per working day of a week excepting Friday, of which Taka 45/- is paid in cash and Taka 36/- is transferred to beneficiary¿s bank account to generate savings for her. The focus is given to diversify income opportunities of the women through linking them with various Income Generating Activities (IGAs) and imparting skills training in various trades to ensure that minimum 70 percent of them can be self-reliant and do not return to their original status.
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