Agriculture plays a powerful role in poverty reduction, according to a study done by BRAC’s research and evaluation division. The study revealed that the agricultural sector can reduce poverty-related sufferings faster than other sectors.
Microfinance is the idea that individuals from low-income backgrounds are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. This starts with what most of us take for granted - savings, insurance and credit facilities.
Access to finance – be that credit, or savings, is a universal need. People living in poverty are disproportionately excluded from the formal financial system. Access to finance is particularly difficult for women in Bangladesh with 64% of women left out of formal financial services.
Bangladesh has largely succeeded in providing access to basic sanitation. Using latrines in rural communities is now no longer seen as a luxury reserved for upper-income households, but a necessity at all levels of society.
With governments and others, increasingly looking to integrate Graduation into national programmes, cost and complexity are major barriers. Yet, practitioners need to be wary of looking for simple solutions to complex problems. Cost-effectiveness is not about finding a lower cost model for graduation but rather, understanding what is optimal in each context to achieve long-term, sustained, positive outcomes.
Shahana Akhter spends her days on her little red scooter looking for small businesses. She works in BRAC’s microfinance programme, and has spent seven years distributing loans and collecting repayments to enable all types of entrepreneurship to expand.
Mitali Dhar loves her bike. She has travelled far and wide on her two-wheeler. It has not always been met with respect - she was pushed off her bike once during a visit many years ago to a remote spot in Sylhet. “ I sat beside the tube well and cleaned myself up, wept and went straight back to the office,” says Mitali.
The capability to borrow money when needed, whether for short-term or long-term purposes, is a convenience valued by everyone. Access to credit is not only helpful for investing in enterprises, or managing crises, but it also provides the opportunity to access better standards of living.