Project Title: Grassroots Women’s Leadership
Nature of the project: Establishing Women Political Empowerment and local Level Governance
Project Goal: To improve access to livelihood assets and services for rural women particularly the poorest through strengthening their voice and agency
Funded by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Project Area: 32 Union, Batiaghata & Dacope of Khulna and Mongla & Rampal Upazilla of Bagerhat Districts
Project Period: February 2011 to February 2017
Project Fund: 12,29,78,946.00
Beneficiries: Total: 86,340 Female: 62,897, Male: 23,443
Total Staff: 53 Female: 21, Male: 32

Impact:
As commented in the last Mid Term Review held on 2013 “NBKs are definitely working as agencies of rural women, particularly the poor - questions about strength of organisation (internal decision-making structures, leadership graduation) Evidence of local government institutions responding with relevant services and budget allocations – questions about use of NBKs as service delivery ‘arms’ of GO and NGO providers. Rupantar is on track to deliver organisational outcomes by end of 2013 – question about transition from old to new Rupantar – speed of implementation. Clear evidence of improving access to livelihood assets and services, particularly for the poorest”

Challenges:

  • Lack of clarity for future direction:
  • a movement for women’s empowerment building voice and agency for poor and extreme poor as citizens or an organisation for service delivery to members as beneficiaries (particularly extreme poor)
  • Demand for extending individual savings function of organisation – risk to undermining political empowerment objective


Over all lesson learnt, good practice and innovations
Project lesson learnt confirmed project design for phase IV is working without major flaws four components of the project design –organization, poverty, livelihood and local government are changing as result of project inputs and facilitations. But several constraints like NBKs institutional transformation, leadership graduation, future of NBKS partnership with UP are not on clear footing.  NBKs are broadly organizational innovation and good practice in rural society. Project also lacks in learning and innovation component LIC to document more specific good practice and innovation at micro level practice.  But project team feel there is very strong potential of this project to redefine the ultra poverty under the framework of feminizing ultra poverty.

Changes in voice and agency of NBK members

  • ‘I was in a jail in a patriarchal society, now I am a free person and can challenge patriarchy’ (NBK leader)
  • ‘I knew about gender – this is a woman and this is a man, but now I know how to change roles, I do things a man can do’ (NBK leader)
  • ‘Through NBK I have become a human being with human rights and particularly women’s rights’ (extreme poor woman member)
  • ‘I am extreme poor -  before I got no respect now when I am with NBK leaders at UP I even get a chair to sit on’ (extreme poor woman member)
  • ‘Now the NBK is registered there is a big change in my life, I can now go to the upazilla as a member of registered organisation and get so much more respect’  (extreme poor woman member)