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Implication of Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest (EGPP) to Reduce Disaster and Gender Vulnerability

Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest (EGPP), which is one of the important safety-net programmes, being implemented by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) with the support of the World Bank through the IDA, aims to provide short-term employment to the hardcore poor in lean seasons over two cycles (March to April and October to December) and to develop rural infrastructures through various constriction projects, mainly earthworks. This study assesses the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the activities implemented under EGPP, as well as examines whether EGPP benefits the livelihood of the poor people and facilitates better coping mechanism during disasters. This study uses both quantitative (household survey-2,000 beneficiary households and 800 non-beneficiary households) and qualitative instruments (KIIs, FGDs) to collect information from randomly selected households. The study reveals that the general record of EGPP targeting is quite good. However, the selection process is not transparent rather depended on the relationship with members of selection committee to some extent. Results show that the programme is an effective means for ensuring economic solvency, increasing health awareness, ensuring alternative source of income and increasing self-reliance. In terms of   increasing employment opportunity for the vulnerable and poor segments of the rural population, the beneficiary households have more employed people compared to their non-beneficiary counterparts during the EGPP seasons. The study found that although underemployment for EGPP-beneficiary households is higher compared to non EGPP beneficiaries in the non-EGPP seasons, it is lower during the EGPP season. It is found that EGPP has positive impacts on income, food consumption and social status. The migration incidence of the beneficiary households is lower during the EGPP season compared to their non-beneficiary counterparts. The female beneficiaries enjoy higher mobility, are more conscious about their own healthcare, and more knowledgeable on child marriage compared to their non-beneficiary counterparts. Moreover, due to manpower and budget constraints of the upazilla level EGPP officials, they cannot verify all the candidates mentioned in the list. It is also found that some economically better-off households having diversified sources of income have been given EGPP cards, while some of the actually deserving and eligible poor households have been left out. This study suggests that there is an immediate need to revise the beneficiary list. Before finalisation of the beneficiary list, names included in the preliminary list should be discussed in an open meeting to avoid/minimise inclusion or exclusion error. Work week needs to be of 6 days instead of 5. This will finish phase-2 earlier and avoid overlapping with Boro harvesting time. It will also save days for beneficiaries to be used elsewhere. Moreover, wage rate needs to be revised to address inflation. In response to the regional variation in unemployment and underemployment, EGPP allocation needs to be spatially redistributed in a regular interval.

Study Team: S. M. Zahedul Islam Chowdhury (Study Director), Md. Mainul Hoque, Golam Nabi Mozumder and M. A. Mannan  (External Consultant)

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