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Lessons from the Chars Livelihoods Programme, Bangladesh (2004-2010)

Kate Conroy
Ric Goodman
Stuart Kenward


The Chars Livelihoods Programme Phase One (CLP1) was a Department for International Development (DFID) funded integrated rural livelihoods development programme, running from early 2004 to early 2010 in north-west Bangladesh. Based on the remote River Jamuna sand islands (chars) of five Bangladeshi districts on 55,000 extreme poor households Millennium Development Goals, CLP1’s objective was to halve extreme poverty in the riverine areas of Bangladesh by 2015. The CLP1 pathway aimed to increase the income and wealth of extreme poor households through a number of mutually re-enforcing activities. At CLP1’s heart was “asset transfer”: a one-off significant productive asset grant to participant households. Supporting this transfer were interventions targeted at the household level: basic infrastructure improvements to mitigate against environmental vulnerability and improve household sanitation facilities and access to clean drinking water; homestead garden inputs to increase household food security; social development education to raise social and human capital, and improve social cohesion; cash stipends to buoy consumption and support the asset transfer; and enterprise activities to boost household level income earning opportunities. In addition, large pilots were undertaken in the health, nutrition, education and community based savings areas. Significant employment opportunities were also provided during relatively food insecure seasons for participant households and the wider community through various public cash-for-work schemes. As CLP1 has drawn to a close, it is time to review and assess its approach. Does the CLP1 model work, and in what circumstances? What lessons can be drawn for other extreme poverty reduction programmes? The following paper attempts to answer these questions and is based on six years of CLP1’s implementation experience, activities and empirical evidence.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


1 Lessons from the Chars Livlihoods Programme PDF 233.5 KB

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