ENRICH


Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of Poor Households

towards

Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH)

 

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Bangladesh has come a long way since it inherited a war-ravaged economy. It is now acclaimed as a star performer in relation to poverty reduction, child mortality reduction, infant mortality reduction, achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education, and meeting certain other targets under deferent MDGs, while remaining on course for several others. Foreign remittance and foreign exchange reserve have reached record levels, respectively over US$15 billion annually and over US$25 billion as of 25 June 2015. Bangladesh is now the second largest exporter of readymade garments; and ICT has already penetrated notably throughout the country. The country has been identified as one of the next eleven (which include, among others, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam), poised for development miracle after BRICS (Brazil, India, China and South Africa). Despite persisting political unrest, Bangladesh has achieved enviable socio-economic progress. Indeed, over the past six years, Bangladesh has been able to achieve an average annual GDP growth rate of over 6%, despite a global financial meltdown followed by a global recession starting in 2008. The country now produces enough foodgrains to meet the requirements of all citizens. Moreover, very recently, Bangladesh has joined the ranks of rice exporting countries, albeit initially in a small way. These results have been achieved under a conducive macro policy and institutional framework provided by the government. This has been particularly so over the past several years. Hard work of the farmers, agricultural workers, garment workers, other workers, entrepreneurs and business people, Bangladeshis working abroad and sending back remittances, and all others in different fields of work has contributed towards the highly acclaimed socio-economic successes achieved.

One of the important aspects of Bangladesh’s recent economic progress and strength is a flourishing rural economy, covering both agricultural and non-agricultural activities including enterprise development.

The Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is helping consolidate the gains and further accelerate poverty reduction, leading to sustained beyond-poverty development, particularly through a programme initiated in 2010: ‘Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of the Poor Households Towards Elimination of their Poverty’ (ENRICH).

Poverty reduction under the ENRICH is not only with reference to the cost of basic needs-based poverty line. It takes into account multiple dimensions of poverty, including a wide range of economic, social, and environmental indicators; and addresses them in an integrated fashion. The concept, key components, and methods of implementation of the ENRICH are briefly discussed in this paper.

The PKSF and Its Mandate

It may be noted that the PKSF is a public sector foundation established by the Government of Bangladesh in 1990 as a not-for-profit organization. The overall mandate of the PKSF may be succinctly put as: sustainable poverty reduction and socio-economic progress through sustainable employment generation and people’s capability development. In terms of its action framework, credit is indeed mentioned as a tool side by side with a number of non-financial services including education, training, health services, and livelihood interventions, in the PKSF’s Memorandum of Association. But, there is no mention at all of microcredit. Perhaps, the intention has been to provide credit, as appropriate (micro or larger) along with other services. This is certainly my interpretation. Yet, given the dominant thinking at the time it was established, the PKSF was in practice turned into a funding source for microcredit alone. Not only that the PKSF’s overall mandate was ignored, the pathway followed has been of little avail, be it in relation to poverty reduction or significant positive impact on income or social well-being of the micro borrowers. Research findings of, for example, Ahmad (ed., 2007) and Zohir (2010) show that meaningful poverty reduction is not possible through microcredit alone.

To be sure, microcredit is a small amount of money lent for a year and repayable in weekly installments. These studies indicate that less than 10% of microcredit-taking poor households could rise above poverty line in Bangladesh. Of the others, there are also those whose income has surely increased somewhat, but remained below the poverty line income. Moreover, other aspects of human development have generally been kept out of direct focus of microcredit. Policy Bulletin dated February 2015 of J-PAL and IPA reports that seven randomized evaluations conducted in seven countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Mexico, Mongolia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Philippines) from four continents have found little positive impact of microcredit. None of the seven studies has found a significant positive impact of microcrdit on average household income of the borrowers. Also, no evidence has been found that access to microcredit has had much positive effect on women’s empowerment or investment in children’s education. It has been found, though, that access to microcredit has given the borrowers some freedom to choose what business to pursue. But, expanded access to credit has been found to allow the borrowers some flexibility in terms of undertaking more potential income earning activities. But, up until 2009, the PKSF, despite introduction of some diversifications in its microcredit activities and some innovations in its approach, essentially remained a source of funding for the Partner Organizations (POs) to provide microcredit. Its overall mandate remained by and large ignored. It may be noted that the PKSF does not work directly with the people. It implements action programmes through carefully selected NGOs, called Partner Organizations (POs).

The ENRICH

After taking over as chairman of PKSF in November 2009, I became deeply concerned about things as they stood and started thinking about formulating an approach that will be in keeping with the PKSF’s overall mandate and ensure sustainable poverty reduction and human development. In fact, the idea of household-based total development by assigning one union (the lowest administrative unit of the government) to one PO crossed my mind as I lay in a hospital bed after a surgery in the first week of February 2010. The idea of one PO-one Union has since flourished into what has come to be known as the ENRICH. When, on return from the hospital, I broached the idea with the senior officials of the PKSF and gave them an outline as to how may it be shaped and implemented, they found it a worthwhile, even an exciting idea. The enthusiasm and dedication with which they worked out the details, regularly discussing various aspects with me, filled me with hope and expectation as we embarked on this path. In the meantime, extensive consultations were held with POs and experts on rural development, as the proposal was being prepared.

Within a few months, the proposal was approved by the PKSF Governing Body and we were implementing the ENRICH in 21 unions initially. Since then, a period of four years and a half has passed and as the ENRICH has been expanded to cover other unions (the total, with full ENRICH activities, is now 43), my conviction has become firmer. Encouraged by the successes achieved, the ENRICH has since been extended to another 107 unions. However, only five components are initially being implemented in these unions: education, skill training, primary healthcare services, improved nutrition, and awareness building relating to social evils and injustices. The other components of the ENRICH are expected to follow in these unions in the course of time. The overall vision that underpins the ENRICH is to work with the poor, to create an enabling environment for them to achieve a humanly dignified living standard and enjoy universal human rights. The poor who join the ENRICH are in fact partners in the process; and the PKSF and the POs work with those people, not for them. The ENRICH is not about one project here and another there. It is an integrated approach and truly a paradigm shift.

Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Tagore has underlined in many of his writings that the recipients of services must be brought into partnership, imbibed with the feeling that they deserve what is given to them. Those who are providing various services, for which they are compensated, must consider themselves as performing their duties in a partnership characterized by human ideals. The ENRICH is an endeavour aimed at restoring people’s confidence unto themselves and flowering of their innate abilities to achieve a life of human dignity and freedom. Hence, by the manner in which it works, the ENRICH is helping the people’s inherent abilities to flourish so that they are endowed with the key to their progress to that end. With renewed confidence and hope, the poor, then, move ahead and break free from the shackles of multidimensional poverty and indignity and achieve living standards characterized by human freedom and dignity, along with material uplift. The ENRICH facilitates the best utilization of the existing capabilities and resources of the poor households and, at the same time, supports enhancement of their capabilities and resource-base in order to enable them to move ahead steadily.

In so doing it seeks to advance the causes of the participants, resolve the bottlenecks faced by them, and create opportunities and facilities for them to internalize the lessons learnt from the experiences gathered along the way, introduce innovations, take

calculated risks, and always push the boundaries of achievements. Under this new approach, the integrated action programme includes the key components of education, skill training, technology, information, health services, food security and nutrition, awareness raising, facilitating access to asset, social capital formation, infrastructure, climate change adaptation, insurance services, market linkages and so on, along with appropriate levels of funding for the ENRICH participants to implement their planned socio-economic and environmental protection related activities. As a matter of fact, education and health services are now essential elements of all PKSF supported programmes, in addition to ENRICH. Also, skill training, enhanced financing up to Bangladesh Taka (BDT) one million (US$12,820) if found appropriate, encouraging and facilitating use of improved technologies, promoting innovations, and marketing assistance are now, taking cue from the ENRICH, increasingly being introduced in all PKSF supported programmes implemented by the POs. In other words, enterprise development is encouraged and supported in all PKSF programmes, including the ENRICH. This is done, while poverty reduction remains the focus for poverty-stricken families, through increased self and wage employment generation. The ENRICH is implemented in each selected union by the PKSF, the selected PO, the union parishad, and the people joining the programme (members) in a unique kind of partnership, that specifies differentiated responsibilities for the partners. Broadly, the PKSF provides the framework, guidelines, and finances; designs and supports non-financial services; and monitors progress. The PO implements the programme by working with the households included in the ENRICH. The households play a key role in planning what they do in terms of socio-economic activities, in consultation with the PO and, at times, PKSF representatives.

The union parishad plays an advisory role and facilitates the work as and when necessary. The underlying dynamics of the ENRICH are that the PKSF, the PO, the union parishad and other concerned service providers work with the people joining the programme to empower them to take charge of their own destiny. Hence, it is important that the people themselves are fully committed to shaping their own future. Awareness-raising among the people is, therefore, an important ENRICH-activity to help the people make that commitment and work accordingly. Indeed, the fundamental principles underpinning the ENRICH include: freedom from all ‘un-freedoms’, freedom of choice, equity, inclusiveness, human rights, solidarity, respect for nature, shared vision and responsibility, and access to adequate financial and necessary non-financial services and facilities. The programme is human being-centric and flexible. Innovations and appropriate modifications, based on differing ground realities, relevant experiences, and new ideas, are encouraged. Human dignity of everybody is the ultimate goal.

Selection of Unions and Baseline Survey

The unions selected are relatively backward ones in various parts of the country. Both the POs and the unions have been selected on the basis of set criteria. Once a union has been selected, two things are done to start with. A resource mapping exercise is conducted in each selected union to identify the existing resources and current development interventions. The mapping is expected to capture: existing infrastructure related to health care, educational institutions, transport infrastructure, and markets/haats/bazaars; availability of electricity; government offices, and their development programmes; NGOs/MFIs and their programmes; donor-assisted projects and activities being implemented and the respective implementing agencies; specific economic drivers of the union, which have special impact on socio-economic conditions of the households, if any; special risks/vulnerabilities that characterize the union, if any; and any other special features related to poverty reduction and development, not covered under the above categories. At the same time, a comprehensive household survey is conducted, covering all households of the union, regardless of their socio-economic status.

It covers salient features of the households, including the number of earning and non-earning members, school age and school going boys and girls, asset base, indebtedness, current sources of household income, level of education of the household members, residential status, etc. The survey is conducted through a formatted questionnaire and the data generated are preserved in a computerized database system for future reference. On the basis of the basic household data and information collected through the survey, all the households of a union are categorized into different groups. Initially, the households are classified by household income. The income categories used are as per Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES), but with some modifications to accommodate different groups of people and various components under the ENRICH. Obviously, the income-based classification is used as the initial indicator of the poverty status of the households.

Selection of Households and Programming of Actions
The ENRICH initially focuses on ultra-poor and poor households, with monthly household incomes of up to BDT5,000 (US$64) and between BDT5,000+ (US$64+) and BDT5,800 (US$74) respectively. Tenuously placed non-poor households are also considered for inclusion. In addition to the focus on the eradication of their poverty, facilities are created and services offered, as and when appropriate, for their beyond poverty progress towards sustainable humanly dignified living. A total of 185,752 (75%) households have been found eligible for ENRICH interventions in the 43 unions selected for full ENRICH implementation (Table 1). The ENRICH activities are broadly at two levels: household and community.

Armed with the data generated through the household survey, the ENRICH officials sit with the members of each household included in the programme to prepare a household plan, identifying the specific constraints the household faces, the specific expectations the members espouse, and the support the household needs to overcome the constraints and fulfill the expectations. The broad areas include: primary healthcare services for the members of the household, education of children, skill training, financial services to facilitate sustainable income generating activities (IGA), livelihood improvement, food security and nutrition, asset creation and asset utilization, and social awareness. The household-specific planning exercise is carried out within the overall ENRICH framework, giving due importance to the views of the members of the household. In addition, each household benefits from the generic actions undertaken within the framework of ENRICH. Under community-level interventions, the problems faced by a community in the union or, indeed, by the whole union are identified, which may include: need for tube-wells and sanitary latrines at public places (schools, colleges, mosques, temples, library, etc.), problems relating to access to clean drinking water, need for small bridges and culverts for public use, lack of community awareness or capacity for immediate response to natural disasters, and so on. The ENRICH by itself does not address such problems in all cases. It does whatever is within its means, and sensitizes and canvasses the appropriate service providers for action concerning relevant activities; and usually that works.

Management and Funding

The PKSF has established a separate unit called the ENRICH Unit, which is located at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka,with responsibility for implementing and monitoring the ENRICH programme. A Programme and Research Implementation Committee (PRIC) has been established to provide necessary support towards implementation of the ENRICH. The PKSF Governing Body is regularly kept informed about the progress of the ENRICH, as also about the progress of all other PKSF supported programmes and activities. A team of efficient personnel is engaged in carrying out the various functions to ensure that the ENRICH fulfils its mission towards achieving its vision. The funding from the PKSF for each ENRICH union is packaged to include the other ongoing activities along with the ENRICH components. A set of special mechanisms has been devised, in consultation with the POs, for disbursing, recording, and reporting purposes that ensures transparency of transactions as well as timely release and efficient use of funds. While the PKSF mobilizes most of the required funding for ENRICH implementation, the POs also make some contribution in terms of taking care of a portion of the field level operational cost, using money out of the surplus generated through their PKSF supported microfinance and related activities. The government also provides some funding towards implementation of the ENRICH. The ENRICH works as closely as possible with government institutions at the local level such as those concerned with health and education, which has been found to be mutually beneficial in terms of effectiveness of delivery of services. As a result, people are more effectively served. Also, in the context of health services, linkages are established with hospitals, clinics, as well as with organizations and individuals engaged in motivational activities. Similarly, linkages are also established, wherever useful and possible, with community-based organizations (CBOs) and national and international NGOs, which offer various services to people in the concerned areas, such as health, education, and support for income generating activities.

Coordinating ENRICH activities with similar activities of such organizations can and does help minimize overlapping and improve utilization of available resources. Also, market linkages are promoted in appropriate cases. Ward committees and ward centres are established to make the development process more sustainable and fruitful by giving responsibility to the local people. A ward committee of 11 members is formed to oversee the activities conducted by the ENRICH, keep track of their economic and social impacts, and monitor the outcomes of such activities as education centres, primary community health services, and other activities in the particular ward. The particular ward member of the union parishad in question is the president of this committee. The tenure of this committee is two years and it holds monthly meetings, provides reports, and suggests solutions of any problems that may be detected. Union level review meetings are held every six months with the union parishad chairman in the chair and participated by chairmen and members of all ward committees in the union. Given that the processes are strengthening and impacts blossoming in relation to the purposes of the ENRICH, it can be said with a good deal of confidence that local socio-economic and governance dynamics will flourish enough for the ENRICH as a full-fledged programme to exit from a union in 5-7 years. The variation in time for the exit would relate to the initial conditions of the unions. Keeping this perspective on exit in consideration, the ENRICH management, funding and other services are being adjusted from time to time on the basis of the changing realities on the ground.

Key ENRICH Components
It is in order to give here some details regarding some of the key ENRICH components, implemented within an integrated framework. This will give a fairly clear idea as to what ENRICH is, what it purports to achieve, and how has it been performing so far.

a. Health
The ENRICH health component is designed to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services to all households in the selected unions. Each household is visited at least once a month to collect health related information about all its members. The collected information and data are recorded in the household health-card and also entered into a computer database established for the purpose. The health assistants arrange satellite clinics every week, which are attended by MBBS doctors. Health camps (vision, dental, heart, diabetes, etc) are also organized under the ENRICH as and when required, with specialist doctors attending. In these camps, patients with serious ailments are referred to different public and private hospitals and clinics where their treatment is arranged free of cost or at a nominal cost. The ENRICH has also launched a deworming campaign, giving away free medicine to 100% of its registered households, covering all household members above 5 years of age. Under the ENRICH, the health component is being implemented in all 150 unions. There are now 261 health assistants and 1,751 health workers. A total of 2,87,691 households have acquired health cards up to December 2015. So far, 7,22,039 and 5,06,412 patients have been treated in static and satellite clinics respectively, and 872 health camps have been conducted treating 1,63,593 patients and performing cataract operation on 6,813 persons. A sanitation component to ensure 100 percent safe sanitation has been initiated under the ENRICH. So far, sanitary latrines have been installed in all homes in 11 unions. The same will be ensured in other ENRICH unions in phases. Other aspects of sanitation are also being promoted in all the ENRICH unions.

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b. Cooking Stoves and Solar Power, which also have Positive Health Impacts
Distribution of a health and environment-friendly improved cooking stove, commonly known as bandhu chula, is another distinctive initiative under the ENRICH. The households are encouraged and facilitated to replace conventional cooking methods with bandhu chula. It substantially reduces the risk of smoke-re lated health hazards and exposure to fire for women who cook for the family. Under this initiative, cooking stoves are supplied to the households at substantially reduced prices. As of December 2015, a total of 51,181 bandhu chulas have been distributed in 144 ENRICH unions. Solar lanterns are being distributed to ENRICH households, particularly for children to use while studying at night. Solar home systems are being installed in households in those areas of the ENRICH unions where grid power supply is not available. This reduces the risk of smoke-related health hazards and fire related accidents and facilitates access of households to light at night. Under this initiative, the POs collect solar home systems from different manufacturers and distribute them to the households at reduced prices. A total of 86,997 solar home systems have been distributed up to December 2015 in 144 ENRICH unions.

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c. Education
The ENRICH education component primarily seeks to address the problem of drop-out of children from primary level education. This is implemented in all 144 unions. Under this component, at least students up to Class 2 are helped in these centres to prepare the next day’s tasks, given that there are no facilities and educational support for many students at their homes. Gradually, these centres will accommodate students up to Class 5. These education centres take special care of students who are generally slow learners and need the extra help and time to grasp material taught at school. Teachers are locally recruited. Anyone less than 35 years of age with a minimum of SSC level education is prima facie qualified to be a teacher; most of the teachers are female. These education centres also monitor if the children attending the centres go to their schools regularly. In 4,166 afternoon education centres in 144 unions, 4,166 teachers are assisting 1,16,221 students (girls and boys), as of December 2015. The dropout rate among these students, as they move up to Class 3, has come down to less than 1%, while it is about 5% nationwide. In addition, the PKSF also provides scholarships from its Programme Support Fund (PSF). This scholarship component is managed by the ENRICH Unit. Meritorious children of poor parents involved in different programmes of the PKSF, who, after successfully completing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) level, are studying for Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) or are at a higher level are eligible for this scholarship. This scholarship programme was initiated in 2012 and, up to 2015, a total of 3,103 students have been awarded scholarships (182 in 2012, 433 in 2013, 950 in 2014, and 1,038 in 2015). Out of these 3,103 scholarship recipients, 1,400 are girls and 1,703 boys.

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d. Campaigns
Campaigns against social evils such as child marriage, child labour, dowry, violence against women. Trafficking of women and children etc. are a major thrust area under ENRICH. The campaigns are conducted using specially prepared posters, booklets, songs, video clips, and group meetings. The ENRICH also promotes women’s rights. For instance, it is consciously and purposefully sought to ensure that women are in control or are major partners in the management of financial and other support provided to them. There is already a marked improvement in this regard in the 43 (Phase 1) ENRICH unions.

e. Special Credit Services

Three types of special credit services have been designed for the ENRICH households: Income Generating Activities Loan (IGAL), Livelihood Improvement Loan (LIL), and Asset Creation Loan (ACL).

All the three credit services can be accessed simultaneously by a household. Under IGAL, eligible household members can take loan for more than one activity and for expansion of an activity to increase their income. In this context, economic activities with potential for productivity growth are selected. Training for skill development and upgrading, marketing assistance, and other necessary services are now routinely provided. As of now the ceiling of this loan is BDT one million (US$12,820) and the maximum service charge is 25% on a declining balance mathod. The LIL is made available for the purchase of necessary equipment and taking other actions related to livelihood improvement including defraying expenses for social functions such as the marriage of a daughter or a son. In this case, the ceiling for a household is BDT10,000 (US$128) and the interest rate payable is 8% (on the basis of declining balance method). The ACL is designed to assist a household in acquiring any kind of productive asset. The ACL ceiling for a household is BDT 30,000 (US$385) and the interest rate payable is 8% (on the basis of declining balance method). Up to June 2015, a total of BDT 7,141.60 million (US$91.56 million) has been disbursed under these three loan schemes in 43 ENRICH unions. Up to then, some 65,014 individuals received these credit services and a total of 83,778 individuals had access to savings services.

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f. Special Saving Scheme
Saving is one of the methods of capital formation for a household. An asset base is important for a household to lift itself from poverty. Therefore, a special savings scheme has been designed under the ENRICH for the ultra-poor households. From among them, female-headed households and households with disabled members are particularly eligible to join this scheme. Such a household is advised to open a bank account and deposit some money (at least BDT100=US$1.28) into it per month for two years. The amount saved is matched by the PKSF, in terms of grant, at the end of two years to a maximum of BDT20,000 (US$256) on the condition that the total amount will be used to acquire an asset (e.g. land, farm, animals, skill upgrading of household members etc.) in consultation with the concerned PO and the PKSF. Such an asset base is likely to help the concerned households to move towards a better and sustainable socio-economic future. As of December 2015, 2,803 members of 35 POs, implementing the ENRICH in Phase 1 unions, have been selected under this savings scheme and, out of them, 2,503 members have already opened savings accounts for this purpose. Moreover, up to December 2015, 255 members in 16 (Phase 1) unions have been given a total grant of BDT 5.44 million (US$69.74 thousand) under this savings scheme.

g. Cultivation of Highly Prospective Commodities
The vegetable cultivation component encourages and helps small and marginal farmers in all ENRICH unions to cultivate vegetables of various kinds in accordance with local cropping patterns and cropping seasons during the year in homesteads and elsewhere subject to availability of land. In the financial year 2013-14, seeds or saplings worth a total of BDT10 million (US$128,200) have been distributed to 50,000 households. Every household is given seeds and saplings of a minimum of five different varieties worth BDT200 (US$2.56). Vegetables are produced for both home consumption and sale of the surplus for increasing household income, when produced on a small scale. Also, larger-scale market-oriented production is also encouraged and facilitated. Medicinal plant cultivation is one of the innovative actions under the ENRICH, along with various other IGAs. A household can earn up to BDT2,500 (US$32) per month by cultivating about 1,200 ‘bashok’ plants on 10 decimals of marginal lands. The life span of the plant can be up to 20 years. An initiative has been undertaken to promote the cultivation of medicinal plants, primarily bashok, in the home yards of the ENRICH households as well as on any fallow land they have access to, both as a means of increasing household income and for offering supplies of the raw material to local pharmaceutical industries. It has been found that the domestic medical companies import a huge amount of bashok leaves every year. To the extent domestic production of bashok leaves meets the domestic demand for it, foreign exchange spent in importing it will be saved. In general, however, livestock (cows, goats) and poultry rearing and fish culture are supported by extending necessary financing and ensuring proper feed, environment, and health services, as per the interest in and commitment to such activities expressed by the members of the households under ENRICH. Cultivation of rice and other commodities and planting of fruit and other trees are also supported, as appropriate.

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h. Climate Change
A major emphasis is given to awareness raising regarding climate change and its impacts. A book has been published by the PKSF in Bangla and widely distributed for the purpose. In addition, other methods such as group discussions and interactions with households are used to that end. Some adaptation activities such as raising the plinths of houses and planting of trees and bushes for protection of houses from strong winds and also some mitigation activities such as installation of solar home-system and the use of improved cooking stoves are encouraged and facilitated. Other climate actions that the ENRICH can help implement at the local spaces are being looked into.

i. Social Capital Formation

In relation to social capital formation under the ENRICH, the process begins from the household. All members of a household are encouraged and facilitated to work in conjunction, while each member performs their specific responsibilities. Children, aged people, pregnant and lactating mothers, and the sick are given due attention, as should usually be the case in a family, but also as encouraged and facilitated under the ENRICH.

Members of the community are encouraged to meet and socialize in ENRICH centres or elsewhere and undertake joint activities for common good. The ENRICH tries to work in coordination with other service providers, both government and non-governmental institutions, in the particular unions, wherever possible.

Liaison is maintained with local people from all walks of life to help create a conducive local atmosphere for promoting the well being and welfare of all.

j. Youth Development and Job Linkage
A youth development component has been specially designed to help the youth inculcate human and social values and generate employment opportunities for them. Efforts are made to create both self-employment and wage or salary-based employment opportunities, and also to raise awareness against social ills (such as violence against women, child marriage, child labour, dowry, and drugs) and in favour of ethics, minority rights, and fairness. Job linkage initiative within the framework of the ENRICH youth development component maintains liaison with different employers and organizes job fairs to assist the young unemployed to find jobs. A total of 1,002 young individuals have, as of December 2015, found employment opportunities in G4S, PRAN-RFL, and The ACME Laboratories Ltd. through this process. The PKSF has developed a training course entitled ‘Right Decision Making Magical Skills’ to help the youth make the best possible and informed decision when looking for jobs. A technical and vocational training policy for the youth has been approved by the ENRICH. Training provided up to December 2015 is as follows. In 31 batches, 501 trainees have received training in 16 trades, which are mobile phone servicing; radio repairing; television & computer servicing; electric house-wiring; fitting and servicing of industrial electric works; servicing of refrigerators & air conditioners; diesel, petrol & generator mechanic; tailoring; plumbing & pipe fittings; computer application; driving; electric fan, motor & transformer rewiring; food & beverage preparation (shef); food and beverage service; apparel merchandising; house keeping; pattern making, cutting & grading. A token contribution of 10% of the total cost of training is borne by the trainee and 90% by the PKSF through the ENRICH as grant. A few other training courses have already been piloted successfully and included in the skill training portfolio under the ENRICH. Demand for such training courses is increasing, which will continue to be catered to.

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k. Sports and Cultural Dimensions
Steps are now afoot to design and promote sports and cultural activities, which are important ingredients of fuller and richer human lives, in educational institutions and other appropriate facilities in all the 150 ENRICH unions.

l. ENRICHed Home
From the ENRICH focus on the best utilization of the existing resources of each household, the concept of establishing ENRICHed homes has emerged. The idea is to utilize the homestead land to the best extent possible through proper planning, given the amount of land available. An ENRICHed home contains house(s) for the members of the family to live in and also to use for relaxing and entertaining. There is a sanitary latrine and, usually, a tube-well for drinking water. Economic activities conducted at the homestead include livestock, poultry, and pigeon rearing; cultivation of vegetables and lemon, fruit, and medicinal trees. There is also either a solar home-system or a biogas plant. An improved cooking stove for cooking without being affected by smoke is used. Environment-friendly fertilizer vermi-compost is produced by the household for own use and/or for sale. Ofcourse, all ENRICHed households are covered by the ENRICH education, health, and all other components. An ENRICHed household consumes, as required, the various items produced at the homestead, and sells the surpluses. An example may be cited that from a tiny homestead of only three decimals, at least Tk.10,000 (US$128) is being earned per month by a family. This gives the family a solid base to improve their living conditions—towards poverty eradication and beyond, as the case may be.

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m. Community Level Action
Under its union/community-level development component, the ENRICH promotes repairing or building culverts, bridges, and sanitary latrines and shallow tube-wells in public places such as schools, colleges, madrasas, mosques, temples, and libraries. Up to December 2015, 1,646 sanitary latrines, 1,316 tube-wells, 35 deep tube-wells and 35 Pond Sand Filters (PSF) have been built or repaired in 43 unions. Also, 748 small culverts/bridges have been constructed. As indicated earlier, when a particular community or union level action is identified, the ENRICH takes appropriate steps to accomplish it if it is within its capacity; otherwise, efforts are made to identify the appropriate service provider and mobilize its support for the purpose.

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Monitoring and Evaluation

The PKSF undertakes periodic evaluation of all its programmes and projects including the ENRICH, in order to identify what works best and what does not. If there are mission drifts or performance slacks, steps are taken to strengthen the positives and introduce corrective actions where necessary to ensure the best possible results. The PKSF uses on-site and off-site monitoring mechanisms to oversee the ENRICH performance. Different indicators related to, for example, access to health, education, sanitary latrines, safe drinking water,

financial services, IGA training etc. are used for monitoring outcomes of the programme. On-site monitoring is carried out by the PKSF’s ENRICH Unit and Operations Department. Senior officials regularly visit the ENRICH unions to assess performance and financial transactions. On these visits, they also conduct direct discussions with the members of the participating households, the chairmen and members of the respective union parishads, and concerned PO officials to obtain feedback relating to the operation of the programme. The insights gained are used to strengthen the programme and modify aspects if found necessary. The off-site monitoring using MIS also helps improve management effectiveness and accountability. Each PO sends monthly MIS reports to the PKSF, from which data are entered into PKSF’s database and analyzed. A component-wise target and achievement report is then generated and presented to the PKSF Management and to its Governing Body. The POs also carry out evaluations of their own, using their internal mechanisms combined with the PKSF guidelines. Currently, an external evaluation is being conducted by the Institute of Microfinance (InM) to provide a thorough report on the ENRICH with respect to both process elements and outcomes. A preliminary presentation by InM shows highly encouraging results in respect of the key components as well as in terms of overall progress relating to both the mission and vision of the ENRICH. Sluggishness found, particularly in two important respects, has been effectively addressed, without waiting until the availability of the final report.

Concluding Remarks
In concluding, it may be confidently stated that the multidimensional integrated approach, that the ENRICH is, has generated a momentum in terms of empowerment of the poor, both women and men, for their uplift towards a humanly dignified living. The ENRICH is a flexible programme and innovations are encouraged for further enriching the ENRICH programme. It appears from the way things are shaping up on the ground that the local socio-economic and governance dynamics will flourish enough in 5-7 years, depending on the initial conditions of the unions, to let the ENRICH to exit, very likely not all at once but in an orderly fashion over a period of time.