"I worked in India and Pakistan also (but) Bangladesh is very bright and so innovative . . . I think this is very delightful and self-reliant programme supported by the government."
JICA's Goto Hisashi supplemented the World Bank official saying, "It will play a very significant role to eradicate poverty in Bangladesh".
The project was launched during the previous tenure of the Awami League government but was kept abandoned during the subsequent BNP-Jamaat regime. The programme has been re-launched by the incumbent government.
The programme aims at making families in rural areas self reliant through empowerment, motivation, proper training, adequate and need-based micro-credit, material support, group formation and capital generation.
Shizuka Nakano of Japan Overseas Corporation Volunteer (JOCV), who is working for Rural Community Development project of JICA in Dhaka office said, "I am really happy over the performance of Bangladeshi people working with the project." State minister for local government Jahangir Kabir Nanak was with the donors representatives when they talked to the stakeholders and beneficiaries of Churain Unnyan Samity of 'the Ekti Bari Ekti Khama Project'. One of the beneficiaries, Rokeya Begum, 46, told the visitors that she took Taka 10,000 from the Samity to cultivate vegetables and said "I will return the money within four months". She said it is an affordable loan, which I got as a member of the Samity without collateral against loan. About 50 lakh people belonging to 10.38 lakh poor families are the beneficiaries of 'Ekti Bari, Ekti Khamar' project while the government so far sanctioned over Taka 350 crore. "Being a member of the 'Churain Gram Unnayan Samity' I took Tk 10,000 loan for repairing my damaged vehicle (battery-run three-wheelers) . I returned the money after three months," Tavir Ahmed, the driver of three-wheelers' told BSS. Asked about the interest system he said, "It's not like other NGOs (non- government organizations) like Grameen Bank and others. I paid only Taka 80 as monthly interest against the loan."
With Taka 1492 crore budget, the Rural Development and Cooperative Division under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD) launched the 'Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar' project with the target of changing the lot of rural people on October 16, 2011.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier started the project during her 1996-2001 tenure but BNP-Jamaat government later abandoned it, the state minister of local government Jahngir Kabir Nanak told the state-run news agency. He said this project is being implemented in some 17,388 villages in 483 Upazilas of 64 districts of the country.
"We expect a tremendous success in the efforts for development of rural people's lifestyle through the implementation of the project," the minister hoped.