Poverty Outreach and BRAC's Microfinance Interventions: Programme Impact and Sustainability
This paper examines Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee’s (BRAC’s) response to poverty in Bangladesh. It studies how BRAC adapted specific programs to embrace new information about client needs and behavior. The paper discusses impact assessment studies of Rural Development Programme (RDP), BRAC’s poverty alleviation program in rural areas.
Poverty analysis of members and non-members of BRAC identified a sub-set of the poor who were not gaining access to financial services, although BRAC’s targeting has been reasonably effective. So BRAC developed a new program RDP, targeting the extremely poor. The paper underlines the importance of understanding poverty conditions in program areas and developing products that are relevant to specific conditions and experiences of poverty. Findings indicate that:
- Poor people are not a homogeneous group;
- Poverty declined at an annual rate of 1.75% among RDP member households, whereas poverty among non-RDP comparison households increased;
- RDP made significant contributions to the upward mobility of the poor.
The paper demonstrates that necessary steps should be taken to strengthen households’ physical asset base and provide rural infrastructure in order to make significant changes in the lives of the poor.