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How do safety nets contribute to social inclusion in Bangladesh? Evidence from the Chars Livelihoods Project and the Vulnerable Group Development programme

Research report

Written by Rebecca Holmes, Jessica Hagen-Zanker

Research report

Social safety nets are well-established poverty reduction tools in Bangladesh, and attention has recently turned to their role in addressing gender and social inclusion aspects of development (GoB, 2013). The aim of this study was to examine the ways in which social protection can contribute to social inclusion in Bangladesh, drawing on two case studies which target poor and socially excluded households: the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) targeting women in the geographically remote char areas; and the Income Generating Vulnerable Group Development (IGVGD – referred to as VGD in the remainder of the report) programme, targeting ethnic minority women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The study focused on the following four research questions:

1.     What is the potential for social safety net programmes to enhance livelihood opportunities for socially excluded individuals?

2.     To what extent can safety net programmes improve socially excluded households’ food security?

3.     Do social safety net programmes strengthen participation in the community and social relations for the socially excluded?

4.     What is the role of social safety nets in strengthening state–society relations for the excluded, including changes in participation in decision-making forums and perceptions of the government?

Omar Faruque Siddiki, Rebecca Holmes, Ferdous Jahan, Fahim Subhan Chowdhury and Jessica Hagen-Zanker