Disability and social protection employment initiatives in Bangladesh

Can empathy end poverty?

The Old-age Allowance Programme of Bangladesh was introduced in 1998 to provide a means-tested monthly cash payment to older people to help reduce their vulnerabilities and income insecurity. The programme was created and promoted by the government and is financed from the government’s revenue budget. Between 1998 and 2012 the number of beneficiaries increased more than sixfold, the monthly allowance rate threefold, the budget allocation more than 18-fold, and its share of gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 0.02 per cent to 0.13 per cent.

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This study examines the efficacy of Bangladesh’s Maternity Allowance Program (MAP), a monthly cash transfer to rural mothers for the promotion of maternal health. Using primary data, the analysis assesses the impact of the MAP on its four objectives: increasing breastfeeding rates, increasing maternity service uptake, enhancing nutrition, and promoting safe infant upbringing. The quantitative component of the study uses propensity score matching.

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It is widely recognised that the poor lack adequate capacity to participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy. This is particularly true for the poorest of the poor among the poor. As a matter of fact, significant constraints that impede the ability of the poor to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the mainstream economy also severely limit their ability to escape the clutches of poverty. As is known, in the recent past, successive governments in Bangladesh has put poverty alleviation at the core of their development efforts.

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