Poverty alleviation: Bandhan NGO adjudged most cost-effective agency

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 15, 2015

An NGO sponsored by Bandhan, a micro finance organisation, has been adjudged the most cost-effective implementing agency for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-studied (MIT) programme for poverty alleviation.

Abhijit Banerjee, professor of economics at MIT, said that the evaluation of the grant-driven programme targeting the hard-core poor in six countries showed that delivery of the NGO, Bandhan Konnagar, proved to be the “most cost-effective”.

Bandhan could also prove the sustainability of the anti-poverty programme beyond its duration of 18 to 24 months.

MIT also studied such intervention programmes in Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Peru and Honduras. The implementing entities in Honduras and Peru, however, could not deliver the aimed results, Bannerjee said at a video conference.

Scaled up

Bandhan Konnagar, which ran the programme in Murshidabad district in West Bengal among 300 ultra poor households between 2006 and 2008, spent around a total of ₹6 lakh.

Chandra shekhar Ghosh, CMD of Bandhan, said the programme was entirely funded by the World Bank award money that Bandhan got for its work in rural West Bengal.

Ghosh said that Bandhan distributed livestock worth ₹4,500 to the 300 families below the poverty line and paid a daily stipend of ₹21 a day for a year so that they did not sell of their capital asset.

The handholding was also extended to financial literacy and health care. It also deputed one staff for 50 such families for monitoring the programme during its tenure. “At the end of the programme, 94 per cent of the families could generate enough income to be eligible for credit through our microfinance wing,” Ghosh added.

“After 2008, we have scaled up the programme many fold. Currently, we are running the programmed among 32,280 families in six States – West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh,” he said.

Published on May 15, 2015

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