Let’s make Bangladesh poverty-free

Speakers stress the need for inclusive development of the marginalized people at PKSF discussion program with UP Chairmen of ENRICH Unions

A daylong discussion program was held to exchange views with the Chairmen of 200 Unions where Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is implementing its flagship program ‘Enhancing Resources and Increasing Capacities of Poor Households towards Elimination of their Poverty (ENRICH)’. Social Welfare Minister Mr Rashed Khan Menon, MP, was the Chief Guest of the closing session of the program held at PKSF Bhaban in Dhaka while Mr Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, was the Special Guest. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad chaired the event and Mr Md Abdul Karim, Managing Director of PKSF, delivered the welcome remarks.

The Social Welfare Minister said that the government is working relentlessly for the welfare of the marginalized people. A proposal has been made to increase safety net allowances, including those of the elderly and widows, by 10 percent and an initiative has been taken to introduce widow allowance in the urban areas. Mr Rashed Khan Menon praised ENRICH’s role in sustainable poverty alleviation and establishing human dignity. “Although many would disagree, I think there is no conflict between ‘rights’ and ‘development’ and PKSF’s ENRICH program is a perfect example of that.”

Terming poverty reduction as one of the greatest achievements of Bangladesh in recent times, State Minister Mr Shahriar Alam said there still are 11-12 percent ultra-poor people in the country and the government, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, is determined to bring down this rate close to zero. He expressed his hope that PKSF and its Partner Organizations would play an important role in this journey.

Eminent economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, also the Chairman of PKSF, said all the activities under ENRICH have been designed in light of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of Bangladesh, and the Vision 2021, all of which attach special emphasis to removing inequality, deprivation and poverty from the country and establishing human dignity for all. PKSF will play a vital role in the government’s strive for sustainable development in Bangladesh, added Dr QK Ahmad. “The goal is common – to eliminate poverty from the country forever, and to establish Bangladesh in a more dignified position in the world.”

In the welcome speech, PKSF Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim said PKSF has stepped beyond the limited scope of microcredit and now ensures appropriate financing, necessary training, and technological and marketing support in all its programs. Describing ENRICH as a groundbreaking model of poverty alleviation and beyond-poverty sustainable development, the former Principal Secretary also said the program is implementing a range of activities to ensure financial and social inclusion of the marginalized people, and to establish human dignity for all.

Dr Md Jashim Uddin, Deputy Managing Director (Administration) of PKSF, gave the vote of thanks to end the program. He expressed his hope that PKSF will continue to receive all necessary cooperation from the government’s central level to the grassroots in implementing its programs including ENRICH.  

Earlier on the day, PKSF Chairman and high officials exchanged views with the Chairmen of 200 Unions under ENRICH coverage and Executive Directors of 116 Partner Organizations that are implementing the PKSF flagship program. In this session, Dr Md Jashim Uddin, DMD of PKSF, gave a presentation titled ‘ENRICH Program: Achievement and Experience’.

Since 2010, PKSF has been implementing the ENRICH program, a brainchild of Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, for the inclusive human-centric development of the poor. Currently, the program is being implemented in 200 Unions of 64 districts.