Initiative for Social and Economic Empowerment (I’SEE):
Initiative for Social and Economic Empowerment (I’SEE) project is an ongoing project of Faith in Action implementing in 5 Union (Dhankhali, Borobogi, Tiakhali, Nishan Baria, and Sonakata) under two Upazila (Taltoli, Barguna district & Kolapara, Patuakhali district) since September 2020. The project is a continuation of the former Building Resilient Community on Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction through livelihood Development (BRC) which was supported by the Baptist Global Response since July 2017. Due to the financial crisis, change in their strategic direction to an overall operation and priorities, Baptist Global Response reported their inability to continue support to the project. To continue the project to transform the life of the poor and the climate change, vulnerable people Faith in Action was looking for a new donor, and considering the vulnerability of the people from the coastal area Entrust Foundation Australia come with their support from September 2020 to continue the project initially for one year with the aim for a long-term partnership.
Project Goal: The project intends to gather people in SHG (Self Help Group) for saving money to generate capital and invest in Small businesses to earn additional income for better family living.
- 1. Community Leadership Development: There is a gender-balanced participatory leadership structure is in place in PI and is working together for a transforming community.
- 2. Community Economic Development: SHGs, Village Development Foundation (VDF) gained savings habits that established a strong financial base to invest individually and collectively in business for the creation of self-employment and entrepreneurship.
- 3. Linkage and Advocacy: Community people have easy access into the government resource base, duty bearers are cooperative and providing services, children, adolescent, persons with disability and elderly people’s rights has been established.
Major Achievements: The project has already formed 72 SHG and 8 VDF with 1384 women and men. Of the total SHG 47 are female and 26 are male groups. The total savings deposit of these groups is BDT 2,055,700. Till February 2021 total of 496 SHG members have borrowed BDT 2,397,200 from their savings and have invested in different small-scale income-generating activities like Chicken and Duck rearing, Paddy cultivation, Tailoring, Fish cultivation, and various small business. Besides regular activities, the project creates awareness on Child Rights, Child marriage, Rights for the Person with Disability, Gender-based violence, etc, The project also creates a mass awareness against COVID-19 during the pandemic situation. The project has established a strong linkage with the 2 Upazila health complex and Community clinic which created better access for the SHG members. National and International days have been observed in the community like women's day, national disaster day, Independence Day, with the participation of govt. officials, UP leaders, and SHG members which also helped to build good relations among all the stakeholders. The project has trained its staff on SHG & VDF approach. They are now more competent to deliver the best help to the community. The project is very active in advocacy and lobbying for the poor so that they may have access to the government safety net. People are gradually enjoying the benefits from the local government offices.