More than 1.2 lakh women have been empowered in the country's char, haor, and coastal regions under Oxfam's Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REE-CALL) programme, authorities concerned said at an event on Monday.
The REE-CALL programme, which is being implemented by Oxfam in Bangladesh in association with 14 implementing partners, reached out to 1,20,802 people, mostly women, directly and another 2,86,060 indirectly in char, haor, and coastal areas of 13 districts till this March after it was launched in October 2017, they said.
This project – scheduled to end in July this year – is a continuation of Oxfam's innovative response to the needs of climate-vulnerable communities, with emphasis on economic justice, women's empowerment, climate action, disaster risk reduction, and active citizenship and knowledge management.
At Monday's event, held at Cirdap auditorium in the capital to share the outcomes of the REE-CALL programme with relevant government officials, duty bearers, researchers, leaders of community-based organisations (CBOs), civil society organisations, private sector actors, and other actors concerned, Oxfam Bangladesh Rural Manager Kazi Rabeya Ame gave a brief on the project.
The project covers 44 unions in 18 upazilas, she said, adding that the average monthly income of the beneficiaries was Tk7,734 before the start of the project, which has now increased to TK12,981.
Before the initiation of the project, 13% of the households had access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene – WASH, but now 98.7% of the households have access to safe drinking water and 83.2% have improved latrines.
In addition, the rate of sustainable disaster management practices among the beneficiaries has climbed to 87.8% from 10%, Rabeya maintained.
Some 1,535 women leaders of 435 CBOs are now representing their community at the local government standing committee e.g. education, disaster management, and health, while 12,370 people have received training on disability inclusion under the project, she added.
Addressing the programme as chief guest, Swapan Bhattacharjee, state minister for rural development and cooperative, said, "The purpose of Oxfam's REE-CALL programme is aligned with the mission of our prime minister who is working to empower women and create resilience among the vulnerable communities in different parts of Bangladesh."
He appreciated Oxfam for taking such projects forward.
Ashish Damle, country director of Oxfam in Bangladesh, said Oxfam started working in Bangladesh's development right after the Liberation War and assisted in providing aid, reconstruction, and other work.
"There are many proud moments and we want to carry forward the legacy of our work," he said.