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Strengthening women’s ability for productive new opportunities (SWAPNO)

Sheuly Begum’s participated in one of our programmes to boost nutrition and empower women in Bangladesh. Photo: SDG Fund/WFP/GMB Akash

Women’s inequality in Bangladesh

Despite positive strides in the last few years, extreme poverty has been a serious problem in Bangladesh. This is especially so for households headed by widowed, divorced, or abandoned women. Women are often employed in low productivity jobs.

The programme

This SDG Fund programme is led by UNDP, in partnership with ILO, local governments, and private partners. The goal is to assist women from ultra-poor and most vulnerable households to move out of poverty. The programme will be piloted in the Kurigram district in the north west and the coastal Satkhira district—the most affected by natural disasters and climate change. The programme aims to scale-up to 20 districts following implementation in the 2 pilot districts.

The approach

SWAPNO offers a scalable, government-owned model aimed at participants’ lasting exit from poverty. The women will be employed for 18 months in maintaining or rehabilitating important community assets, public works, and community service. The programme:

  • Builds human capital, knowledge, skills, and confidence
  • Provides vocational skills training, job placement, diversified climate change resilient livelihoods options, and social and economic inclusion
  • Encourages saving a portion of wages, issued as a graduation bonus
  • Facilitates linkages with small and medium enterprises and public-private partnerships to hire participant women after the programme ends
  • Integrates social protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
  • Enhances good local governance and develops capacity of local government institutions

SWAPNO is also well aligned with national planning and policy instruments related to employment, poverty reduction, social protection, food security, and women’s empowerment.

Quick facts

Country: Bangladesh
Total programme budget: $4.6 million
% funded by SDG-F: 33%
UN agencies: UNDP and ILO
National partners: Local Government Division, Union Councils, Sub-district Councils, NGOs, local small and medium enterprises, National Institute of Local Government
Duration: December 1, 2014 to September 30, 2017


Joint Programme Document - Bangladesh

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Final Evaluation Joint Programme - Bangladesh

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Final Narrative Report - Bangladesh

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