Vulnerable Group Development Program (VGD)
ARS-Bangladesh has signed an instrument of contract with Department of Women and Child Affairs (DWA) of Bangladesh Government on The Provision of Development Support Services to women under the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) Program for 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 cycle with the aim to improve the socio-economic status of VGD women to socially empower them through training on awareness raising, provision of training on variety of Income Generating Activities (IGAs), provision of credit and other support services. ARS-Bangladesh has been implementing this program in Narail Sador and Lohagora Upazilla under Narail district to cover a total of 2381 cards.
Biogas and Biofertilizer Program
ARS-Bangladesh has been selected as a Lending and Construction Participating Organization (LCPO) by IDCOL under its Biogas Program. As LCPO, ARS-Bangladesh will initially construct and maintain 188 Biogas Plants of different sizes by 30 June 2021.
ARS-Bangladesh strictly follows IDCOL Model in constructing biogas plants for ensuring increased efficiencies and longer performance. Six sizes of digester are used for plant construction. These are applicable for both types of plants fed by poultry litter or cow dung. Upon completion of the plant, ARS-Bangladesh as LCPO provides to the households two warranties- one year warranty for all pipes, fittings and appliances and five year warranty on the structure of the plant. It also provides after construction services (ACS) to the plants for 3 years from the date of construction. Target groups of this program include all households who own at least 3 bovine (30 kg of dung per day) or keep at least 200 poultry birds (20 kg of litter per day) permanently and resides relatively in non-flooding areas. The results of the use of biogas plan encompass reduction of workloads especially of women; improvement in health and sanitation condition; increase in agriculture production with proper utilization of slurry; employment generation; saving of conventional fuel sources and reduction of green house gas emission. This is a comprehensive alternative energy program for illumination, cooking and increasing productivity of agricultural land. Main activities of the program include installation of portable biogas plant made of fiberglass and production and packaging of Biofertilizer. Fertilizer produced from offshoot of biogas plant has been proved to be very conducive to agricultural land as it creates a layer upon land capable to hold water for long period of time. It simultaneously reduces irrigation cost and increase productivity of arable lands.
Improved Cook-Stoves (ICS) Program
As Partner Organization (PO) of IDCOL, ARS-Bangladesh has undertaken this sub-program of Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project II Part B to install IDCOL’s approved Improved Cook-stoves (ICS) to rural households for 5 (five) years. ARS-Bangladesh installs or ensures the installation of the ICS as per the specification. Warranty to the households for the ICS installed is provided for a period of 1 (one) year from the date of Installation as per the terms and conditions set out in Warranty Card. Promotional activities are conducted to disseminate the ICS program and train up the owners of ICSs in the Project Areas. ARS-Bangladesh has been implementing the sub-program activities in clusters that include Jessore and Narail Jessore district.
ARS-Bangladesh has installed 97827 ICS in the home. The overall objective of the ICS Program is to further develop and disseminate ICS in rural areas with the ultimate goal to increase the energy of the fuel used for cooking while reducing exposure to indoor air pollution. The results of the use of ICS include reduction of workload especially of women; improvement in health through reducing indoor air pollution; employment generation; saving fuel sources such as firewood, agriculture residues and dried dung cakes; and reduction in green house gas emission especially of CO2, CH4.
This cooker consumes less fuel and produces more heat. Advantages of ICS include 50 percent fuel-cost reduction, smoke and pollution free kitchen, reduction of risk of asthma, headache and cancer, reduction of risk of fire accident and reduction of green house effect.
Solar Irrigation Pumps Installation Program
ARS-Bangladesh initiated this program in Chowgacha upazilla of Jessore district under Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP) of Bangladesh Government channeled through IDCOL. Key goal of this program is to ensure timely and cost effective irrigation for agricultural farming by exploiting solar-powered irrigation technology. Under this program, ARS-Bangladesh has set up 7 (seven) solar irrigation pumps that brought 420 bighas of agricultural land under constant irrigation facility and benefitted over 225 farmers. Those pumps displaced high-priced diesel and electricity with energy generated from sunlight by PV solar panels.
PV systems are used to pump water for livestock, plants or humans. Since the need for water is greatest on hot sunny days the technology is an obvious choice for this application. Pumping water using PV technology is simple, reliable, and requires almost no maintenance. For farmers with a creek running through their properties, using a solar powered water pumping solution means less fouling of waterways and far less erosion of banks. It can also lead to better pasture management as livestock will be able to access water via multiple distribution points.
This program is devised to build capacity of staff members and beneficiaries of the organization through 3 (three) training modules as (a) Training for Beneficiaries, (b) Capacity Building Training for Staff, and (c) Refreshment Training on Credit Modules.
- Capacity Building & Refreshment Training for Staff
ARS-Bangladesh organizes staff meeting, reporting meeting, training and various workshops at its own officers monthly. The organization regularly imparts training for its members on income generating activities at its office built on own land at Jogohati Village, Jessore Sadar Upazila of Jessore district. All officers and employees of ARS-Bangladesh ensure their presence in monthly and quarterly meeting. This training has put emphasis on enhancing professional skills and knowledge of staff members and volunteers directly involved in microfinance operation. Both internal and external resource persons conducted sessions on microfinance management, savings, IGA & SME development, group development, basic accounting, computer application, office management and monitoring & evaluation. A total of 75 managerial staff, 479 field level staff and 40 volunteers have received theoretical and applied training provided by Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), National Social Welfare Council, Credit Development Forum (CDF), ARS-Bangladesh Microcredit Development & Research Centre (ARS-MDRC).
This training is imparted to staff members of the organization to enhance their capacity in program delivery. Both internal and external resource persons conducted sessions on microfinance management, savings, IGA & SME development, group development, basic accounting, computer application, office management and monitoring & Evaluation.
|Sl.||Name of Training||Participant Type||Number of Participant||Outcome|
|1.||Microfinance Management||Managerial staff||135||130|
|2.||Savings||Field level staff||180||165|
|3.||IGA & SME Development||Managerial staff and Field level staff||100||90|
|4.||Group Development||Field level staff and volunteers||215||195|
|5.||Basic Accounting||Managerial staff and Field level staff||65||60|
|6.||Computer Application||Field level staff and volunteers||110||95|
|7.||Office Management||Managerial staff||40||35|
|8.||Monitoring & Evaluation||Managerial staff||20||15|
- Training for Beneficiaries
Career training focused on transferring marketable vocational skills to beneficiaries for fostering their self-employment combining skills and credit support. Major components of career training included seasonal crops production, vegetables cultivation, flower cultivation, jute cultivation, cow fattening, dairy production, fish culture and biogas plant management. Both in-house and peripheral and external resource persons conducted training sessions.
This training is imparted to beneficiaries of the organization on income generating activities (IGAs), proper utilization of loan, repayment of loan, project based activities and group management.
|Sl.||Name of Training||Participant Type||Number of Participant||Outcome|
|1.||Seasonal Crops Production||Farmers/Staff||2550||2450|
|2.||Vegetables Cultivation||” “||1850||1800|
|3.||Flower Cultivation||” “||115||110|
|4.||Jute Cultivation||” “||450||435|
|6.||Biogas Plant Management||Beneficiaries & Staff||40||35|
Human Rights Program
Human Rights Program (HRP) is a flagship social development program. It prioritizes implementation of rights of women, children and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Under its HRP, ARS-Bangladesh implemented a project styled “ADVANCE RIGHTS OF DISABLED WOMEN THROUGH MAKING THEM VISIBLE IN ACTION” aided by Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and TIDES Foundation of USA. The project geographically covered 6 (six) unions of Chowgacha Upazilla under Jessore district in Bangladesh. Primary beneficiaries of the action included 60 women with disabilities (WWDs) of execution areas.
Central goal of the project was to advance United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) at grass-roots level through strengthening voice of rurally based women with disabilities and monitoring abuses of their rights at family and community level.
To strengthen voice of target beneficiaries, the project formed 6 union level grassroots self-advocacy groups (GSAGs) and built their knowledge and skills on UNCRPD, rights advocacy and leadership through extensive trainings.
In addition a local level network was established among GSAGs, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, human rights activists, women groups, NFOWD members, journalists and other concerned stakeholders.
Interviews with beneficiaries, family level surveillance and follow-up meetings were performed to monitor abuses of rights of beneficiaries. To support this action, the project opened individual follow-up files over beneficiaries to document incidents of their rights violation at family and community level and accordingly prepared remedial plans. Information recorded in individual files was published in newsletters to promote wider sensation about rights of persons with disabilities.
Organizations working for disabled people (OWDP) and disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) have no representatives in district level government focal point of UNCRPD. Stakeholders concerned for implementation of UNCRPD are not motivated, knowledgeable and skilled regarding UNCRPD. These issues must be addressed squarely for proper implementation of UNCRPD at grassroots level.
ARS-Bangladesh has made a strong move to focus on identified issues that it considers urgent concerns to safeguard human rights of women with disabilities through implementation of UNCRPD.