Street dwellers are a highly marginalized group. Having no shelter or access to any kind of sanitary facilities, they defecate on the streets and rely on unsafe sources of water. These poor hygienic conditions make them the object of social exclusion and no employer would consider to give them a job. In order to address this problem and link street dwellers to the job market, the InvESt project established Mojar Khabar (Fun Food), a social food chain enterprise that employs street dwellers directly. Beneficiaries are provided with training on hygiene and sales and are hired as street food vendors. The project has a twofold goal: to provide employment for street dwellers, and to offer hygienic and nutritious food at low prices, so that it can be afforded by street dwellers and other extreme urban poor.
(1) Avoid co-ownership of assets to prevent one beneficiary partner from monopolizing the shared asset at the expense of the other partners.
(2) The size of the assets matter: When dealing with street dwellers, who have no means to secure their assets, especially at night-time, the bigger the size of the asset the harder it is for them to keep the asset safe.
(3) Engaging with local government is essential to ensure that beneficiaries have access to support systems.
(4) Partnerships with other local organizations working with the same type of beneficiaries should be strengthened to ensure sustainability.
(5) Having multiple livelihood opportunities is an important source of sustainability and resilience.
EEP/Shiree. Lesson Learning Report:Investment for Economic Empowerment of Street-dwellers (InvEST). Shiree, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2015) 50 pp.