Concern, an international NGO, has been working both in rural and urban areas of Bangladesh for the last three decades. One of the core values of Concern is \"Target Extreme Poverty\", so early in the year 2002 Concern wanted to assess whether its community development programmes are reaching the extreme poor effectively or not. To get the answer of this question Concern decided to conduct a participatory research in two of its rural and urban working areas. Moreover, it was planned that the research learning will be used to develop a standard methodology to do an extensive research in the other rural and urban working areas. Concern believes that the extreme poor live in many numbers in the environmentally vulnerable areas, and this is the outcome of the extensive experience of Concern in running emergency programmes in such areas. At present, Concern is directly implementing Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP) and Urban Community Development Project (UCDP) in four rural and five urban environmentally vulnerable locations. Out of these locations Concern management choose Dimla IRDP and Kamlapur UCDP randomly to conduct this study.
The two simple research questions of this study were:
- The extreme poor and their vulnerability in study locations: Who are the extreme poor? What are their vulnerabilities? What are their capacities to cope with crises?
- Targeting the extreme poor: Is Concern reaching the extreme poor effectively through its existing community development projects?
This paper is comprised of five sections; the first states the origin and justification of the study, research questions, and a brief overview of the study locations. The second section presents the livelihood strategy of the extreme poor, beginning with the live lihood assets and vulnerabilities of them. The third section gives an overview about the effectiveness and efficiency of Concern's community development programmes to reach the extreme poor. The fourth section explores the role of government and the other NGDOs to reach the extreme poor. The fifth section presents conclusions and throws light on strategic direction to work with the extreme poor.
Reaching the Extreme Poor:Learning from Concern’s CommunityDevelopment Programmes in Bangladesh presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, 21 pp.