Entrepreneurship Development Program for the COVID-19 Victims

The World Bank (WB) recently released the Bangladesh Development Update (BDU) highlighting the impact of the Covid-19 on the labor market, including loss of jobs and rise in poverty. In the survey, the Washington based-lender found that one in five economically active individuals had experienced either a job loss (5.0 per cent) or a prolonged absence from work (14 per cent) since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. The average duration of unemployment was three months. Of them, 51 per cent reported a loss in earnings or wages,” the WB said.

Under a post-lockdown optimistic scenario, the country’s overall poverty to increase by 25.13per cent, where rural poverty is 24.23 per cent and urban poverty is 27.52 per cent respectively. “If we consider a 25% higher poverty line, then an additional 16% to 20% of population would be in poverty in rural and urban areas. If we update our age-old poverty line accordingly, it will result in a much higher poverty where rural poverty would be 45%, and urban poverty would be 36%,” he added.

Considering the circumstances, IMI initiated entrepreneurship project in March 2020 for COVID-19 affected youth group. IMI supported experienced youth to set up enterprises on their concerned trades. IMI ensured them to gain either on-job or theoretical training before start up their business. Moreover, IMI gave them soft skills to develop professional behavior and promote marketing on their products. Each and every youth who received entrepreneurship support, had trained up 3 youths from their community through on job training. It helped them to make a saleable cluster basis entrepreneurship development followed by market linkage of their product in the locality. It is expected that after six months, 30 entrepreneurs will be fully self- reliant while another 90 youth will be trained up to set up their own enterprises. In this way altogether 120 youth will be skilled in different trades as well as set up their enterprises to make their family financially self-reliant.

Project Objectives:

To meet the persistent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable households affected by pandemic, through improving lives and livelihoods in the immediate term, while linking to longer-term, resilience- building efforts in the south west and coastal districts of Jessore and Jhalokathi.

Expected Outcome:

Improved food security and livelihood support through entrepreneurship development, introduction to community driven livelihoods and sector specific skills training.

Result-1: Food insecure and vulnerable unemployed youth have access to increased income and quality of food and contribute to develop their own enterprises and community resilience through poultry farm, small business development using cash and kind support.

Result-2: Youth from the mostly affected households have the means to adopt community resilient livelihoods and have improved knowledge and skills to adopt more resilient livelihood practices and/or activities.

Result-3: Vulnerable jobless/low income affected families receive support to access emergency humanitarian aid in the event of a humanitarian crisis, utilizing support from the additional funding from ECHO-USA.

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