Resilient women have simultaneously been responding to Covid-19, the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan as well as monsoon floods. A joint initiative of the Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, Sweden, BSRM, Marico and Bank Asia, SWAPNO has been empowering women to move out of poverty by combining social security transfers, skills training and access to networks since 2015. During the pandemic, about 200 destitute women trained in tailoring turned to making WHO-compliant masks and supplied these to local markets and neighbouring districts. They have so far sold more than 67,000 masks, using their skills to provide for themselves and their families while serving a bigger purpose of protecting communities.
SWAPNO highlights that the role of social protection should not only be limited to providing relief. They can provide a path to more sustainable and equitable economic and social development. Even before Covid-19, the programme was successfully supporting women to move out of poverty while also contributing to their empowerment. Given the pandemic, the role of social protection has become even more relevant in contributing to recovery plans and addressing underlying issues of poverty, inequality and, in particular, gender inequality.
Read the full article in The Daily Star: Championing women’s empowerment in a time of crisis
Written by: Alexandra Berg von Linde- Ambassador of Sweden & Sudipto Mukerjee- Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh