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Getting the needs of the extreme poor recognised in policy and practice

As the New Year of 2015 unfolds, we are happy to introduce this e-Newsletter from the team that delivers EEP/Shiree - the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest (EEP) programme.

We would like you to know more about us and what we do. The e-newsletter just gives a flavour of our work. The full story is on our website

Please stay connected. We will update you via e-mail. Thanks for your support.


We are the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest programme. EEP. We are also known by many as EEP/Shiree. Shiree is the Bangla word for steps.  We help people take steps out of extreme poverty.

We are a Government of Bangladesh programme supported by Britain's UK aid provided by the Department for International Development (DFID) and by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). Our budget is GBP 83.6 million (USD 131.4). We started in 2008 and end in March 2016.

Our mission is to help one million people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. We call this “graduating” them out of extreme poverty. We do this by helping them overcome significant barriers to improving their household income, health, and food security. We do this with our partner NGOs, selected through a competitive bidding process called a Challenge Fund. The NGOs had to submit proposals on how to help economically empower the extreme poor. An independent committee selected the successful ideas. EEP/Shiree then signed an Accountable Grant Agreement with each participating NGO. We provide the funding. NGOs deliver the results.

To date, through our partner NGOs, we have reached over one million extreme poor people. The evidence shows that after two years of engagement with our partner NGOs, 90 per cent of the target population graduate from extreme poverty. We continue to support our partner NGOs to help the households who find it difficult to graduate.

If we all play our part, working together, we can eradicate extreme poverty!


2014 Annual Review of EEP/Shiree: A+

Following its rigourous Annual Review process, DFID scored EEP/Shiree with a well earned A +  for its work in 2014. The combined teams of EEP/Shiree staff, working in harmony with our Partner NGOs,  exceeded already challenging expectations set in a year of transition with changes in our senior management.

This good result builds  on a commendable past record of A+ and A++ scores in the recent years - a run of results that shows the commitment of EEP/Shiree, and of our Partner NGOs, to playing a whole hearted part in helping the Government of Bangladesh achieve its objectives to eradicate extreme poverty. 

The 2014 the Annual Review was complimentary of our efforts to date. But there is still much to do. The indications are that, working together, we are on target to achieve our goal - to help one million people take enduring  steps out of extreme poverty.

With the continuing advice, guidance and support of RDCD and of our donors - UK aid's DFID and SDC - we look forward to carrying on this good work through 2015 to when the programme ends in March 2016. We very much look forward to working with our Partner NGOs to maintain a high level of performance in 2015.

A formerly landless woman is seen with her title deed for the use of government Khas land, acquired with the support of the project.
Photo credit: The Review Team
UK aid supports extreme poor beneficiaries of EEP/Shiree with blankets to combat winter cold

State Minister of LGRD, Mr. Moshiur Rahman Ranga visited Rangpur District on January 18, 2015 to oversee the distribution of blankets funded by UK aid to help extreme poor communities get through the cold winter weather. The distribution was arranged by EEP/Shiree, the Economic Empowerment of the Poorest programme.

The request for blankets came from EEP/Shiree's partner NGOs who work with over one million disadvantaged people helping them to take steps (Shiree) out of extreme poverty. In response to the humanitarian need, UK aid donated about Tk. 60,00,000 (GBP 50,000) and EEP procured 19,000 locally sourced blankets.

Mounted a very short notice, it was a successful event hosted by Practical Action Bangladesh in their working area in Rangpur.

Please read more on EEP/Shiree website including the national media coverage on this event, where the contribution of the UK aid to the extreme poor people has been highlighted.


Regional Advocacy Workshop in Sylhet

As a part of series of advocacy workshops, EEP/Shiree and Unnayan Shamannay organized a regional seminar on Eradication of Extreme Poverty from Bangladesh. Held
 in Sylhet on November 26, 2014, it was a regional consultation and commitment to action.

The purpose of the seminar was to agree a Call to Action for practical steps to eradicate extreme poverty.
The participants identified and addressed key factors and issues contributing to extreme poverty in the area. These factors are well set out in the Manifesto for the Extreme Poor which has been widely agreed by government, civil society and development organisations. Representatives from extreme poor households, local government and the public administration, private sector, mass media, youth, local civil society and development organizations working on extreme poverty reduction attended the seminar.
DFID staff visit in Korail slum

[From left] Dr. Dibalok Singho, Executive Director of DSK, Md. Arifur Rahman, Poverty and Livelihoods Adviser of DFID Bangladesh, Heather Opie, Private Secretary to DFID's Minister of State, Rt Hon Desmond Swayne TD MP, visited Korail slum in Dhaka city - a project area of Dustho Sastho Kendro (DSK).

The Korail CBO leaders and members expressed their concern for the land tenure security, since fear of slum eviction hinders their development heavily.

Michael Dubois from the UK National Audit Office visited Uttaran and Save the Children projects supported by EEP/Shiree in the South-West region of Bangladesh.
A high profile delegation of Government officials from Bangladesh, led by Secretary M A Qader Sarker from Rural Development and Cooperatives Division (RDCD) visited Japan and South Korea for discussions on policies, ways and means to reduce poverty. The Bangladesh delegation visited a variety of development projects and met senior officials in the development agencies of JICA and KOICA.

Md. Asadul Islam,
 (second from left in the photo) Joint Secretary and Project Director of EEP/Shiree retired after five years of service from the RDCD. Eamoinn Taylor, CEO of EEP/Shiree presented a crest to mark EEP/Shiree's gratitude to Mr. Asadul Islam for his support, encouragement and practical contribution to the programme.

Mr. Bhabesh Chandra Podder joined  EEP/Shiree as the Project Director in January 11, 2015. He is a civil servant with a  background of working in field administration, Magistracy, Collectorate and in Ministries and Directorates. He is a Joint Secretary of RDCD under LGRD Ministry.
Director NGO Affairs Bureau visited MJSKS

Dr. Md. Helal Uddin (second from right), Director of NGO Affairs Bureau (Project-2), Prime Minister’s Office, Dhaka, visited Mahideb Jubo Somaj Kallayan Somity (MJSKS) and their implementing AIDBC Project activities on Friday 5 December 2014. After attending a meeting with senior staff, he visited AIDBC Project activities at field level and share his views and knowledge with beneficiaries. He expressed great pleasure to see the cattle provided to the beneficiary and changes in the household as they take steps out of extreme poverty with the support of the project.

Dr. Helal Uddin thanked donors and MJSKS for implementing this type of project to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in line with the aims of the Government to achieve MDG 1 by 2015.
Dr. Helal Uddin said the project was a role model of sustainable livelihoods development for eradicating extreme poverty.
Supplementary Support for non-graduate households:
Beneficiary households finding it difficult to graduate after two years support from the programme are being identified through a Graduation Monitoring Ssurvey (GMS). So far, 12,524 households have been identified as non-graduates. Of these, 11,339 households have completed a household recovery plan funded under our Supplementary Support Fund. Funds have been disbursed to 7,114 households. The recovery plan for other households finding difficult to graduate are underway and will continue until March 2015.
Achievements of EEP/Shiree Project

EEP/Shiree has a rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation known as the Change Monitoring System (CMS). CMS-3, for example is an annual panel survey conducted since 2010. These allows EEP/Shiree to assess the impact of its interventions. Noteworthy findings in the 2014 CMS-3:
  • Average value of total assets has increased significantly between 2010 and 2014
  • Average net income (income-expenditure gap) has also increased during the same period
  • Morbidity status of all household members has also declined during the same period


“We used to be isolated, now we’re organised.”

– an anonymous EEP/Shiree beneficiary
Interesting Reading:
Achievement of EEP/Shiree 
(as of
December 2014):
  • Target: 309,525 Households
  • Selection: 309,509  Households (1,191,274 people)
  • Asset delivery: 309,096 Households
  • Graduation: 129,635 Households (498,481 people)
  • Safety net: 116,828 Households
Update on website:
The Innovation Fund Round 3 lesson learning reports are available on this link. They are also available on the individual project pages on this website.
In this issue:
  • Who we are, what we do
  • Recent news
  • Achievements
  • Quotable quotes
  • Interesting reading
  • Website updates
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