LIVELIHOOD ENHANCEMENT & PROTECTION PROGRAM (LEP)

Background and Introduction
In the rural and semi-urban localities of the target area of the proposed program, there is an increasing number of ultra-poor, poor and vulnerable who are facing the challenge of their subsistence and survival. Such a challenge is faced by the people due to lack of opportunities to earn incomes sufficient enough to survive at the minimum levels of living standards.

There are a lot of factors that have given birth to such a situation. In rural areas, agriculture and livestock rearing are the primary sources of livelihoods in the rural settlements. Agriculture accounts almost 50 percent of the total household income. But the role of agriculture in household economy/food security is gradually diminishing due to several reasons. Different farmer groups are being affected by the different factors resulting in an increasing food and livelihood insecurity. As per the feedback given by the farmers and small land-holders and FFO’s situation analysis, agriculture does not seem to provide livelihood security. Therefore, the need is to promote some off-farm entrepreneurial activities to support the livelihood security of the rural poor.     

In the semi-urban localities, there are extremely limited opportunities of training and skill enhancement for the ultra-poor especially for the women. People seldom find any opportunity to acquire cost-effective training and skills that are innovative and marketable and can help them overcome the barriers of their economic subsistence and survival. More, such ultra-poor are exclusively asset-less and so cannot invest anything in any income generating venture. As a result, people remain unemployed causing a severe degree of food insecurity and their subsistence is at stake.    

Program Goal
To promote improved livelihoods security for the ultra-poor groups/communities in the target areas through imparting innovative and marketable entrepreneurial skills and providing them the required financial resources  

Immediate Objectives/Outputs
Followings are the immediate objectives/outputs of the ‘Livelihood Enhancement and Protection’ program:

  • Ultra-poor are organized into groups around entrepreneurial activities and able to plan participatory livelihoods focused development effectively.
  • The linkages of the ultra-poor have been developed with other livelihood and safety nets program of government and private sector.
  • Selected persons of the poor communities have been provided innovative and marketable entrepreneurial skills (vocational, skills and technical trainings).
  • The trained and skilled poor have been provided appropriate financial resources to be engaged in income generation activities on sustainable basis.
  • Diversified food & income options promoted and access to markets improved.
  • Ultra-poor have been graduated from livelihood grants to economic mainstream through facilitating access to microfinance program and improved institutional maturity.

The Strategies
FFO has devised and adopted a set of strategies to achieve the required objectives. The strategies include:

  • Appropriate Targeting: Livelihood protection and enhancement component has been included only for the ultra-poor groups. Therefore, the targeting and selection of the program’s beneficiaries are carried out through a rigorous process making use of different tools including poverty score card.
  • Provision of Entrepreneurial Skills and Training: The selected ultra-poor persons are imparted innovative and marketable skills to enable them be engaged in some income-generating activities.
  • Asset Transfer: The trained community members are provided financial resources in the form of cash grants to establish their business avenues.  
  • Community Livelihood Fund: The eligible CDOs and their clusters are provided funds to promote on-lending within the communities. To ensure success of the local level lending operations, appropriate training packages are provided to the CDOs and their clusters.
  •  Mainstreaming and Linkages Development: The targeted ultra-poor are brought in the development mainstream through their membership in the CDOs. They are provided facilitation to grow linkages with the relevant markets, institutions and organization.

An Outline of Implementation Methodology
In order to implement the livelihood enhancement and protection program successfully, FFO has adopted a set of relevant activities that includes:

  • The Community Development Organizations (CDOs) who have already included the ultra-poor as the members of the CDOs do select the potential beneficiaries as per the established criteria.
  • In consultation of FFO, the CDOs make skill enhancement plan for the selected persons.
  • The selected persons are imparted the relevant skill enhancement trainings.
  • After the successful completion of the training, the persons being trained submit a business plan including a projection on the required financial resources.
  • Financial assets are transferred to the eligible persons to establish their businesses.
  • The CDOs and their clusters are provided funds for on-lending.
  • Special attention is paid on developing the linkages of the ultra-poor to the relevant programs, organizations, institutions and line departments. 
  • Monitoring and facilitation process does remain continue throughout the course of implementation. Special attention is given to ensure the sustainability of the process.

Anticipated Impacts

  • Inclusion of the ultra-poor in the development mainstream. 
  • Ultra-poor will find appropriate opportunities and access to resources to alleviate their poverty and secure their economic base on sustainable basis.
  • Socio-economic empowerment of the ultra-poor.
  • Ultra-poor will be able to raise voice against the violation of their rights and demand for the same in an organized and effective manner.
  • The targeted ultra-poor households will be brought out of poverty on permanent grounds instead of provision of temporary food security assistance.