VGD – Vulnerable Group Development Program in Bangladesh

VGD Vulnerable Group Development

Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) is one of the largest safety net programmes supported by the World Food Programme. Its goal is to bring sustainable improvement to the lives of poor women in Bangladesh. Starting with assisting war, famine and flood victims in the early 1970s, VGD has evolved over time to focus on helping poor women graduate out of poverty. Currently about 750,000 women participate in the program (about 3.75 million beneficiaries) and receive a monthly food ration combined with a package of development services like training or employment opportunities through various NGOs.

Forms of Vulnerable Group Development (VGD)

The development package includes life skills and income generating skills training as well as a personal savings program and access to micro-credit/NGO membership. There are two different forms of vulnerable group development: income generation and food security. Participants receiving income generation vulnerable group development (IGVGD) will be given a monthly food ration of 30 kilograms of wheat/rice or 25 kilograms of fortified flour, while participants in the food security vulnerable group development (FSVGD) will receive cash support of Taka 100 along with 15 kilograms of fortified flour.

VGD activities take place on a two- year cycle, and participants can only participate for one cycle. Each participant will be required to attend all their sessions throughout the course of their VGD programme though. At the end of the previous Country Programme (CP) (2001-2006), the WFP Country Office in Bangladesh launched a New Country Programme to be implemented from 2007 to 2010. The VGD programme is one of the components that makes up the New Country Programme which aims to improve women’s access to jobs and health services by expanding livelihoods and improving agricultural productivity and food security for both urban and rural areas through an approach termed “Diversification.”

This report highlights the findings of the outcome survey conducted on the VGD beneficiary households who participated in the 2005-2006 VGD programme cycle. The purpose of the survey was to assess changes in lives of ultrapoor households brought about by this Positive Deviance approach through two components (IGVGD and FSVGD) by comparing to their status before (baseline) and during phase 1 (middle phase, on schedule for 12-24 months). The survey undertaken in July 2007 covered 345 women under 46 one autonomous unions in 29 districts of each component.

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