Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project II (RIIP-II) aims to contribute to poverty reduction by expanding the economic opportunities of the rural poor in Bangladesh. This will be achieved through improving rural infrastructure (focusing on roads and growth center markets), strengthening women's economic opportunities and public role, and improving local governance facilities and capacity.
Sirajganj, Bangladesh─ When the rain-swollen Jamuna River breached its banks and inundated Sirajganj town 4 years ago, the streets were under knee-deep water, forcing shutdowns of businesses and schools. Even after the rain stopped, the floodwaters took more than 2 months to recede. Roads were ravaged and the town's poor drainage system ceased to function. Residents returned to homes that were no longer fit to live in.
Dharakantar, Bangladesh─At 20, Ayesha Siddik was married to a day laborer who generally earned less than a dollar a day. She lived in a mud and straw hut in this farming village in northern Rangpur district.
Today, Ayesha is the owner of nine cattle worth Tk225,000 ($2,941). She lives in a three-room building that stands out in a village of mostly tin-roof houses, sends her two children to school, and has convinced her husband to help her raise cattle.
Taraganj, Bangladesh - Firoza Begum, 35, tends roadside saplings from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Tk90 (less than $2) a day. It is a meager salary, but she is thankful - not only for the salary, but for the road itself.
That is because the newly built 10 kilometer road has brought together remote villages, government offices, a sprawling market, and a hospital in the northern region of Rangpur. The project also provides jobs to 116 women aged between 25 and 40, who nurse and protect 13,000 fruit and forest tree saplings.