The Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement (Sector) Project aims to support better urban development and services and good governance in secondary towns (pourashavas) across Bangladesh. It was prepared as a sector loan that is aligned with the government’s sector investment plan and its urban management policy.
The government is developing secondary towns to improve living standards, particularly in the poorer areas, and to provide an alternative destination for rural dwellers who would otherwise join the migration to larger metropolitan centers.
Women elected to local government can be effective as members of council committees (including committees with responsibilities such as construction tendering) as well as in reaching out to women citizens, if given skills training and support. Mechanisms, such as citizen committees through which women can express their views and priorities for local infrastructure and services, can also be useful tools to increase local government responsiveness to the needs of women, i.e., to improve governance. It is not enough for towns or other actors to identify objectives and activities to benefit women—they also need to set aside the budgets to implement them, which ADB can encourage and support (e.g., through performance criteria).
Performance criteria on women's participation are a powerful tool when they are developed as part of a set of performance criteria that all need to be met for further participation in the investment component of the project—this approach promotes practical action and also reinforces the legitimacy of issues of women’s participation in governance and in project benefit.
*This case study is part of an ADB publication titled Gender Equality Results Case Studies: Bangladesh that contain case studies that provide an overview of gender issues in selected sectors.