Bangladesh: Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project II (RIIP-II) - 2011

Background

The project aims to contribute to poverty reduction by expanding the economic opportunities of the rural poor. 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.

Bangladesh's poverty reduction strategy has identified efficient rural transport and rural infrastructure as critical to economic development and poverty reduction. About 75% of the Bangladesh population and 85% of the poor live in rural areas. Infrastructure and institutions to support broad-based local development are needed to generate employment and livelihoods for the rural poor. Many rural communities lack road links and all-weather access to market centers and services.

In many others, infrastructure is in poor repair due to insufficient investment in maintenance. Improved roads enable the local population to reach markets and trading centers and increase access to public services such as healthcare, education, and agricultural extension. Improved roads have been shown to increase transport services and reduce transport costs for both people and goods. Improvements in growth center markets are intended to enable more efficient trading.

Key points

Development Aims and Impacts:

  • Infrastructure initiatives offer a range of important opportunities to support women’s empowerment—this can include more appropriate infrastructure design (e.g., providing separate toilets in market areas, meeting rooms for women in the local government complex); new employment opportunities (e.g., in construction and maintenance); and a greater role in ongoing infrastructure management (e.g., through participation in local government committees responsible for planning and maintenance).
  • Even when gender stereotypes about appropriate roles and rewards for women seem strong, this should not be seen as a constraint to project initiatives for women—in fact, projects that provide benefits to a community (in relation to employment opportunities and new services, for example) are good mechanisms to challenge stereotypes as project resources and opportunities can provide incentives and rewards for changes in behavior.

ADB Processes and Management Tools:

  • Project innovations undertaken in the context of a supportive relationship between ADB and a partner government executing agency can result in mutual learning, further innovation, and the institutionalization of new practices within the executing agency, thus multiplying the impact of the investment.

This case study is part of an ADB publication titled Gender Equality Results Case Studies: Bangladesh that provide an overview of gender issues in selected sectors of developing member countries.