Bangladesh: Secondary Towns Integrated Flood Protection Project Phase II - 2010

The project aims to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in nine towns by providing a flood-free and secure living environment within the framework of integrated flood protection.

The selected towns are prone to river flooding, flash floods, and river erosion. Lack of flood protection and inadequate drainage lead to waterlogging and overflow of sewer facilities, especially latrines, and cause widespread environmental degradation, and unsanitary living conditions, particularly in slums and squatter areas. The growth potential of the urban sector is also undermined by frequent flooding, with associated damage to infrastructure, industrial sites, inventories, and businesses.

The project's baseline survey found that the incidence of poverty was 34% in the overall project area and as high as 40% in some towns. Households in hard-core poverty are concentrated in overcrowded slum and squatter areas. Steady migration from rural areas is evident in the shanty settlements sprouting on along river embankments and in low-lying areas. These areas and inhabitants are particularly vulnerable to flooding and attendant misery.

Key Points

Development Aims and Impacts:

  • Women have a particular stake in initiatives that protect the poor in slums and shantytowns from floods and improve environmental conditions, as womenare particularly disadvantaged among the urban poor.
  • Involving men and women in gender training and in efforts to reach womenis important for both project effectiveness and in sending the message that addressing gender inequality is a development challenge that is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Consistent demands that contractors hire more women and pay equal wages can result in changes in behavior (as contractors respond to signals about what is valued) and may eventually result in changed attitudes.

ADB Processes and Management Tools:

  • Specific performance criteria for women’s participation can be an effective means of ensuring high-level agreement from the outset. (In this project, the performance criteria were part of agreements with the town council reached before implementation began.)
  • An effective innovation where there are many participating towns is to develop a generic or guideline gender action plan (GAP) in the project plan and then require each participating town to adapt it to their own circumstances.

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.