Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB)

What is BRDB?

The Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB), under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD & C), is the most extensive service-oriented institutional setup of the Government of Bangladesh (GOB), is directly engaged in rural development and poverty alleviation activities in Bangladesh.    

History, Strategies and Functions of BRDB

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Its Head Office is based in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.With 64 District Offices and over 482 Sub-District (Upazila) Offices across the country. BRDB boasts coverage unmatched by any other Governmental or non-Governmental organization working in rural development and poverty alleviation in Bangladesh. BRDB closely follows, reflects, supports and reinforces the GOB goal, vision and policies for socio-economic development vis-à-vis rural development and poverty reduction.

It operates by organizing small and marginal farmers, asset fewer men, women and destitute freedom fighters into cooperative societies and/or informal groups and providing them with short and long-term credit, technology for their socio-economic wellbeing and training. In its provision of services and support, the BRDB seeks to promote self-sufficient, fully sustainable, income-generating activities amongst the landless, rural and marginalized.

The BRDB was established in 1982 and has successfully mobilized 5.3 million beneficiaries into cooperative societies and informal groups. It pioneered the two-tier cooperative system and continues to successfully implement it to alleviate the endemic poverty of Bangladesh's rural populace.


History of  BRDB

In the early sixties, the Comilla Model was evolved in rural development by Dr. Akhter Hamid Khan (1914 - 1999), a renowned social scientist and social reformer, through an action research work at the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in Kotbari, Comilla. This model is known as the Two-Tier Co-operative system, which has become the primary vehicle of Rural Development in Bangladesh.

The origins of the BRDB lie in the erstwhile Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), launched in the early 1970s to replicate the Two-Tier Cooperative System, popularly known as the TCCA-KSS System. The TCCA-KSS System – based on the Comilla Approach to rural development – became the keystone of the IRDP. At the most fundamental level, its application sought to promote economic growth through increased agricultural production and ensure that the rural poor attained self-sufficiency in food production.

The IRDP utilised the TCCA-KSS System to deliver a portfolio of poverty alleviation initiatives, including capital accumulation, training, credit provision, sales and marketing assistance, and extension and technological support.

The Integrated Rural Development Programme was dissolved with the Bangladesh Rural Development Board Ordinance LIII promulgated, which began on January 13th,1982. Under this ordinance, a board to be called the Bangladesh Rural Development Board was established to carry out the purposes of the said ordinance. That is, to formulate policies, coordinate activities, supervise the implementation of various projects and programs relating to rural development, and strengthen the rural economy of Bangladesh.

Vision Of BRDB: Poverty free and self-reliant rural Bangladesh    


Overview of BRDB

Bangladesh Rural Development Board is the prime government agency engaged in rural development and poverty alleviation. BRDB basically operates by organizing the small and marginal farmers into cooperative societies for increasing agricultural production through improved means and by forming formal or informal groups of landless men and distressed women to promote income-generating activities in the rural areas. The origin of BRDB lies in the erstwhile Integrated  Rural Development Program (IRDP), which was launched in the early 70s to replicate the Two-Tier Cooperative, popularly known as the Comilla Model the Upazila Central Cooperative Association (UCCA) - Village-based farmer cooperatives (KSS) system. The system is based on the "Comilla approach" to rural development, as conceived by the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) in the early 1960s. IRDP was introduced to promote economic growth through increased agricultural production

As the core component of IRDP and other elements such as capital accumulation, training, credit, marketing, extension, and technological support, Two-Tier Cooperative promoted IRDP to help attain food autarky in the country. Given IRDP's success, the program was transformed in 1982 into a national institution called Bangladesh Rural Development Board. Gradually, the activities of BRDB expanded beyond its originally mandated functions to the task of alleviating endemic rural poverty by reaching the poorest of the poor through group-based self-employment and income enhancing initiatives.

To fulfil its lately assumed mission of reducing rural poverty. BRDB had to adopt a new strategy and undertake several development projects in addition to its regular programs. BRDB has implemented 114 development projects, and 07 are now under implementation. Each project designed and implemented by BRDB includes various social development issues such as Primary Health Care, HIV/AIDS, sanitation, environment, mass education and the like, which has an indirect impact on reducing rural poverty. BRDB thus moved from a sectoral approach to a multidimensional approach with the following goal, objectives and strategies.


Mission of BRDB

The unique mission of BRDB includes the followings:

1. To organize Comilla type of cooperative for optimum utilization of human and material resources available to developers.
2. Organize rural masses into cohesive & disciplined groups for planned, sustained development.
3. Accumulate/mobilize rural capital through thrift deposits & sale of shares.
4. Ensuring proper utilization of institutional credit
5. Developing human resources through training & motivation to the portfolio of demand-driven and women empowerment.
6.   Integrate Supply & Services for effective utilization.
7.    Develop local leadership as a community catalyst.


Strategies of BRDB

BRDB basically emphasises institution-building toward RD, which involves the human element is by no means an easy job. As such, it has well defined strategic dimension. BR B's efforts include institutional building, which acts as a leading instrument to promote RD, a package of human organizational infrastructure with the following elements:-

1.     Institutions setting both formal & non-formal nature.

2.     Training of both beneficiaries & functionaries as animators.

3.     Credit as Micro/Farm loan /Rural Non-Firm (RNF).

4.     Marketing & storage efforts.

5.     Other productive inputs.

6.     Implementing community & target-based projects & programs.

7.     Encouraging rural capital mobilization.

8.     Multipurpose catalysts.

9.     Shift of assumption from time-bound project to program approach.

10.   Collaborating with NBDs, Local self-government & NGOs.

11.   Gender development activity.

12.   Efforts towards the sustainable track of activity.


Activities of BRDB

Poverty Alleviation Programme

The BRDB was initially mandated to foster agricultural growth and reach self-sufficient food production. Wi h the tremendous success of this approach (food production doubled within fifteen years from the early 1970s, and the country reached near-autonomous production levels), the BRDB continued to focus its development efforts on those with production capabilities – that is, small and marginal farmers.

However, as it became clear that this approach to development largely neglected landless and 'assetless' people and that the socio-economic condition of such people was, in fact, continuing to worsen, the BRDB renewed its policies and placed the development of the rural poor at the top of its priorities.
By shifting its strategy and expanding its activities, the BRDB was able to couple its efforts to improve agricultural production with the active promotion of self-employment and income-generating activities.

The BRDB places equal value on providing financial and technological inputs and skills development through training and education. Wi h this approach, the BRDB continues to promote improvements in agricultural production and give those with no means of production opportunities to improve their living standards. As well as providing assistance to farmers and the rural poor, BRDB is implementing a poverty reduction program for the Insolvent Freedom Fighters and their dependents.


Women's Development Programme

Women in Bangladesh, particularly those in rural areas, are severely disadvantaged. N bitten by low social status and lack of access to remunerative employment and educational opportunities, they have historically been unable to reap development benefits. Since its inception, the BRDB has been striving to improve the status of women in Bangladesh. T realises the necessity of involving all in the development process and, for that reason, has undertaken steps to ensure women's participation.

In 1975, the BRDB launched a countrywide women's development project titled "Strengthening Population Planning through Rural Women's Cooperatives". H project sought to mobilise women in the development process by organising them into cooperatives, granting members access to BRDB services. H success of the project led it to become established as a central scheme programme under the recurring revenue budget.

To this day, the programme seeks, as always, to reach the following objectives:

1.   Organise rural poor women into cooperatives for their participation in socio-economic development,
2.  move rural women's socio-economic condition by equipping them with skills and knowledge,
3. Provide working capital to female co-operators, to allow them to undertake various income-generating activities and entrepreneurial development projects.
4. To provide training on different IGA's, various STD and HIV/AIDS preventive measures, women's rights, women empowerment, child abuse etc.


Main Scheme of BRDB

The BRDB's Main Scheme seeks to deliver an institutional development package that, at its heart, promotes the formation of cooperatives amongst the rural poor. Ai Scheme is the core program of BRDB, which is funded by the Government of Bangladesh. The ain Scheme aims to develop the socio-economic condition of the small and marginal farmers, women and rural poor through two-tier cooperatives, which involve village-based cooperatives linked with Upazila central cooperative Association.

Through this two-tier cooperative structure, BRDB provides development services, such as short and medium-term credit, training in modern agricultural and extension techniques, supplies of high-yielding seed varieties, fertiliser, irrigation technologies, marketing and sales support. By delivering these services, the BRDB promotes rural development and seeks to alleviate poverty.

The BRDB Main Scheme activities are as follows:

1. Organize farmers into village cooperative groups to provide support facilities to increase farm productivity and income.

2. Unite village cooperatives into Upazila Central Cooperative Associations – known as Upazila Central Cooperative Associations (UCCAs). Deliver essential services, such as supervised credit, training, agricultural extension, input supplies, technology and marketing support, to village societies through UCCAs.

3. Link  As with national-level organisations.

4.  Develop local leaders.

5. Ensure timely and sustained provision of required inputs.

6. Organise training for BRDB officials (both for utilisation of development works and strengthening the government departments' workforce).

7. Underertake continuous monitoring and evaluation for existing programs and projects and research avenues of service expansion.


Extension Services

The extension services offered by BRDB help uplift the status of the poor in various ways. Significant achievements of such services are stated below :

Activities  Cumulative Total
1.     Tree Plantation                                                 169.221 million
2.     Psciculture                                                       1281.699 million
3.     Sanitary Latrine                                               0.100 million
4.     No. of Families using Improve Chulli               1.852 million
5.     Inoculation & Vaccination of Cattle/Poultry     271.630 million.
6.     Establishment of Nurseries                            0.002 million
7.     Coconut Plantation                                         0.855 million

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