Bangladesh: Reaching the Most Vulnerable through the Disability and Children-At-Risk Project

May 19, 2016

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The project has helped pioneer mobile vans with health facilities that provide access to counseling, diagnostic, and treatments services to persons with special needs.    

Blog: Tending to the most vulnerable in Bangladesh  

Ministry of Social Welfare

The Bangladesh Disability and Children at Risk Project has helped the Government of Bangladesh establish and operate 50 Disability Service Centers (DSCs), as well as equip an additional 53 DSCs, and 11 Integrated Child Protection Service Centers (ICPSCs) which have provided access to counseling, diagnostic, and treatment services to 150,000 persons with disabilities (PwDs) and reintegration and protection services to 5,000 vulnerable children, among whom about 40 percent are female.

Challenge

As in many developing countries, care for certain vulnerable segments of society has not always been of high priority in the allocation of development financing in Bangladesh. This has resulted in a lack of support and resources in terms of policies and facilities to address the needs of persons-with-disabilities and children-at-risk. Lack of adequate public awareness and government champions were initially impediments for project implementation which required concerted efforts to deliver optimal outcomes via Bank financing.


" After having a stroke I was completely unable to move, but thanks to therapy at the Disability Service Center now I am able to move and go to college by myself. I am improving fast. "
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Anisa Haider

Beneficiary from Lalbagh in Dhaka

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Boys at the Integrated Child Protection Service Center at Tongi, Gazipur, are presenting a skit on child labor. The main message of the skit, quite solemn for a children’s skit, was to provide equal opportunities for education to those vulnerable children who were exposed to child labor. 

Yoonyoung Cho/World Bank

Approach

The project had a strong focus on key activities to strengthen the capacity of Disability Service Centers (DSCs) and Integrated Child Protection Service Centers (ICPSCs) so the centers play a central role in serving intended beneficiaries. The Bank provided intensive technical assistance with regular client engagement with the Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) and implementing agencies. Third party spot checks helped assess the quality of center services and identify areas of further improvement. For major activities, implementing agencies and the Bank team jointly set short term goals with strict deadlines to continuously monitor progress, and such regular updates helped provide a sense of achievement.


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The outside of the mobile vans that provide care to those who need it. 

Ministry of Social Welfare

Results

Overcoming initial struggles and regaining great momentum, the project achieved significant results, largely over the last two years. Results from the disability component include:

  • Over a hundred DSCs are fully functional and providing services to persons with disabilities in every district in the country.
  • As of February 2016, the total number of beneficiaries exceeded 140,000 (with about 40% females).
  • More than 20,000 persons with disabilities have benefitted within two months from mobile services which began operations in December 2015.
  • Over 80 percent of beneficiaries are satisfied with the services provided.

The results from the children-at-risk component include:

  • Eleven ICPSCs (each includes separate facilities for boys and girls) are fully functional and providing services to vulnerable children (e.g., street children; those who have left their families; etc.).
  • As of February 2016, the total number of children served exceeded 5,000 (about 50% female).
  • About 70 percent of the children are re-integrated with their families after spending up to 6 months with their peers and participating in educational programs in the centers.

In addition, the management information system currently being developed, is expected to digitize beneficiaries’ records and automate operations in both DSCs and ICPSCs as well as other social safety net programs under MoSW by June 2016. This will help achieve greater administrative efficiency and transparency, and contribute towards the modernization of the broader social protection delivery system in Bangladesh.


" Two years earlier, the right portion of my body was paralyzed because of a stroke. I could move only with the help of others. Now, thanks to treatment service at the center, I am sufficiently recovered. I am able to walk by myself and do many kinds of regular work. I am still receiving service regularly from this center because I am not completely well yet. I am hoping that after receiving treatment from this center my condition will improve and I will be able to work.  "
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Md. Shamsher

Beneficiary from Alamnagar in Rangpur

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Girls at the Integrated Child Protection Service Center at Tongi, Gazipur, are singing after presenting their traditional dance. “We were not able to attend school, but are now studying here. We also learn skills like stitching and beauty treatment. We are safe here and often practice traditional singing and dancing.”

Yoonyoung Cho/World Bank

Bank Group Contribution

The World Bank is providing US$27 million IDA financing for the project. About $18 million is allocated for Component 1 (disability component) with the remaining $9 million for Component 2 (children at risk component).  

Partners

The project works with two implementing agencies: (i) Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation (JPUF; also known as National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons) and (ii) the Department of Social Services (DSS), both under the Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW). The two agencies, initially new to the Bank project and struggling in the large-scale nationwide operation, have experienced substantial growth in their capacity through the project. These institutions are now leading the country’s social care services for the most vulnerable and striving to further improve the quality of services.   

Moving Forward

The Bank will continue its engagement and provide technical assistance to strengthen MoSW through policies and administrative reforms. The Bank team and the Ministry have had discussions on the transition and sustainability of center activities over the past year. MoSW, together with the Bank team, has been closely coordinating with the Ministry of Finance for a smooth transition. It was recently confirmed that Bank financed DSCs and ICPSCs would be absorbed under Government’s regular activities.

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150,000
people with special needs now have access to counseling, diagnostic, and treatment services.