Over the past decade, Bangladesh has been experiencing urbanisation at an unprecedented speed and scale. This urbanisation, like in many other developing countries, is also accompanied by increasing urban poverty and inequality.
The majority of the urban population in Bangladesh is concentrated only in a few large cities like Dhaka, Chittagong and a number of growing secondary cities. Every year thousands of people migrate to Dhaka city alone – many of them who end up living in slums and squatters where urban poverty is concentrated and often intensified.
During the designing of Phase II, the TUP programme identified the need to serve this population of urban extreme poor. For this, an urban pilot programme focusing on the specially targeted ultra poor (STUP) approach was created and launched in the year 2010.
After witnessing mentionable success through the pilot, the programme went on to become a regular one from 2012 with the introduction of the other targeted ultra poor (OTUP) approach in 2013. Areas of operations also expanded from Dhaka city to Chittagong and Khulna cities as well.
In the urban scenario, communities enjoy closer access to markets and earn significantly higher incomes. For this reason, participants in the programme receive comparatively different benefits than that of TUP’s rural participants, with adjustments in the OTUP approach such as absence of soft loan and stipend provision. Also, the packages offered to urban participants are mainly of non-farm enterprises, with suitable non-farm enterprise trainings being provided in areas such as grocery, clothes vending, food preparation and such more. Addressing needs in healthcare and social integration by providing links to health services are sought through municipal area resources. Slum poverty reduction committees (SDBCs) similar to rural programme’s GDBCs operate in the urban programme to support participants from urban communities.
The TUP urban programme aims to focus on bringing social, economic and inspirational changes among the poorest slum dwellers by developing small entrepreneurs among the poorest.