More than 45,000 less-incoming and slum households are availing sanitation facilities by dint of commissioning around 14,000 hygienic latrines in the metropolis.
Similarly, they are getting facilities of safe drinking water from 2,800 tube wells installed in the slum areas besides different other settlement improvement privileges like footpaths and drains.
Various other settlement improvement facilities like one community latrine, 45,500 square-kilometer footpath, 7,105 meter drain and 15 community centers were developed for ensuring improved water and sanitation among the poverty-prone communities.
The access to improved water sources makes the lives of community members healthier while the constructed toilets and bathing facilities lead to improved hygiene practices and the footpaths improves settlement accessibility and mobility.
Nur Islam, Chief Engineer of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC), said the infrastructural and settlement improvement activities were executed with direct supervision and monitoring by 173 Community Development Committees in 30 wards in the metropolis.
Main thrust of the Livelihoods Improvement of the Urban Poor (LIUPC) Project is to improve the living and livelihood conditions of around two and half lakh less-incoming and marginalized people, especially women and girls, in the city.
Many slum people have been living in brick-built houses, driving out their long-lasting living life in thatched or mud-house in the city.
“I had never thought, even in my dreams, that I would be able to live in such a good house,” said Rupchan Begum, 46, of Chhotobangram Namopara area, with a smiling face on Sunday.
Earlier on, she received a soft-interest loan worth Tk 200,000 from Community Housing Development Fund (CHDF) and constructed the house. Currently, she is repaying the loan on a monthly installment of Tk 3,300 regularly.
With this breakthrough, her level of confidence coupled with dignity in the society has been improved to a greater extent.
“I got a new life through attaining a brick-built house,” said Shabana Khatun, 38, wife of Jalal Uddin of Char Satbaria area.
With technical support from the LIUPC Project poor people of Rajshahi city have established a CHDF, a revolving fund for providing land tenure security and better housing for the urban poor.
Under the scheme, the beneficiary communities identify and prioritize the environmental, social and economic challenges they face as well as the required actions to address them, said Engineer Nur Islam.
The slum households have also come together in an anti- poverty savings scheme to raise more than Tk 12.5 crore. Through the savings and credit programmes, the communities now can operate their own savings schemes and create a revolving fund from which credit operations are being managed by themselves.
The programme promotes household and community level urban food production technology demonstrations, provides small input supports especially high yielding variety vegetable and fruit seeds, saplings, ducklings, chick and poultry vaccination.
It also provides business start-up grants to extremely poor women for poultry, goat rearing, beef fattening and agri-business allowing them to have access to regular income.
Besides, the ongoing apprenticeships and vocational training improve the odds of youth landing decent jobs and regular income.
City Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said rapid urbanisation in the city is a growing trend that creates various challenges particularly inadequacy of infrastructural services, basic amenities, violence and socio-economic insecurity like other parts of the country.
He, however, said the community savings and credit activities have been adjudged as an effective means of addressing some of the challenges.
The approach is good for alleviating urban poverty alongside women empowerment as many other slum communities intend to adopt the process after witnessing its overall successes.
The successful trend is continuing contributing a lot towards helping the poor and extreme poor people bring about change within their families and communities, he expects.