A project implemented by the government of Bangladesh with support from the food aid donors including the World Food Programme, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the European Union. The project aims at providing food to the poorest women of rural Bangladesh in exchange for their participation in development works. The project began as a relief programme in November 1975 under the name of Vulnerable Groups Feeding (VGF) with an initial focus on providing food support to destitute women for a two-year period. Under the programme, 780,000 distressed women were given wheat and other commodities for supplementary feeding. The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief instituted food distribution through VGF to address the basic needs of women in extreme poverty. The programmed was subsequently oriented towards development and renamed Vulnerable Groups Development (VGD) since the mid-1980s. The new objective was to increase the self-reliance of the most disadvantaged women. The government, however, reintroduced the VGF in 1997 as a separate project. Within the framework of a new ‘Strengthening Institutions for Food Assisted Development’ (SIFAD) project, the government transferred the administration of the VGD from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in July 1996.
The three major channels of implementation of the VGD project are the Unions, Institutional Feeding and Development Centres (IFDC) and Women Training Centers. Under the Union VGD programme destitute, divorced and abandoned women, under- The VGD beneficiaries include women from landless households (owning less than 0.5 acres of land), women with irregular (less than Tk 300 per month) or no individual income, daily or casual women labourers and women from households lacking ownership of productive assets. Under the project, about 0.5 million women-headed households receive 30 kg of food-grain for a period cycle of 24 months. New groups of women are brought into the project after the graduation of the existing groups. The development programme package of VGD includes savings, group-based social awareness, functional education, skills training in income-generating activities and credit. These services are facilitated/ran by NGOs including RUPSA conducting all social development and IGA training to 2651 beneficiaries of VGD programmed RUPSHA Upazila in Khulna districts.
Funded by: Ministry of Women Affairs