Paper short abstract:
There is a growing concern that targeted programmes of both the government and the non-government sectors in Bangladesh have excluded the hardcore poor. With around one quarter of the rural population falling in this category, the NGO agenda has to face a major challenge.
Paper long abstract:
In public perception, the third sector generally stands for all non-profit organizations working for the common good of the people. Along with social welfare activities, interventions in the field of social mobilization and poverty reduction have became the main thrust of these organizations since the 1970s.
There is a growing concern that targeted programmes of both the government and the non-government sectors have excluded the hardcore poor. Even the best performing programmes hardly reach the bottom segment of the population. For example, much of the NGO credit is disbursed to activities with long gestation and is probably used by the "better-off poor". This leaves out the extreme poor. But with around one quarter of the rural population falling in this category, the NGO agenda has to face a major challenge.
The investment potential of the "poor" is negligible or nil. They have neither human capital (education, skill and health) nor physical capital (land, cash and equipment). Investment in the social sectors can substantially generate productive assets for the poor and create conditions under which poor can participate and take advantage of the growth process.
Expenditures in social sectors not only increase public provision of facilities, but also likely to reach the poor. Unfortunately, many NGOs are now shifting their emphasis and resources more and more from social sector programs to seemingly visible activities like micro credit.
Development of the underdeveloped