NSSS playing vital role in empowering women

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DHAKA, Feb 20, 2019 (BSS) – Struggle in life is not new for octogenarian
Nabiran Nesa as she has been fighting against poverty after her husband died
leaving her along with three minor children without any wealth.

Moreover, the elderly Nabiran’s misery has taken a turn as her three sons
got married and started living with their spouses separately. Now she is
living with her two grandsons after the wife of her elder son died.

“It is really hard to manage my living expenses as my family is now running
with the income of my two carpenter grandsons,” said Nabiran, living in
Torgubra village under Gopalganj district.

“But the government’s old age allowance programme gives me a new hope of
survival as I am getting Taka 500 per month, thanks to the government,” she
added.

Nabiran said the programme is a good initiative of the government since it
is very helpful for the poor and helpless women like her.

“The amount of Taka 500 is not much, but we can use it for buying the
medicine, I take daily, and other essential commodities,” she said.

Another safety net beneficiary Aklima Begum, 30, said she was anxious of
her uncertain future since her fruit vendor husband failed to run her six-
member family, including a new born baby.

But like many other poor mothers across the country, Aklima Begum, mother
of two children, has got relief as she is receiving maternity allowance.

“It was very difficult for my husband to bear additional expenses during my
pregnancy period and after the birth of my baby. So, I was anxious. But, when
I received Taka 3,000 for six months as maternity allowance through mobile
banking, I bought necessary things for my baby,” said Aklima, who is living
in Shatbhai para under Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj district.

Like Nabiran Nesa and Aklima, many old, widow women and poor girl students
across the country are welcoming the government’s pro-poor initiatives.

Talking to BSS, a senior official of the Civil Registration and Social
Security Branch in the Cabinet Division said the constitutional provision,
economic capacity and overall the developmental commitment of the present
government has paved the way for formulating a National Social Security
Strategy (NSSS) of Bangladesh.

The strategy aims to address the triple problems of poverty, vulnerability
and marginalization, he added.

To ensure smooth implementation of NSSS, he said, the government has
formulated an action plan on the basis of detailed stakeholder consultation
and on consideration of ground realities.

The official said the action plan is prepared for five years till 2021,
when most of the major reform proposals of the NSSS are expected to be
attained. “Over the next five years after 2021, the reform initiatives will
be continued before making transition to a lifecycle-centric social security
system mainly coordinated by the Social Welfare Ministry,” he added.

For formulating the action plan, he said, a diagnostic study carried out by
the Social Security Policy Support (SSPS) programme which was found that
women and men are not only affected by the same social and economic risks
differently, but women also face different types of risks and
vulnerabilities.

“Women face additional disadvantages due to gender based discrimination and
deprivation,” he added. The official said the National Social Security
Strategy (NSSS) action plan puts much emphasis on the issue of women
empowerment with the objective of achieving better equity and social justice.

Based on the policy guidelines of the NSSS and pursuant to a series of
action plan workshops, he said the NSSS action plan incorporates the some
activities to address gender issues in social security.

The social security programmes are Strengthen Supports for Vulnerable
Women, Introduce Child Benefit Programme (allowance to be disbursed to be
disbursed to female parents preferentially) Programme, Introduce Vulnerable
Women’s Benefit Programme, Workplace Childcare Services, Child Maintenance
Payments, Maternal Health Care, Maternity Insurance, Scale up SWAPNO
(strengthening women’s ability for productive new opportunities) project,
Scale up ‘One House-One Farm’ progrmme, Strengthen Social Allowance
(financial support or assistance or benefits) for the migrant workers and
their family members (particularly women) and Skill Development Programme for
Young Men and Women.

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