Small Scale Old Age and Widow Allowance for the Poor in Rural Bangladesh: An Evaluation

This study was done to explore the process of targeting, selection and benefits distribution and the use of the allowances, satisfaction, and the association of old age and widow allowances with various factors (e.g., expenditure on food and food intake behaviour, self-reported illness and health-related quality of life). These allowances are provided by the government of Bangladesh to poor widows and the elderly persons (≥65 years). A cross-sectional quantitative survey was conducted in 10 districts of Bangladesh where BRAC RED has been maintaining a demographic surveillance system since 1995 in 52 villages. The findings are organized into two sections: the first section deals with targeting, selection and benefits distribution process while the second section deals with the use of the allowances, their satisfaction with it, and association of the benefit with various socioeconomic factors. Findings reveal that the vulnerable people were more likely to benefit than the poor, but both groups benefit significantly more than the non-poor. In practice, selection processes appear to be dominated by UP members and chairmen. Most of the respondent population actively lobbied to be selected as beneficiaries, suggesting a far greater willingness to engage politically among an elderly and marginal population than would necessarily have been expected. Beneficiaries appeared to be in a better position to access valuable information about government assistance programs from UP representatives compared to those who did not benefit.

Authors: Ahmed, Syed Masud; Hossain, Naomi; Rana, AKM Masud; Zahra, Nahleen
Type: Monograph
Year: 2008