The CARE-Bangladesh/DFID Rural Livelihood Programme (RLP) was a consolidation of 3 projects: GO-INTERFISH (Greater Opportunities for Integrated Rice and Fish Production) and SHABGE (Strengthening Household Access to Bari Gardening Extension) which began in 1999, and LMP (Livelihood Monitoring Project) which was approved in December 2000. After a joint review in November 2002 it was decided to consolidate the 3 projects into the CARE RLP in order to obtain greater synergy and effectiveness in implementation.
RLP worked in 3 regional areas of Bangladesh: South East, North West East and North West West. The regional areas worked through Farmer Field School (FFS) groups and Community groups. Some of these were originally focussed on training in rice and fish production systems others on training in homestead gardening. After the FFS training were completed, the groups were trained in other topics according to their priorities and organisational development in order to improve sustainability. LMP was designed to develop tools and systems for monitoring change in livelihoods of the rural poor and to disseminate analyses of causes and issues behind livelihood changes.
This report is a result of a process of distilling the major lessons learned from the lifetime of the programme. The aim is to capture the lessons valuable for future planning and decisions on similar programmes aiming at empowering poor communities and especially women to improve their livelihood. The lesson learning process combined a desk study of available reports, case studies and monitoring data with interviews, meetings and workshops with stakeholders. The meetings with stakeholders were carried out as appreciative inquiries. The lessons emerging from the appreciative inquiries are analysed in a framework for empowerment of poor rural communities.