Bandhan-Konnagar was set up in the year 2001 to meet the essential goals of poverty alleviation and women empowerment. There is an entire suite of development programs which are aimed at bringing about holistic transformation in the underprivileged community. The organization works closely with people who live in the lowest echelons of the social system for their socio-economic progress. It constantly tries to broad base its scope of services and minimize areas of income leakage in the underprivileged families. Bandhan-Konnagar is actively engaged in the field of education, health, livelihood promotion, enterprise development, employment generation, renewable energy and the like.
Bandhan-Konnagar serves extreme poor populations in India who have not had access to traditional microfinance initiatives or are unready and reluctant to preview microfinance services. The “Targeting the Hardcore Poor” program (THP) is a high-impact poverty alleviation program focused on reaching marginalized women who are considered “extreme” or “hardcore” poor. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the program and its success.
The 24-month poverty alleviation program aims to build confidence in women through a “360” approach that addresses everything from health and lifestyle changes to financial management. The program provides women with an asset they can use to generate income, such as a sewing machine or livestock animal, trains women on business literacy and microfinance, and provides mentorship and support to increase women’s confidence.
Beneficiaries are identified through a Participatory Rural Appraisal exercise which includes rapport building, social mapping, wealth ranking and questionnaires where verification and final selection takes place.
The three main objectives of the program are:
- To improve the economic and social lives of hardcore poor families.
- To help the hardcore poor families graduate to mainstream finances, economic self-reliance, improved self-confidence and psychological well-being after 24 months of intervention.
- To form effective village committees that will act as guardians of the hardcore poor families after completion of the program
To date, Bandhan-Konnagar has reached more than 50,000 beneficiaries, in 9 states and over 35 districts and evaluation reports cite the THP program as highly effective and transformative. No other livelihood model exists quite like it, offering marginalized, extremely poor women an opportunity for expansion and economic growth leadership. Through partnerships, Bandhan-Konnagar believes they can reach their near term goal of 15-30K beneficiaries, and longer term, goal of 100K beneficiaries.