Improving Social & Economic Assets: The Asset Transfer Project
A core participant and her cow, provided by the CLP
The pioneering Asset Transfer Project (ATP) is the cornerstone of the Chars Livelihoods Programme’s (CLP) approach to lifting households out of extreme poverty. Through transfer of assets, the CLP seeks to assist households to develop more sustainable livelihoods. Asset transfers are accompanied by a package of training and support, to enable households to generate a reliable, sustainable income from their asset. Women from core participating households (CPHHs) receive a one-time transfer of an income generating asset (IGA) of their choice, worth Tk 15,500 (£150).
Asset Transfer during CLP-1
CLP-1 (2004-2010) transferred assets to 55,000 households, and data show that on average CPHHs have more than doubled the value of their assets since the initial transfer1. CLP-1 also trained over 600 “paravets” of which 387 were selected for advanced training as Livestock Services Providers (LSPs). The majority of LSPs continue to operate on the chars and run profitable businesses2.
Asset Transfer under CLP-2
CLP-2 began in April 2010 and will transfer assets to a further 67,000 households. By March 2016 the CLP aims to ensure that 85% of those households have doubled the value of their productive assets, which will benefit over 227,000 people. With improved assets, livelihoods and income, households will be better able to manage risk. Approximately 300 more LSPs will be trained to provide private-sector livestock services on the chars.
1 Mascie-Taylor, N. (2010) Comparison of the Socio-Economic Characteristics & Nutritional Status of HHs Recruited in CLP1 with Newly Recruited HHs in CLP2
2 McIvor and Hussain (2011), ‘A Study to Assess the Sustainability of Livestock Services Providers under CLP-1’3,4 Scott and Islam (2010a), Moving out of Material Poverty? The Current Assets of CLP Core Beneficiaries.’
How does Asset Transfer Benefit the Poor?
In addition to an increased asset base, which can serve as a form of savings, char families can also develop regular income streams from the sale of livestock products such as poultry and eggs, milk and manure. Many CPHHs become successful cattle rearers and the CLP has found that income from sale of cattle was primarily reinvested in more cattle and land3. Women are chosen as the recipients of assets as part of the CLP’s work to empower women, and in recognition that women are often amongst the most vulnerable members of the community. 99% of participants choose cattle as their initial asset, but households do invest in other assets such as smaller livestock, land, small businesses and rickshaws.
Supporting Assets in the Community
The CLP’s role is not restricted to simply providing the initial asset. The CLP’s package of support also includes veterinary support and training (in livestock husbandry, for example), and a stipend is provided over 18 months to offset the need to sell assets during crises and support the development of assets until they become productive and generate economic return.
Skilled agricultural and veterinary support is needed to ensure that assets remain healthy and productive. However, due to the remoteness of the chars, government and private sector services are frequently lacking. To improve supply of such services the CLP trains LSPs to provide artificial insemination, vaccination, deworming and primary treatment to livestock for all char households (CPHH and non-CPHH). Meanwhile, CPHHs receive vouchers for LSP services for a limited period, helping to stimulate demand. The CLP is currently developing an Agricultural Services Providers project, based on the LSP model, which will train local people to provide relevant services in the arable sector.
Asset transfer takes place after the annual flood period to reduce risk of diseases like foot-and-mouth disease.
Asset Transfer – Reducing Extreme Poverty?
Monitoring of CLP-1 shows that households’ asset values have generally increased and that on average incomes rose4. Households continued to build assets after support from the CLP ended, with the majority following a pathway based on the growth and sale of their primary cattle, reinvestment in more cattle and eventually diversification into other assets such as land4.