Strengthening Pourashava Governance in Bangladesh (January 2014–December 2017)

Bangladesh’s cities have experienced rapid urbanization, reaching an annual population growth rate at 3.4% in urban areas compared to the national average of 1.7% between 1990 and 2012. With increasing urbanization, the local governments have faced new challenges of environmental degradation, the growing number of the urban poor, and the inadequate supply of public services.

Bangladesh’s urban local governments are divided into City Corporations and Pourashavas (municipalities). Unlike City Corporations, Pourashavas are located closer to rural areas and are expected to work for the vitalization of its local economy, including the surrounding rural areas. While addressing the multi-faceted issues of urbanization require a large investment of resources, Pourashavas had limited financial and human capital at their disposal to respond to the growing challenges of an increasing population.

The objective of the project was to strengthen the administrative capacity of Pourashavas in Bangladesh. Activities undertaken to reach this objective include creating an action plan to reach mid- and long-term capacity development goals and providing institutional support to Pourashavas in the pilot program to facilitate the implementation of the action plan. Institutional support included the development of guidelines to improve administrative capacity of Pourashavas and a training program for the government officials. A report highlighting the lessons learned from the pilot program was published to improve training tools and to be shared with Pourashavas around the country.