Programme 1:
Sustainable livelihoods

NETZ fights against hunger

Almost half of the children in Bangladesh and 18% of the women are undernourished. People who are involved with NETZ as donors or in any other form do not accept this kind of violence. In cooperation with extremely disadvantaged women and local partner organisations, NETZ has developed a concept of self-help that is showing the way out of this misery.

Alti Katun is now able to feed her granddaughter Zui.

48,146 families were supported through the sustainable livelihoods programme of NETZ in 2012, which enables them to earn their own income and to advocate for their own rights.

13,643 families newly joined the programme in 2012; 4,757 of them in India.

Over 125,000 people have sustainably overcome poverty since the beginning of the project in 2002.

For example: Alti Katun

Alti Katun had no possessions. No land. No cattle. No rice in stock. She used to live in a straw hut at the edge of the village. She used to earn her living as a beggar. These dire times have marked her face. NETZ has included all people in the sustainable livelihoods programme, who earned less than 20 euro cent per day. The women formed a village group; they received seed capital and participated in trainings. Alti Katun received a lease for a small piece of land and seeds. Now she grows vegetables and owns two goats. Additionally, she has planted three banana trees beside her house. “Now, I have no more time left for begging”, she says laughing and adds: “And I can feed my granddaughter Zui who lives with me.”

At a glance: Sustainable livelihoods programme for the ultra poorWho benefits?
Development of self-help structures of the poorest48,146 women organised themselves in 2,504 village groups.
Training courses in agriculture, micro business management, women's rights and health care among others13,365 women participated in training sessions.
Start-up assets distributed: cows, goats, chicken, rickshaw or seeds and the lease of a piece of land to grow rice and vegetables13,365 new families were included in the programme.
48,146 families sustainably generate their own income.This resulted in improved nutrition for more than 170,000 family members.
The women have become key actors in development and claiming their rights.Supported by the village groups, families received allowances from social safety net programmes of the government in 22,176 cases.


For the participating families, our sustainable livelihoods programme is an important step out of their misery. After three years in the project, they are making a living on their own and are able to provide food, clothes, health care and education for their children. This success has to be stabilised without external help. In 2012, the partner organisations and NETZ have further developed the programme’s concept of sustainability in several workshops. The families participating in the programme were closely included in this process. The concept: Women gradually take over more responsibility. They get trained and empowered to organise the meetings of their respective village groups on their own to 1) help each other in marketing their products, 2) stick together in times of crises and 3) advocate their interests towards the local council and other institutions.

South-South exchange

The situation in Bangladesh’s neighbouring country is just as alarming: Every third undernourished child on global scale lives in India. To enable a South-South exchange in agricultural cultivating methods and organisation methods of ultra poor women, NETZ has expanded the sustainable livelihoods programme for three years to two of India’s poorest state: Jharkhand and West Bengal

Prospect for 2013

7,475 are to receive seed capital from the sustainable livelihoods programme.

NETZ intensively promotes the economic and social empowerment of all families who have participated in the programme.

Learn more about Programme 2: Primary education.


Philipp Kappestein

Senior Programme Manager Empowerment of Ultra-Poor Women
Phone: 0 (049) 64 41 - 9 74 63-0