Alternative income generating support

Published: 23 July 2020
Last edited: 05 August 2020

Since 2009, the government has been offering support (e.g. training, refresher courses and micro-credit) to help fishers generate income from alternative livelihoods such as livestock rearing and small businesses. Since 2015, WorldFish has been working with the government to improve this approach in selected communities through a project called 'Enhanced Coastal Fisheries in Bangladesh' (ECOFISH-BD). For example, the project has established Community Savings Groups (CSGs) for women in these communities to enhance saving behaviours of fishing households. Members receive training in financial literacy and the importance of sustainable hilsa fishery management for their livelihoods and wellbeing. They are encouraged to save BDT 100 (just over US$1) every month, and when a CSG hits a saving target of BDT 25,000, ECOFISH matches the saving. This is expected to incentivise further saving and improve the socioeconomic position of fishing households so that they are more able to comply with fishing restrictions and diversify their livelihoods.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Review phase

Enabling factors

The success of incentives in the form of livelihood diversification support depends on identifying appropriate and socially acceptable types of support. In turn this requires rigorous and participatory assessments of community needs and preferences.

Lessons learned

The government's alternative income generation support had limited uptake and impact due to an initial lack of stakeholder engagement and needs assessment. ECOFISH-BD has been addressing this by identifying more appropriate types of support and establishing the local institutions and adaptive co-management systems required to support livelihood diversification, but it remains to be seen whether these policies and institutions will survive beyond the project's lifespan.


There is also evidence that disproportionate benefits have been accrued by landowners, rather than the most vulnerable, landless fishing households with the lowest income levels. This issue highlights the necessity for inclusive incentive schemes to use systematic and positive bias in favour of those most in need.