our approach

PPRC uses a holistic approach to research, utilizing economic, anthropological, political economy, business and sociological insights. With networks into grass root as well as policy circles, we are able to capture changing realities and evolving aspirations. This, incorporated with cutting edge research methods, compelling analytical presentation and strategic policy advocacy, help us to distinguish our work.

PPRC plays a key role at every stage of a project. For the research conducted by the institute, we conceptualize and develop the research design, followed by implementation of the research with a combination of primary and secondary data analysis. The primary and secondary data is processed and analyzed to produce analytical reports, policy briefs and academic publications.


An important aim that the Centre defined for itself from the beginning was not only to undertake activities but to do so with a larger goal of being consequential whether in big or small ways. Pursuing such an aim required clarity in understanding impact. PPRC has been pursuing impact in three spheres:

PPRC’s contribution to innovative research methodologies and approaches spans across multiple themes with particular attention to mixed-method approaches combining quantitative and qualitative instruments. The Centre’s experiences has been collated into several publications that are used as source materials by various stakeholders. The participatory approach championed by PPRC has entailed innovating multiple approaches to stakeholder engagement and conducting consultations, big and small.

PPRC’s unique advocacy style has always involved bridging quality economic research with social activism, leading to what we term as ‘Research Activism.’ This has allowed PPRC to develop linkages both within diverse grass-root circles as well policy and political circles.

Since the onset of Covid-19, PPRC has significantly extended its tool-kit on research methodology, refining the use of telephonic surveys, re-purposing contact databases from earlier surveys and switch to online data-entry that cut down processing time.


Successful policy influencing requires mobilization of researched evidence, its transformation into effective policy messages, targeting of the relevant policy audience and perseverance in facilitating outcomes. These outcomes whether in terms of changes in policy mind-sets or in specific reform results have been a key objective. PPRC’s research and advocacy activities have directly contributed to policy changes in four specific areas:


Local governance

PPRC was instrumental in contributing to scaling up policy attention to the local government agenda. In 2002, PPRC facilitated the formation of the Local Government Support Group with high profile national actors and together with the Ministry of Local Government co-organized an international conference on Local Government: Issues and way Forward out of which many specific policy steps later followed. These included financial strengthening of rural local government through block grants from around 2004, opening of a position of elected women vice-chair in the upazila parishad in 2008, introduction of orientation training for newly elected union parishad chairman and members in 2003. More recently, PPRC has been working with the association of city mayors, on issues such as strengthening the role of urban local governance in labor intensive public works, road safety, urban social protection etc.



PPRC research starting from the 1990s played an instrumental role in bringing the issue of monga or extreme seasonal poverty in northern districts to greater national attention. This was pursued through a large-scale DFID-supported four district comprehensive study, pre- and post-season regional and national workshops organized by PPRC and the promotion of a holistic strategy to address the multiple causes of such extreme poverty.



PPRC undertook background research with DFID support to contribute to the formulation of the poverty reduction strategy of the government in 2004, particularly in the section on poverty analytics. The preparation of this document served as a template in many ways for subsequent five-yearly national development plans. PPRC Chair served as the lead consultant in the preparation of the document titled Unlocking the Potential.



As a corollary to the preparation of the poverty reduction strategy of the government in 2004, PPRC co-organized together with the General Economics Division of the Planning Commission the first national workshop to moot the idea of a comprehensive approach to social protection in Bangladesh. Subsequently, the Centre with UNDP support undertook a 2-volume assessment of safety net programs (2009-11) that led to the international conference on social protection in 2011 in Dhaka inaugurated by the Honourable Prime Minister. PPRC Chair, on request from the GED, Planning Commission subsequently prepared the framework paper for the preparation of the National Social Security Strategy that was adopted in 2015. PPRC also organized a regional policy webinar on “Covid impact and Social Protection Challenges” in June 2021.



As societies evolve, new challenges and issues arise. Throughout its two decades plus existence, PPRC has been keenly attentive to bringing new priorities to national policy attention. Over the past decade through research and advocacy, PPRC has been a key player in scaling up national attention to three emerging priorities:


Urban Bangladesh

Through a series of studies supported by the World Bank and in partnership with the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, PPRC has been contributing to building a multi-dimensional urban data-base and discourse in Bangladesh. The Centre organized two international conferences in 2012 and 2016 on urban dynamics and urban poverty respectively and has been working to build a meso-level urban agenda in partnership with mayors of secondary cities.


Healthy Bangladesh

In 2015, PPRC with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank organized the first international conference on universal health coverage (UHC) in Bangladesh. PPRC’s interest in the health agenda arose from the twin realization that health is a poverty driver unless out-of-pocket health expenses are brought within rational levels and that health can also be a growth driver through a holistic agenda of healthcare and social determinants of health leading to a healthier population. In 2017, PPRC facilitated the establishment of a multi-profession civic platform Healthy Bangladesh in the presence of the Health Minister. PPRC has been promoting a grass-root discourse on the multi-dimensional health agenda and preparing an analytical framework on UHC progress indicators. PPRC, Healthy Bangladesh and UNDP distributed PPEs during Covid-19 to municipality workers in 16 municipalities and 1 city corporation. PPRC and Healthy Bangladesh also urged national policy action towards combating Covid-19 second wave in 2021.


Road safety

Road fatalities has become a new and terrifying epidemic as Bangladesh plunges headlong into chaotic urbanization and road transportation eclipses other modes of transportation. With support from BRAC, the Centre undertook a holistic and comprehensive research study in 2013 to sharpen understanding of the key issues on road safety and where and how solutions are best pursued. In 2016, PPRC and BRAC fostered the coming into existence of a new civic platform – Safe Roads and Transport Alliance (SROTA) – to pursue national-level advocacy on the road safety agenda. The continuing lack of accountability and enforcement due to entrenched vested interests underscores the formidable nature of the challenge but the issue has now graduated to a critical national concern particularly after an unprecedented protest by school children. In 2021, PPRC conducted a rapid assessment for the World Bank to promote a gender sensitive road safety agenda.



Ajker Agenda

Policy Conversation Series With Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman With the aim of promoting policy discourse beyond formal policy circles, ‘Ajker Agenda’ seeks to integrate voices from policymakers, academicians, government officials, students, and grassroots actors in a meaningful manner through economic, sociological, anthropological and political lenses. The first tri-episode series centred on “Rethinking Development Indicators”, while the most recent was on "Turning Points".

1989 – 1998

Formative Years

The PPRC team had its origin in the 62 Village Analysis of Poverty Trends Project (APT) initiated by Hossain Zillur Rahman at BIDS in 1989. The project lasted till 1998 and played a crucial role in influencing poverty reduction strategies in Bangladesh. The Rethinking Rural Poverty book was published by SAGE International (1995) based on the  APT project research.


PPRC Inception

The formal launch of PPRC occurred through the registration of PPRC as a Trust in 1996. The initial Trustee Board consisted of APT researchers and associates from civil society. 


The Journey Starts

The formal journey of PPRC began with a governance research supported by the Ford Foundation and self funded research on elections and citizens’ opinions on political trends.


Conference on Poverty: Emerging Challenges 

Professor Teodor Shanin of Manchester University and colleagues from South Africa and Professor Ahmed Kamal from Dhaka University at PPRC office.


Research Activism

PPRC team undertook a self funded social rehabilitation initiative of flood affected urban poor in Rishipara, Keraniganj. On the research front, PPRC introduced an innovative urban research methodology: The report card on quality of urban services in Dhaka City.


Logo Unveiling

Nobel Laureate Dr.Yunus inaugurates the new PPRC office.


PPRC Initiates Electoral Research

PPRC undertook investigation into voter list anomalies at the request of the the-then Chief Election commissioner and citizen opinion surveys on the 2001 election. PPRC Chairman Dr. Hossain Zillur speaks to the media at the release ceremony of the study results.


Launch of Local Government Support Group

After nearly a year of mobilizational efforts on decentralization, PPRC facilitated the launch of the civil society platform, Local Government Support Group, with Professor Yunus as convener and PPRC as secretariat. All key decentralization advocates were on the platform.


Partnership with Government

PPRC in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government organized the first ever national orientation workshop for the newly elected Union Parishad chairman and members.


Strategic Planning

The PPRC team went on a strategic retreat at BARD, Comilla to chart its next focus areas. 


Nurturing Young Researchers

Developing research capacity, particularly of younger researchers is a key goal of PPRC. PPRC organized its first interactive methodological workshop. The three day workshop brought established and younger researchers from universities and research organizations around the country. PPRC also awarded research grants to selected young researchers.


Felicitating Nobel Win

PPRC was the core organizer of the largest national reception to Professor Yunus upon his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The PPRC together with partners organized the event on 16th October, 2006 at the BICC just three days after he was awarded the prize. 


Unbundling Governance

Book launching event of PPRC’s prominent publication on Bangladesh governance, ‘Unbundling Governance’. Professor Rehman Sobhan, Dr.Hua Du, and Dr. Akbar Ali Khan were present among other prestigious panelists.


PPRC Chairman Inducted into Caretaker Cabinet

PPRC Chairman was appointed Advisor (Cabinet Minister) for Education and Commerce in the Caretaker Government. 


Pitha Uthshob

PPRC hosted a “Pitha Uthshob” ( winter festival with local delicacies) to celebrate the Bangali New Year. The event brought together partners, friends and family of the PPRC family with pitha, music and cultural programs on the occasion of the Chairman’s rejoining after his stint in the Caretaker Government. 


PPRC Studies the Global Recession Aftermath

PPRC’s work involves analyzing both national and international economic scenes. The policy seminar titled “Global Recession and Bangladesh Economy: Macro and Meso Trends” showcased research from a PPRC study in the presence of thought leader and stakeholders.


Scaling up Social Protection Research

The final volume of the two-volume comprehensive study of social safety nets was launched by the State Minister for planning and UNDP country director in the presence of a cross sectional group of high profile stakeholders. The PPRC study led to the international conference on social protection later that year inaugurated by the honorable Prime Minister.


Bringing Urban Economy into Research Focus

PPRC opened a major new research front on urban economics that culminated in the launch of the publication, ‘Bangladesh Urban Dynamics’ at an international conference in Dhaka.  


Building Chittagong As A Skill-based Global City

The Chittagong research Initiative was launched by PPRC with initial support from the AK Khan Foundation to provide a research based platform for development issues specific to Chittagong.


Social Protection Book Launch

Social Protection has been one of PPRC’s core theme areas to work on. PPRC, in partnership with UNDP and University of Manchester Poverty Institute, published an international publication on this topic called, ‘Social Protection In Bangladesh.’ The book was authored by a rich body of international researchers – Dr. Hossain Zillur Rahman, Chairman of PPRC, Dr. David Hulme, Professor of Development Studies, Dr. Mathilde Maitrot and Luigi Peter Ragno.


International UHC Conference

PPRC in partnership with Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank organized a three-day international health conference on “Realising Universal Health Goals”. Public health experts from home and abroad including, economist Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Public Health Dr Somsak Chunaharas, and World Federation of Association of Paediatric Surgeons President Dr DK Gupta, called for stronger efforts in achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in Bangladesh that ensures quality healthcare for all without financial hardships.


International Conference on Urban Poverty

Based on the urban research supported by the World Bank, and partnered by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS),  PPRC organised a two-day international conference on urban poverty that brought together a wide spectrum of  national, regional and international experts and advocates.


Launch of Healthy Bangladesh

Following the international UHC conference in 2015 and a two-year mobilization effort, PPRC facilitated the launch of a new civic platform, Healthy Bangladesh. A pioneering effort under the Healthy Bangladesh platform, PRERONA (meaning “inspiration” in Bangla) is a series of regional dialogues and TV talk shows on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) advocacy. PRERONA was implemented in 11 districts across Bangladesh.


Excluded Groups Research

This three and a half year project combined research, investigation, dissemination of knowledge products, sharing skills and efforts to promote participation and representation of the socially excluded groups of Bangladesh to effectively map the communities and focus on their specific predicaments and requirements. Several books were published in collaboration with SEHD.



Budget Tracking: SDG 6 – WASH

PPRC, in collaboration with WaterAid, has been working on a project analyzing trends in budget allocation and expenditure on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related projects using secondary data on annual government WASH budget allocation to report on efficiency and gaps related to this issue.


Capacity Assessment of Urban Governance

PPRC, in collaboration with WaterAid, has been working on a project analyzing trends in budget allocation and expenditure on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related projects using secondary data on annual government WASH budget allocation to report on efficiency and gaps related to this issue.



Inputs Into 8th Five Year Plan

PPRC made a considerable contribution towards the 8th Five Year Plan for the Government of Bangladesh, focusing and helping further the governance and population management agenda.


আজকের Agenda: Policy Conversation Series with Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman

আজকের Agenda: policy conversation series with Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman
With the aim of promoting policy discourse beyond formal policy circles, ‘আজেকর Agenda’ seeks to integrate voices from policymakers, academicians, government officials, students, and grassroots actors in a meaningful manner through economic, sociological, anthropological and political lenses. The first tri-episode series centred on “Rethinking Development Indicators”, while the most recent was on “Turning Points”. 



PPRC-BIGD Covid-19 Impact Research

PPRC, in partnership with Brac Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD), launched a research project to understand the immediate coping mechanisms of low-income people. Phase I – ‘Livelihoods, Coping, and Support during COVID-19’ was carried out in April 2020 and Phase II in June 2020, with support from World Food Program (WFP). Phases III and IV was carried out in March and August 2021 respectively. PPRC’s publication on ‘Livelihoods, Coping and Recovery during Covid-19 Crisis’ was launched at the event.


The PPRC regional policy webinar on ‘COVID Impact and Social Protection Challenges: Urban and the New Poor’ drew on the multi-round PPRC-BIGD Study as well as PPRC policy papers on urban social protection priorities and response to Covid-19.



PPRC-UNFPA Embark On A Four-year Strategic Advocacy Partnership

PPRC and UNFPA jointly organized a multistakeholder national workshop and several focused roundtables for the accelerated realization of the ICPD 3 Zeroes Agenda of zero unmet need for family planning/SRHR, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero gender-based violence (GBV).