Digital Women Empowerment in Rural Bangladesh

Mashiat
Posted May 28, 2014 from Bangladesh

Women Empowerment in Bangladesh Keywords: Digital Empowerment, Online training, Women Empowerment. The Problems in Kadir Hanif and Eklaspur Unions In KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions situated in the Noakhali district of southeastern Bangladesh, family relations are structured under a patriarchal society. According to a socio-economic and demographic report from 2011, approximately 37,790 females live in male headed households in KadirHanif and Eklaspur combined. In these families,female members are deprived of family property,which is typically transferred through the male line. Furthermore, lack of access to resources (money, land, gold ornaments and other valuable property), many women in their families live under the authority of male members for their entire lives.

Most women in poor families do not have access to paid work. These women are heavily dependent on male family members for their living expenses. Only a few women who have the access to education due to their wealthy family backgrounds are able to take up paid jobs in the public sector as teachers, nurses and doctors in the urban areas of Noakhali. For the vast majority of poor women withlittle orno education, economic opportunities, particularly paid jobs in the public arena, are extremely limited. Due to poor quality of life, these women also lack confidence and recourses, preventing them from taking effective steps to break a lifelong cycle of poverty and dependency.

These women are forced to follow purdah norms, which further restrict their mobility in the public domain. Traditionally, these women are encouraged to fulfilltheir reproductive responsibilities and household duties.Women continue to be devaluedand are identified as inferior members within the family and society.Moreover, most women get married between the age of 15 and 25. Most women marry inside and outside of their own community, and almost all marriages are arranged by family members. Women have little decision making power in choosing their life partners. After marriage, these young married women are perceivedas “property of their husbands” by in-laws. Scholars like Bennet and Manderson point out that under patriarchy, one of the core themes is “women as male property” . This ideology reinforces the idea that before marriage, women are considered as the property of their fathers, and after marriage, of their husbands (Bennet and Manderson 2000: 10).

After marriage, when young married women move to husbands’ homes, they lose the support of their parental family, as well as the ability to contribute to their natal family.These women struggle with their in-laws’ families to establish their position as wives until they give birth to at least one son.Families prefer sons over daughters because a son helps to secure his mother’s position in her husband’s home. Traditionally, people believe that sons carry on the family line and are the future breadwinners, especially for females.Society considers a son as “insurance” for his elderly parents. As a result, young females under eighteen years old are forced to undergo multiple pregnancies. Some elderly women between the age of 40 and 55 years mention that they had to get pregnant at least eleven times to give birth to more sons. They also said that because of poor access to healthcare and nutritious food, many of their sons died. In order to ensure that their sons would survive, these women were obliged to get pregnant every one or two years, for as long as they were able to carry children.

In addition, over the past half century in Bangladesh, the practice of “dowry” (the tradition in which the bride’s family gives money or other material resources like land, electronic items and expensive ornaments to the groom’s family as marriage gifts ) favors the groom’s family, making daughters an even greater economic burden to their parents. The culture of dowryreinforces a strong tendency to prefer sons instead of daughters, to get benefits through sons’ weddings. Consequently, if a woman is unable to give birth to a son, she may be divorced or become the victim of violence from her in-law family members. Some women have confessed to killing their newborn daughters; othersexplain that they provided nutritious food, medical care, and access to education to their sons, but not their daughters,who bring anegative reputation to mothers within the family and the society. In Kadir Hanif and Eklaspur unions, the overall consequences of interrelated social norms and traditional practices force females to remain economically dependent on male family membersfor much of their lives. These also restrict accessto material resources; reduce their confidence, self-esteem, and mobility outside the home. Unmarried girls, middle-age married and elderly women remain burden for their family members and society. These females are also perceived as caregivers and homemakers in the society who are expected to do nothing but goodfortheir fathers, husbands, sons, grandsons and future generations of male family members.

Realistic Solutions

The WEB team innovated realistic solutions to provide an effective platform for these women to secure themselves against the growing insecurities of patriarchal norms and cultural and traditional oppressive practices within families and societies. The WEB team planned to offer vocational, professional, online and financial literacy skills for 3,000 women aged from 15 to 45 years old within three years in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions. We were passionate that by utilizing these development skills, these females wouldhave the access to paid, decent and productive jobs and business opportunities outside of their homes. We believed that paid employment would bring maximum positive changes in their lives. We thought that these female employees would earn a certain amount of money each month. We also assumed that their ability to earn an income would give them the opportunity to access some resources of their own to fight back against poverty and violence. Yes, our innovation did appear as a realistic step which created opportunities for 810 women in KadirHanif and Eklaspur Unions.

Why and How the WEB Formed

Phase 1

In Noakhali, the WEB team has chosen KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions as project areas because three of our WEB team members were born and grew up in KadirHanif union and have familiarity in Eaklaspur unions. WEB team members personally experienced extreme poverty and is familiar with the norms of patriarchyand its consequences. In addition to that, in 2012, from May to August, three members of the WEB team conducted a survey in these two unions for academic research purposes.

By conducting several surveys in these unions, we came to know about female members’ sufferings and needs. Many female survey participants requested us to work further to provide paid work opportunities for them. In 2012, some of our WEB team members worked as interns with Gharani (a non-profit, non-government organization for women) in Noakhali. With the help of Gharani, we conducted a quantitative survey research in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions. Our results indicate that among 500 women aged between15 to 45 years old, 100 women wanted to have access to paid work to improve their economic and personal situations. Considering the total number of women—about 37,790 women in the two unions combined—we estimate that approximately 7,460 are willing to participate in paid jobs and the business market.

Due to the large number of females potentially interested in paid jobs and business opportunities, we conducted another survey to learn more about local non-government organizations (NGOs). The survey resultsrevealed that some NGOs provide micro-finance facilities for women, but these NGOs do not work to create paid employment and business opportunities for these needy and interested women. Some NGO representatives mentioned that many women and their family members are not willing to take micro-finance loans, because some of them believe that loans which require paying interestinvolved sudh,and that was therefore un-Islamic (Islam prohibits sudh). In addition, women’s family members prevented women to take loans because they were fearful that women would struggle in making repayments.

By considering these survey results, in 2013, our four team members developed a project proposal named “Women Empowerment in Bangladesh (WEB), a 6 month empowerment project that aimed to introduce concepts of social innovation, community intervention, social business, information and communication technologies (ICT) implementation, vocational (hand and machine embroidery, needle work, sewing, block, butik, vegetation and tree plantation, food making and processing (pickles, sauces and fruit jelly) and professional development (communication and public relations, marketing, finance management, computer use, online research) training for 1,000 unskilled women. The WEB project also provided ready-made products (mosquito nets, energy saving lights, agricultural seeds, tea, shoes, garment cloths, mobiles, mini solar, stoves, electric switches, sockets, indicators and cutouts) from Grameen Distribution Limited without any mortgage for 1000 interested women in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions.

In February 2013, the WEB members visited the two unions and conducted twenty awareness campaigns with local leaders and community members in villages to provide information related to paid jobs and businesses, workshops and training opportunities for women. By the help of local leaders and community members, we established ten groups in KadirHanif union and ten groups in Eklaspur union. In every group, there were fifty female members. Thesewomen could be placed in three main demographic categories of women who do not typically work with one another: higher secondary school, college and university students (15-25 years old), housewives and mothers with primary schooling (25-35 years old), and elderly women who hold some power and respect in the community and home but lack an educational background (35-45 years old).

In March 2013, WEB recruited five part-time female trainers who conducted vocational workshops: {1) handicraft, 2) poultry and fishing, 3) vegetables and trees plantation} and professional training {4) communication, public relation, and marketing, and 5) banking/financial literacy} for 1000 women. Between March 2013 and July 2013, every month a trainer conducted four workshops every Friday (national holiday) from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm (in the afternoon, women typically get a few hours of free time from household work). Over the span of five months, all five workshop topics were covered.

In August 2013, WEB conducted a qualitative research study among twenty vocational workshops and professional training participants. WEB members chose qualitative research participants randomly. For example, from each group (50 female members), one research participant was chosen through a lottery process. However, for quantitative research, three members from each group (three demographic categories of females) were chosen, for a total of 60 survey participants. Both qualitative and quantitative research results show that the paid female employees of WEB have greater access to a paid income, financially stability in families, more access to and control over recourses, more decision making power, increase respect within and outside home, equal power relations inside home, extent of mobility, and access to formal and informal network inside and outside of community. We categorized paid work experiences of female employees in three categories: 1) economic impacts, 2) personal impacts, and 3) social impacts.

Demographical Category of Female Paid Employees of WEB: 15 to 25 years old

Among 26 (15 to 25 years old) research participants, all of the participants mentioned that females aged (15 to 25 years old) who had participated in vocational and professional workshops and training were seen to have helped in improving their own economic circumstances. Most of them say that from August 2013, they earn $62.5/ 5000 BD Taka per month. Every one of them saves 20% that means $12.5/1000 taka monthly in their own saving accounts. One of the WEB handicraft workshop participants Parven, illustrates that “I am very happy because I earn 5000 taka ($62.5) per month. I spend 2,000 taka ($25) for my academic purposes. I also contribute 2,000 ($25) for my parents’ expenses. Now I am not a burden for my parents anymore. After completing my Masters Degree, I would like to plan to marry a well educated man. I also prefer only two children because small family is a happy family”.

The research report also illustrates that young females who earn money are able to continue their higher studies because they are capable of paying for their college fees and academic expenses. Moreover, economic independence gives young girls more opportunity to decide whether they want to get married or not, which reduces forceful early marriage practices. Moreover, financial stability also helps girls to delay their parents’ tendency towards arranging early marriages. Economically independent girls are also able to save them from early and risky motherhood and are capable to reduce high risk of maternal and child mortality rates. These young women are also seen as “models of young energetic girls” in the society. These young girls are confident about their future and they are able to plan a good future planning for them and their families.

WEB research result shows that young female employees in WEB gained self-confidence and self-esteem by getting paid work opportunities. Many of the young WEB paid female employees mentioned that their male family members support them and encouraged them to work in the WEB project. Some girls state that they are well respected by members of society. Many of them expressed their ideas by saying that their self-confidence has developed and they wish to maintain their self-confidence.

The WEB research report point outs that married women who are involved in a paid work have greater access of mobility outside of home. Many research participants mentioned that they can access more decision making power within their family. Nine married women mentioned that they can decide whether their children would attend school or not. They can also choose schools for their children. Women are also allowed to decide about their children’s’ health care matters. 15 women mentioned that now their husbands discuss with them about the number of children they would like to have. Seven women stated that their husbands also discuss with them family issues and ask for their opinions. Most of the women said that before being involved with WEB, they had very limited decision making power in their families. Some of them expressed that their husbands even decided what meals they would cook every day. However, eighteen women said that currently, they do not need to ask permission from their husbands to go outside. These women expressed that they have more informal networks with other women in society. Hasina said, “Now, I go outside of home and meet with neighboring women because they are my customers. I talk with local women and inform them about the facilities I get from WEB. I also tell other women about how my husband’s behavior changed in a positive way after my involvement in the WEB project”.Among twenty-eight married middle aged women, seventeen women stated that currently, they have more access to and control over resources for them and their husbands.

Phase 1 Challenges WEB Faced

The WEB research report also focuses on some negative impacts of paid work on some WEB participants’ lives. For example, one female employees of WEB aged 25 years old mentioned that “I am very enthusiastic about my paid work. My job helps me to be financially independent, however my elder brother told me to leave the job. I asked him the reason, why he thinks that I should leave the job. He said that he does not have any answer, but his friends told to him that women working outside of the home perceive in the society as bad women. So, my brother forces me to leave my job. Now, I am facing difficultiesto take decision”.

Another participant, aged seventeen, said that one of her male relatives told her that women who work in public areas do not get a chance to marry gentlemen. He mentioned that men do not like to marry working women because working women do not do domestic work. Some of our female participants articulated that their parents are anxious about their future marital life. Moreover, not only unmarried girls, but also married women age 25 to 35 years old face difficulties to balance their domestic and paid work. Bukul (35 years old) female communication, public relation and marketing training participant point outs that “Sometimes, I face challenges to communicate with male customers in my community. Previously, I did not talk to them. Now, have the access to interact with men, but I am not comfortable to communicate with men customers”.

Another participant named Popy (32 years old) participant’s of financial literacy training mentioned that “Now, I have a bank account. I love my saving account because I save money there to fulfill my dreams. However, my husband does not like my knowledge about finance and banking. He said that I am becoming very clever and he would face difficulties to control me in future. He is kind of insecure because I earn money. I am worried; he might scold me further because of my new knowledge about managing money”.

The WEB report illustrates that WEB team members need to take some easier and culturally informed innovative steps to deal with raising challenges and to ensure WEB’s maximum success. Phase 2: The WEB Innovation

The WEB is in its second stage, based on a proven successful model which was tested with 1000 women and was successful in bringing 810 women out of poverty. WEB team members are proposing “The Women Empowerment Project in Noakhali, Bangladesh” (WEB) which aims to empower women from three diverse demographics withprofessional skills, ranging from traditional vocational embroidery, handicraft, poultry, fishing, vegetables and trees plantation to online entrepreneurship to promote financial inclusion, personal and social empowerment of 3,000 women outside the home.

Since April 2013, WEB has successfully worked with 810 women and partnered with local organization and corporation such as Gharani and Grameen Distribution Limited. WEB is unique because we categorize and reach three main demographics of women who do not typically have networks with one another; high school, college and university students (15-25 years old), housewives and mothers with primary schooling (25-35 years old), and women who hold power in the community and home but lack an educational background (35-45 years old).

Additionally, we provide communication, public relation and online marketing training to our female participants. WEB works not only out of our shop and town markets, but goes door to door to reach Muslim women who cannot interact with men outside the home and are opening an online shop where we can reach the wider Bangladeshi market. Our project is innovative because of our online technologies; broad community engagement and culturally informed practices are welcomed in our project areas.

Phase 2: WEB Project Operation

The WEB will provide a better service that aims to create paid jobs and business opportunities for 3,000 local unskilled females in two unions,KadirHanif and Eklaspur. WEB will operate as a private non-profit under the formally registered NGO, Gharani (Registration No. 74/99 Noakhali, Women Affairs Department under the Ministry of Women Affairs of Bangladesh). In Noakhali, Gharani has been running for more than eighteen years. Gharani focuses on domestic violence awareness projects and helps domestic violence victims and servitors through vocational training. Gharani’s founder, Ms. Popy, trained many women in handicrafts and embroidery in Noakali. However, currently, Gharani lacks human recourses and especially a workforce that can work on behalf of Gharani and introduce Gharani to the international community. The innovators of this project are four young and energetic undergraduate students who have access to human recourses, youth leadership, and English language skills are eager to assist a renowned organization like Gharani. Gharani has experiences and access to many females in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions.

In addition, WEB also collaborated with Grameen Distribution Limited, which focuses on social business (social business is created for social benefits rather than private profits). Grameen Distribution Limited will provide its ready-made products (mosquito nets, energy saving lights, agricultural seeds, tea, shoes, garment cloths, mobiles, mini solar, stoves, electric switches, sockets, indicators and cutouts) for WEB’s 3,000 female paid employees.When WEB’s female employees will have vocational and professional training, our female employees sell Grameen Distribution Limited’s products in their communities and earn money for their personal expenses. By collaborating with us, Grameen Distribution Limited gets recognition in local communities and does not need human recourses and publicity expenses to build a market for their products. When the WEB team conducts community campaigns and creates several groups consisting of female members in the society, Gharani and Grameen Distribution Limited would be benefited by collaborating with WEB. To reach female members who are victims of domestic violence, Gharani does not need to spend time and money and Grameen Distribution Limited will get 3000 marketing representatives with collaborating with WEB. They can get their project participants by attending WEB’s community campaign. Gharani and WEB’s partnership is mutually beneficial, and also helps us to avoid conflict and competition in similar project areas. In January 2014, to continue WEB Phase 2, a project office will be rented from January 2014 to December 2016 in KadirHanif union. Next, six fulltime WEB office staff (Project Manager, Assistant Project Manager, Online Project Monitoring Officer, Project Field Officer, Project Field Officer, and Office Support Staff) will be recruited by the advisory committee members of WEB. In addition, three part-time trainers (specialized in handicraft making, specialized in poultry, fishing, and vegetables and trees plantation, and specialized in communication/public relation, and marketing) will be also recruited. In 2013, during WEB Phase1, the team conducted twenty (ten in KadirHanif+ ten in Eklaspurunions) community campaigns to reach approximately 1,000 local women. As a result, from January 2014 to December 2016, we aim to conduct forty (twenty in KadirHanif+ twenty in Eklaspur unions) community campaigns to reach approximately 2,200 new female participants.

To achieve WEB objectives, we team members consider traditional media and information and communication technologies (ICT) as important mediums for creating awareness among community members and ensuring this project’s success. Posters and pamphlets will be used to advertise the WEB project and upcoming campaigns in the community. Local newspapers, journalists and local channels of Noakhali Cable TV Network, and mobiles will be significant mediums to promote the WEB campaign to a wider audience.

To strengthen the WEB Phase 2, we also plan to sign agreements with the head of the KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions to ensure that the local leaders provide us with access to work with local community members. Furthermore, in each community campaign, we will organize an open discussion session where campaign participants will be able to raise questions regarding WEB and its activities. Furthermore, to have sustainability of WEB campaign, we intend to have online registration opportunities for women participants to later contact them via mobile for vocational and professional trainings and paid job opportunities. Our WEB office staff will collect information from interested female community members and register necessary information on behalf of the WEB female participants.

With the help of local leaders and community members, we plan to establish thirty groups in KadirHanif union and thirty total sixty groups in Eklaspur union. In every group, there will be fifty women members. In KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions, twenty groups {(ten groups’ in each union (10*50=500)} 1000 females’ age 15-25 years old will be selected as WEB participants. Most of these young girls will be the students of high schools, colleges and universities. From January 2014 to December 2014, these girls will be trained in handicrafts and embroidery. Between January 2015 and December 2015, they will learn about online research and online marketing, skills related to communication, public relations, marketing door to door and managing a bank account from the trainer. Additionally, from January 2016 to December 2016, these young girls will get training in poultry and fishing.

At the same time, in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions, twenty groups {(ten groups’ in each union (1050=500)} 1000 females’ age 25-35 years old will be selected as WEB participants. Most of these middle aged married women will have primary or little education and most of them will be housewife and mothers. From January 2014 to December 2014, these women will be trained in poultry and fishing. Between January 2015 and December 2015, they will develop skills related to communication, public relation, marketing door to door and managing a bank account from the trainer. From January 2016 to December 2016, these housewives will get training in handicrafts and embroidery. Furthermore, , in KadirHanif and Eklaspur unions, twenty groups {(ten groups’ in each union (1050=500)} 1000 females’ age 35-45 years old will be selected as WEB participants. Most of these elderly age married women will have primary or little or no education and most of them will be housewives, mothers and grandmothers. From January 2014 to December 2014, these women will be trained in poultry and fishing. From January 2015 to December 2015, these housewives women will get training in handicraft and embroidery. Between January 2016 and December 2016, they will develop skills related to communication, public relations, marketing door to door and managing a bank account from the trainer.

By categorizing female members in three demographic categories, the WEB team ensures that girls from 15 to 25 years old have the vocational and professional development training. Through vocational training, these girls will know the basic of making handicrafts and embroidery. Online research training will help these girls gain access to more opportunities and expand their knowledge with national and international producers and customers. These girls can produce excellence products and can get demands from customers who are living in different districts in Bangladesh. Through the help of communication, public relations and door to door marketing training, they will improve their communication skills and will be more confident to present their products and convince their customers. In the future, these girls will be able to build strong professional relationships with company representatives, which will be helpful when applying as full time employees in various organizations. Girls are also encouraged to share their designs, product and business projects to people, which can also create a better opportunities for them to start their own business. By utilizing poultry and fishing training, these can also be beneficial by providing nutritious food for their family members and to sell to local and national markets. By learning about how to manage bank accounts, girls get access to very practical resource management skill which can beneficial for rest of their lives. By saving a little portion from their monthly earning, girls ensure financial security for their future education and profession careers.

Similarly, middle and elderly age women also get opportunities to develop their vocational and professional skills. Now, these women are able to earn at least $62.5 each month. These women can spend some amount of their earnings for their children’s academic and necessary purposes. They can also contribute their money for family expenses. A little portion of money $12.5, they can save in their bank accounts. In the future, few women together or individually can start their own businesses. Some of the women can use their money in their elderly age which will help them to not become burden for their husbands, sons, grandsons and other male members in the family. From WEB’s Phase 1, it is shown that women’s participation in paid work ensures their financial independency, greater access of decision making power, more respect inside and outside home, more negotiating power to decide family issues, improvement of self-confidence and self-esteem, more access to mobility in public arena, greater access to and control over resources and access to formal and informal resources.

Additionally, in December 2016, WEB plans to conduct a quantitative study focusing on 3,000 (1000 from each demographic category) female beneficiary. This research will be helpful to measure WEB’s success or failure through numbers. WE will be able to express that how many of women participants’ exercise decision making power in their families. Additionally, a qualitative study will be also conducted, focusing on 300 (100 from each demographic category) female beneficiaries to find out the answers in a describe way. For example, what are the reasons that provided women more decision making power in their families? Both of the researches will help WEB team to better understand challenges and benefits of WEB project and also impacts of paid work facilities in female participants’ lives. These two studies will also help the WEB team to measure the success and failure of the WEB project. By using these researches, the WEB team will also write a report to the donor organizers and sponsors about WEB project.

Current Collaborations of WEB

Gharani

Gharani is a grassroots, non-governmental organization working for the advancement of vulnerable women in Noakhali. Gharani started working for victims of domestic violence in1995. Gharani provides various vocational training such as embroidery, handicraft making, and vegetable and tree plantations for poor women. Gharani’s vision is to create a society where women are empowered and are able to enjoy all human rights equally. Currently, from August 2013 to July 2016, Gharani gets funding ($23,143.713) from Manusher Jonno Foundation to work in Kadir Hanif and Eklaspur unions. The project objective is “Strengthening of State and Community Initiatives for the Prevention and Reduction of Violence against Women”. Gharani faces difficulties to continue this project due to lack of human resources. When the WEB team proposed to Gharani’s founder, Ms. Popy, to collaborate with us, she expressed interest in working together. Now, two WEB team members get a salary from Gharani and while doing work for WEB project, these two members also work for Gharani. Gharani provides $6000 for both WEB’s employees and recruited both employees for 3 years. Ms. Popy also helps the WEB project by providing vocational trainers (handicraft making and embroidery) from her organizations. She also supports the WEB team to collaborate with other local organizations and introduce us to local leaders. Her contribution is very helpful to work in the two unions and we feel that we are working under a safe environment. Gharani also offers a storage room to keep products, and an office room for WEB team members. By having access to both rooms, WEB saves $5000 in three years. WEB also has access to three computers in Gharani for three years, which means $2000 in savings.

Grameen Distributor Limited

Grameen Distributor Limited (GDL) focuses on social business in Bangladesh. GDL offers many necessary ready-made products for local community members in Noakhali. GDL operates social business through its strong marketing and distribution channel. The WEB team members have met with Md. Abdul Wadud Mozumder, the District Coordinator of Grameen Distribution Limited in Gharani. The WEB team members proposed to Md. Mozumder to collaborate with WEB. After hearing about WEB’s project, Mr. Mozumder agreed that GDL will provide its ready-made products (mosquito nets, energy saving lights, agricultural seeds, tea, shoes, garment cloths, mobiles, mini solar, stoves, electric switches, sockets, indicators and cutouts) for WEB’s 3,000 female employees. Currently, WEB has GDL products market value $12,500 in WEB store room. Recently, around 500 WEB women employees sell GDL products in various local communities. For example, if a mosquito net rate in the local market is $10, then WEB’s women employees sell GDL mosquito net for $9. After that, GDL gets $6, WEB’s employee gets $2 and WEB gets $1. Recently, WEB has $4,000 in savings from the collaboration with GDL.

WEB’s Access to Resources: (From February 2013 to Present) • By collaborating with Gharani and Grameen Distributor Limited (GDL), the WEB has saved $7000. • WEB also has GDL ready-made products which have a market value of $12,500. • WEB has worked with 810 vocational and professional skilled female employees who are now beneficial advocates and partners of WEB. • WEB has one project office and one store room to keep prepared products. • WEB has access to three computers and online facilities through Gharani. • WEB has community leaders’ support and permission to continue WEB project in Kadir Hanif and Eklaspur unions. • From both unions, over 7000 women show their interest to work under WEB project. • WEB has over 30,000 women customers in two project unions. • Asian University for Women’ professors’ provide support and mentorship to WEB. • Asian University for Women’s approximately 500 students’ show their interests to buy WEB’s handicraft and embroidery products. • WEB’s four team members are prepared to continue WEB’s project work. • Management and Evaluation WEB collaborated with Gharani and Grameen Distribution limited. These two organizations and donor organizations will be fully involved in monitoring of WEB’s project staff and their activities by using NGO guidelines of monitor and evaluation. A Memorandum of Understanding will also be signed to facilitate proper evaluation of the WEB’s activities. Additionally, WEB will provide yearly reports of WEB’s project activities to the donor organizations.

The WEB Challenges The WEB team might face challenges due to demographic condition of Noakhali. The unions of Kadir Hanif and Eklaspur have a population of approximately 38,000 women. WEB might not be able to create employment opportunities for all interested women due to its limited financial resources.

Sustainability of WEB WEB team is working meticulously to ensure a sustainable model of success. The women already trained by WEB will spread awareness about our mission as well as assist in future workshops to other women of the community. If we are lucky to move forward with a grant, WEB will request the beneficiary women to voluntarily contribute 1% percentage of their salary per month to assist with our project’s activities ($1,875 per year). Furthermore, we will request the women to devote at least one hour a week to advertise WEB’s mission and products.

Attachments

Women Empowerment in Bangladesh (WEB)
WWW: Women Weave the Web

Comments 2

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Kasindi bulambo
Jun 07, 2014
Jun 07, 2014

Depard l'histoire que vous venez de narrer, comme à Banglandesh rural, je comprends que nous les filles, nous étions totalement marginalisées à tel enseigne que nous sommes devenues trop dependantes. mais, merci à l'Equipe WEB qui a voulu que nous puissions sortir de cette dependance, du silence et toute forme de sous développement , en nous donnant le feu vert de parler à haute voix de tous ces defis. Jeunes filles, le temps est là de nous lever contre tous ces abus, en vue de briser toute forme de discrimination.

Bravo à l'Equipe WEB.

Susan Spencer
Jun 10, 2014
Jun 10, 2014

Dear Mashiat, Thank you for sharing such a factual, detailed and important perspective on the conditions for women in rural Bangladesh and the obstacles they face in achieving personal, social and economic empowerment. I learned a great deal from the background you provided. I was very pleased to read what the WEB team is doing and how you are working with other NGOs on so many aspects of empowerment for rural women. You may be concentrating on 2 communities in Bangladesh, but the work you are doing could be a model for so many communities in the world where patriarchy and societal constraints continue to disempower women and stifle their potential. I hope you will continue to tell your story and report your results so that you will continue to receive support for your powerful work! More power to you! Susa