Highlights from Women’s Access to Markets Program in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi women face barriers in accessing markets for their agricultural produce. Through using community-based buying events that are more accessible venues for women’s involvement, access to markets is being re-envisioned. Caothic Relief Services/Caritas Bangladesh is carrying out two projects that link women farmers to agricultural marketing opportunities and strengthen nutrition at the household level. INGENAES has joined the efforts of both the Nigera Gori Project in Dinajpur district and the Egiye Jai Project in Rajihar Union of Barisal district to assess the impacts of the projects’ marketing efforts on linking women farmers to markets and documenting the projects’ nutrition-strengthening actions. Both projects utilize an agricultural extension and training program that uses demonstrations, learning groups, and provides coaching to women farmers. Check out the highlight video here!

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As a result of these projects, the woman farmer who grew the 33 multicolored pumpkins pictured (top-left) will bring this harvest to a local market where a male trader will pay her and take them to a larger market further away, allowing more people to see and purchase her goods. This woman has access to a market, but many others do not. Through the CRS/Caritas projects and INGENAES’s involvement, more women farmers will have improved access to marketing opportunities like she does. INGENAES conducted an assessment and reported preliminary results during a two-day training and workshop event in Dinajpur on May 24 and 25, 2016.

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INGENAES Project Director Dr. Paul McNamara and Dr. Han Bum Lee from the University of Illinois are working on the action-oriented research along with CRS Bangladesh Agriculture Technical Advisor, Dr. Kamal Battacharyya, on strengthening their approaches to nutrition through mapping project activities into nutrition strengthening avenues and identifying gaps. Additionally, the enhanced Monitoring & Evaluation work together is building the capacity of the organization’s staff for applying experimental design and statistical approaches to learning about project impacts and mechanisms of impact. The findings from the action-oriented research serve to generate lessons for further work and program designs as well as information that can be shared with other country programs about effective means of linking unedrserved women farmers with market opportunities in similar social contexts.