Gender budget helps empower women in rural Bangladesh

A cow farm has changed the life of Nurun Nahar, a dweller of Pachgacia village under Sadar upazila of Feni district and she is now a role model in locality as she has turned the wheels of her fate through hard work.

Nurun Nahar set up the cow farm around three years ago through borrowing Taka 1,60,000 from banks and different government’s women entrepreneurship development programmes.

Now, she has four cows and two calves in her farm. Every day, she gets 20 liters of milk. Her monthly income is now around Taka 20-25 thousand.

“I got married around 15 years ago. My husband, Japor Ahmed, is a veterinary doctor. We are now five members’ family with two sons and one daughter. My husband’s income was not enough to meet the expenses of my family. So, I became desperate to help my husband and the family,” said Nurun Nahar while talking with the correspondent.

As her husband is a veterinary doctor, she said, she came to know that the government is offering financial supports under different schemes to women to bring them in the mainstream of the development. With the inspiration of her husband, she took loan around Taka 1,60,000 from Amar Bari Amar Khamar (ABAK) project, Grameen Bank and NRB Global Bank.

“With the loans and our own savings, I developed the cow farm with the help of my husband. At first, I bought two cows at a cost of Taka 2,50,000. Now, I have four cows and two calves. Several months ago, I sold a cow at Taka 70,000. Now I earn Taka 20,000 every month by selling milk. I repaid the debt,” Nurun Nahar said.

Now she is happy with her husband and children. Her elder son is studying in class eight while the younger one is in five. Her daughter is in pre-primary school. The people of the area are happy to see the improvement of Nurun Nahar. Nurun Nahar is a successful woman and also a role model to the local people, especially the women.

Like, Nurun Nahar, Rokia Begum, 56, at Aminabad village under Char Fasson Upazila of Bhola District, has changed their livelihoods by establishing a dairy farm. She has now eight cows, 12 goats and 85 poultry birds.

Rokia has seven children-two daughters and five sons.

Talking to BSS, Feni District Livestock Officer Dr Md Anisur Rahman said different government’s initiatives and allocation of budget are playing a vital role to establish women-run farms.

He informed that at least 10 women have already established dairy farms in the Feni district while many women are improving their living standard by involving themselves in fisheries and poultry firming.

According to the Gender Budget Report 2019-20, Taka 1,61,247 crore, which is 30.82 per cent of the total budget and 5.56 per cent of the GDP, has been allocated 20 fiscal, while the amount was Taka 27,248 crore in 2009-10 fiscal.

The allocation for the women budget was Taka 1,37,742 crore in 2018-19 fiscal, which indicated that on an average, annual allocation increased by 22 per cent till 2018-19 fiscal from 2009-10 fiscal.

Gender disparity has reduced considerably as gender sensitivity has been considered rightly in the formulation of government policy- strategy and its implementation.

According to World Gender Gap Report, Bangladesh ranked 91th among 115 countries in 2006. In 2018, Bangladesh appeared at 48th position among 149 countries. Currently, Bangladesh is at the top of the Gender Gap Index in South Asia.