The abject poverty rate reduced to a minimum level following self-reliance achieved by women through income generating activities in northern Bangladesh.
The poor and distressed rural women have been attaining continuous success in their macroeconomic condition, social empowerment and life standard through alleviating poverty everywhere.
As a result of self-reliance achieved by thousands of distressed rural women under comprehensive GO-NGO assistances during the past four and a half years, the seasonal curse of ‘monga’ has disappeared permanently from the region.
Head of Programme Coordination of RDRS Bangladesh and noted women activist Monjusree Saha said distressed women are now engaged in various income- generating works to change their lots enhancing rural economy.
“They have been achieving continuous success through sewing handloom garments, ‘sotranji’, Benarasi saree, small scale enterprises, animal husbandry, poultry, selling labours, homestead gardening, farming fruits, vegetables etc,” she said.
Executive Director of Northbengal Institute of Development Studies Dr Syed Samsuzzaman said rural women contributed tremendously during the period setting up a unique difference in abject poverty alleviation and ‘monga’ eradication.
Besides, various effective steps of the present government, like massive social safety net programmes and employment generation activities, led to the success in eradicating seasonal curse of ‘monga’ irreversibly from the region, he added.
Chilmari upazila parishad Chairman Shawkat Ali Sarker, Bir Bikram, said rural women have achieved self- reliance through small-scale enterprises, cottage industries, micro- credit activities, homestead farming, pisciculture, rearing poultry birds, animals, participatory social afforestation etc.
“In the past, these women lived in utter miseries, especially during the ‘monga’ periods, due to abject poverty even a decade ago, and are now living with their children amid economic solvency and happiness,” he said.
The easy-term and interest-free loans, training for unemployed girls and women on various trades for self-employment, assistance of the government, NGOs, donor agencies, development partners also played important roles in eradicating monga, he added.
Additional Divisional Commissioner (General) Narayan Chandra Barma said the government implements comprehensive social safety- net programmes like employment generation, VGF, VGD, TR, and FFW very effectively to cut poverty.
“As a result of successful implementation of these programmes, the poor including the distressed women did not experience any bite of ‘monga’ as their macroeconomic condition improved largely during the past four and a half years,” he added.
Taramon Bibi, Bir Pratik, said the socio- economic conditions of the rural people has improved and nobody can now find adolescents as domestic helps in remote char areas where people had to starve during the seasonal lean periods in the past.
Amena Khatun, Bulbuli Bewa, Kohinoor, Mohiton Nesa, Ambia Khatun and many other rural women, who led miserable life even a decade ago, said they have achieved self-reliance, driven away ‘monga’ and are leading better life now.
The successful women including landless and distressed, divorcees and widows, unemployed young girls, housewives said that they are now confident about their future with smiling faces because of their achieved economic successes.
“Our children are now going to schools and we are living better though our days were miserable even few years ago,” the successful women said while sharing their success stories of winning against poverty, hunger, illiteracy as well as social curses.