DHAKA, Feb 2, 2018 (BSS) - Many rural women in Bangladesh are becoming self-reliant and contributing to their family maintenance as they are getting involved in income generating activities after taking loans under the government and non-government micro credit programmes, including the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (EBEK) Project, the first one of 10 priority initiatives of the Prime Minister.
The government is giving special focus on women in the EBEK project. Under this project, a Village Development Association (VDA) is formed with 60 members. Of the 60 members, 40 members are women.
Like many other rural women, Rupali Begum of Kishorganj in Nilphamari district has changed her lifestyle by setting up a duck farm. She opened the firm one and a half years ago taking a loan of Taka 15,000 from her the VDA in her village under the EBEK project.
"My husband is a cattle trader. He could not properly manage all of the family expenses. So, I came to business for supporting my husband," said Rupali Begum, a mother of three children, living in a remote village in Kishoreganj upazila under Nilphamari district.
"In this short span of time, I have become self-reliant and am making financial contributions to my family from the sale of eggs and ducks raised in my farm. Now we can afford all necessary expenses for our children's education," she added.
Rupali Begum informed that her elder son is a SSC candidate and the younger son is in class eight. She also said her daughter is studying in class six.
Rupali's farm has over 300 ducks. She gets about 200 eggs every day. Rupali sells the eggs to Gaibandha duck farm hatchery. She has already repaid her loan of Taka 15,000 and she also applied for another loan of Taka 50,000 from the EBEK for expanding her duck farm.
Rupali has separate houses for cows, goats and ducks. There is a pond beside her house. In the evening, the flock of ducks comes to house as like as Rupali's obedient children.
Talking to BSS, Project Director of the Ektee Bari Ektee Khamar Project Akber Hossain said the goal of the project is poverty alleviation through income generation of the under privileged and smallholders of the country.
Through the project, he said, the government is assisting capital formation of the poor farm families, sharpening their skills through training and motivation, allowing them to sit together at courtyard meetings, enabling them to take decisions independently, enabling them to develop need based small family farms and ensuring marketing facilities for their products.
The project started in 2009 with Taka 1,492 crore and finally the project was revised in 2016 with Taka 8,010.27 crore.
The government has set a target to form 1.01 lakh VDAs across the country and the number of beneficiary families will be 60.62 lakh.
Under the project, over 1.65 crore poor and extreme-poor people across the country are getting benefits. A total of 67,757 VDAs have been formed across the country from which about 32.70 lakh families are getting benefits.
The beneficiaries of the project have deposited over Taka 1,221.58 crore till December 2017 and the government has provided Taka 1,025.56 crore as grant under the project.
The revolving fund of the project is Taka 1,507.77 crore and the number of income generating project are now over 35.08 lakh. A total of Taka 4,705.87 crore has been invested in the income generating projects.