Rural Technology Extensionists in Bangladesh
From 2005 until 2009 Practical Action carried out a food and nutritional security project for resource poor farmers in Jamalpur and Faridpur Districts in Bangladesh (the FoSHoL Project).
As part of this project 751 rural technology extensionists were trained as ambassadors for their local communities. Those resource poor farmers that were selected were enabled to earn an income by sharing relevant skills, information and services back in their villages.
Extensionists were trained in agro-processing, plant nursery management and horticulture, power tiller operation and maintenance, beekeeping, plant doctor, seed production and marketing, fish nursery management and fish entrepreneurship, buck rearing for breeding, livestock management, community nutrition and poultry vaccination.
By the end of the project it was noted that poor rural families were making good use of the community extensionists. It was reported that they were making a significant contribution to other farming households in and around project locations, for example those trained in poultry vaccinations serviced 720 households, out of which 70% were households outside of the project boundaries, therefore taking the benefits of the project to poor families elsewhere.
Practical Action is continuing its work in Bangladesh through new projects, and the use of Knowledge Centres to increase the impact of Rural Technology Extensionists.
Case study: Halima Begum
Halima Begum was trained as a poultry vaccinator in 2000. She received 5 days training and contributed 50% of the costs to receive a vaccinators kit. Initially Halima was afraid to do the injections – she thought the hens might die. But fortunately none did so her confidence grew.
For vaccination she used to charge one taka per hen on top of the cost of the vaccine itself but now she charges 2 taka. So her monthly income has doubled from 500 to 1000 taka per month on average.
Halima has reinvested her earnings into her own poultry production, in a small shop where she sells chickens and groceries, and in having a better track constructed from the main road to her home. She also eats more fish and vegetables now than she did before, but does not like to eat chicken!
The government of Bangladesh has established some 4,500 information centres across the country to give people greater access to information associated with their livelihoods. In a pilot project in 30 of these centres, we established knowledge bazaars managed by entrepreneurs who generate enough i...Read more