Pumpkin production was a breakthrough for Samsunnahar


August 27th, 2015

In my recent blog, I narrated some of the factors that contribute success and failure of any individual’s efforts to tackle poverty. In this post, I am going to detail an individual’s success and future aspiration that was fuelled by development intervention.

Samsunnahar (50) like many other poor people lives in the flood protection embankment (village of Moddhyo Belka), Sundergonj Upazilla of Gaibandha district. Due to river erosion, her family had to move home six times, lost all their homestead resources and arable land. They became extremely poor after losing all their assets. Her husband, day labourer Nobbas Ali earned an insignificant amount for their living. Their only child, a son of school age, also required some education expenses. Therefore, they had a very hard time and often suffered from having inadequate food.

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In 2012, along with 500 other households, Shamsunnahar was enrolled as a beneficiary in 2012 in the Shiree project (with the support of local NGO AKOTA). Afterwards, she received 3 days training on sandbar cropping and inputs such as seed, fertilizer, equipment and irrigation and storage support (worth US$64). As a result of this support, she harvested 420 pumpkins from 100 pits, and earned BDT 19,450.00 (US$253) from the sale of 340 pumpkins (the rest t they used for own consumption). In 2013, the project also supported her with equipment worth BDT 4229 and she had a similar size harvest. To build alternative earning sources and generate some assets, she also invested the income. For example, she purchased a heifer at price of BDT 12000.00, and leased 25 decimal lands with BDT4000.00 for crop production.

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Now she longer has project support but has been continuing sandbar cropping on her own initiative, beside production of high valued crop from leased land (which she has taken by BDT40, 000). Additionally, she owns four cows, worth BDT 80,000.00. In monetary terms, she owns assets worth of BDT 120,000 (US$1558). Moreover, one year ago, she also bought a solar panel with BDT 22,000 in instalments over 3 years. She pays BDT 750 every month. They have been using 2 ceiling fans and 4 lights with the power of solar panel- which makes a great difference to them!

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Samsunnahar and her family received the following support from the project: 

Project Investment Amount in BDT
Investment Year 2012 4896
Investment Year 2013 4229
Total 9125
Total in USD 118.00

Over the last three years, she and her family generated then following assets:

Type of asset generated   Amount in BDT
Leased land 40,000.00
Livestock 80,000.00
Solar Panel 22,000.00
Total 142,000
Total in USD 1844.00
Project investment versus assets generation 16 Times

They are relatively better off compared with 2012. Their son, Sujan Mia happily studies at home as they have lights at their home. To Samsunnahar,

“Solar panel shudhu barite alo dichche tai na, ata amar cheler vobishshat keo alokito korche”

“This solar panel not only gives light to our home but it has also lightened my son’s future”.

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Recently, her husband has been selected as member of local mosque management committee (which portrays as dignified member of the community). She believes that these multiple endeavors will help them to get out of poverty and secure food and nutrition for her family members. They are dreaming Sujan Mia will get access to higher education and manage a good job in future.

In conclusion, it is worthwhile to note that poor people struggles against poverty, development intervention accelerates their efforts and brings some impacts. However, sustainability of the impacts and impacts at a scale require broad structural changes. Over the last 44 years, very insignificant efforts were seen from Government of Bangladesh to address the root cause of the vulnerability of the river eroded people.

[The author acknowledges the contribution of Mr. Salam, Coordinator, M&E of Practical Action’s Extreme Poverty programme for providing information and images]

One response to “Pumpkin production was a breakthrough for Samsunnahar”

  1. Md. Abdus Salam Says:

    Thanks for your good writing as well as highlights of Shiree activities.. We have many successful cases like Samsunnahar.

    Again thanks.

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