Asia / Markets / Project / Women

We have no control over resources, but we are trying to buy assets that we can own and control: Eventually we shall attain the power that we desire to have

As part of the IFPRI-ILRI Gender, Agriculture, and Asset Project (GAAP), Elizabeth (Liz) Waithanji from the Poverty Gender and Impacts (PGI) team of the ILRI Markets, Gender and Livelihoods Theme visited Care Bangladesh Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain (SDVC) Project in Bangladesh between June 25th and July 2nd 2012. Among the activities she conducted were focus group discussions with three women’s groups in Bogra district.

Focus group discussion from  strengthening the dairy value chain (SDVC) project in Bangladesh

Left hand side image above is a focus group discussants from an SDVC group Bogra. One of the tools used at this group discussion was the access control matrix. The image above shows that women from this group believed that they had little access to, and no control of, the assets and resources from which they derived their livelihoods as shown in the table. Men had full access and control of the same assets/resources.

Bogra district in Bangladesh women’s group

Left hand side image above is a table that presents the results of a pair-wise ranking conducted at the FGD with another SDVC Bogra women’s group photographed above (with Liz at the back row). The “value awarded” row indicates that being powerful was a most important achievement for these women. One discussant explained, “If we have power, we can achieve all other things, but without it, we cannot achieve anything.” The group members continued to explain that they are trying to build their own assets by saving money from milk so that members can borrow it to buy cows. The members at the bottom of the beneficiary list will receive heifer calves from those who receive cows.

Although there are many microfinance programs operating in these villages, as in much of rural Bangladesh, all three groups from Bogra said that those microcredit schemes had high interest rates and unfair repayment terms. Those who had loans were working hard to pay them off as they found the debt enslaving them. Those who had no loans were not interested in borrowing money and were happy to build their lending capital piecemeal.

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