Written by: ACDI/VOCA

In support of prime ACDI/VOCA, PCI is partnering in the implementation of a new program focused on increasing food security among vulnerable households in the Khulna Division of southwestern Bangladesh. The Program for Strengthening Household Access to Resources (PROSHAR) is utilizing an integrated approach to empower communities by addressing maternal and child health issues, providing assistance to farmers, and strengthening the country’s ability to manage and recover from disasters.

Livestock Training and Resources Improve Prospects for Families in Khulna Division

According to the World Bank, Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing rural poverty. However, challenges remain for the rural poor, including Sekha Begum’s family in Bangladesh’s Khulna Division.

Sekha is married and has three children. Her husband, Md. Sahanar, works as a cart puller and has been the sole source of income for their family for years.

With little money coming in, Sekha found it a constant struggle to provide nutritious food or education for her children.

PROSHAR Works to Increase Economic Opportunities for Rural Poor

ACDI/VOCA implements the USAID-funded Program for Strengthening Household Access to Resources (PROSHAR) in partnership with Project Concern International. PROSHAR applies a long-term development approach to reduce food insecurity and foster more vibrant local economies in three upazilas (subdistricts) in the Khulna division.

PROSHAR works to achieve these goals through myriad activities, including leveraging opportunities in targeted value chains, strengthening local health systems, and empowering communities to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

Raising Goats to Fight Poverty and Hunger

PROSHAR identified goat rearing as a key opportunity to boost food security and the local economy. PROSHAR provided training on raising goats to Sekha and other community members with the help of experts from Bangladesh’s Department of Livestock Services.

Sekha applied what she learned from the training right away. Seven months after she started, Sekha had 11 healthy goats on her farm with a total market value of Tk 33,000 (approximately $412). Sekha attributes the health of her goats to timely vaccinations (subsidized by PROSHAR), provision of concentrated feed, access to green grass through pasturing her goats in the char (a riverine sand and silt landmass at the mouth of a river), and the addition of a shed (also subsidized by PROSHAR) to protect the goats from bad weather.

Brighter Future Ahead

The extra money she earns from the goats helps Sekha add to and diversify the family’s income. She earns money from selling goat kids, and her family benefits from a fresh supply of goat milk, which adds protein and vitamins to her children’s diet.

Sekha is an example for her neighbors. Other local families have shown interest in her work rearing goats and have asked her questions about her approach and plans. Sekha and her family are happy and grateful for this support from PROSHAR. With the boost from the training and resources they received, Sekha said she feels her family has a brighter future.

This article originally appeared on ACDI/VOCA website on February 20, 2014.