RANGPUR, April 28, 2018 (BSS) – Some 116 extremely poor families have overcome the vicious cycle of poverty in Sarkerpara village under Ramnagar union of Sadar upazila in Nilphamari district.
The villagers who used to lead very miserable lives even a decade ago now follow better life and making progress toward sustainable prosperity.
Talking to BSS, the villagers said they have become self-reliant through collective efforts and various income generation activities. Anufa Begum of Ramnagar union said, the villagers achieved economic solvency through community-led collective actions, mainly off-farming.
Zikrul Islam, Anufa’s husband, said change has been taking place since 2009 when the villagers formed ‘Para Unnayan Committee (PUC)’, community-based savings groups, Women’s group – ‘EKATA’ and natural leaders’ organisation.
They identified defecation in open space as the main reason for breaking out diseases like diarrhea and dysentery. Thanks to Community-Led Total Sanitation approach to stop open defecation.
President of Sarkerpara PUC Sufia Begum said, “The success achieved in attaining total sanitation inspired us. We mobilised local resources, took collective actions to diversify livelihoods, built own organisations and relationship with local union parishad.”
“A 25-member EKATA group also helped freeing the village from child marriage, dowry and superstitions” she said.
Golzar Hossain and his wife Tahuza Begum said the able couples, pregnant women and adolescents are now aware of family planning, health, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition.
The villagers also formed community based ‘Sarkerpara Women Savings Group’ with 32 members with Anufa as its secretary to cope with lean season as they had to sale physical labour in advance and household goods earlier.
The savings of ‘fistful rice’ programme in 2015 also helped the group members enjoying interest free loan to make them economically self-reliant,” said Shaheda Begum.
“All families in Sarkerpara village are now leading better life, children are going to school and many families have their own assets,” said Anufa.