Promoting self-employment in agriculture and aquaculture by training and microfinance
- DRRA - Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Satkhira, Khulna, Jashore, Jhenaidah, and Dinajpur
- Start Year
- First published
“Inclusive economy is not possible without inclusive microfinance!” Farida Yesmin, Executive Director, DRRA
The Disabled Rehabilitation & Research Association (DRRA) is one of the largest non-profit development organizations working in the field of disabilities in Bangladesh. DRRA’s ‘Jibika’ project supports people with various disabilities in Sathkhira and Jhenaidah districts to run their own vegetable or crab farming businesses by providing training and microfinance. Between 2017 and mid-2020, 514 people with disabilities were involved in running their own businesses.
Often, people with disabilities in Bangladesh have limited access to sustainable income due to a lack of access to training and finance.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Jibika project targets people who may be community-bound because of their disability. The initial group of participants was selected in South-West Bangladesh through physical and psychological assessments. The groups were then split based on the climate condition, income status, marketing facilities, and availability of resources, with groups selected for aquafarming and for vegetable cultivation and vermicomposting. Training is provided in farming techniques, and group members meet monthly for coordination and feedback. Modules are provided in Braille, sign language, and video according to the participants’ needs. Participants were supported to obtain microfinance, and they received training on planning and marketing. From 2017 to 2019, 208 persons were undertaking aquafarming, rising to 306 by 2020. The project also organized an organic vegetable fair in Jhenaidah and two reflection workshops to raise awareness.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project is donor funded, and the main financial partner, Liliane Fonds, provided €95,615 across the first two years of the project. At the same time, local microfinance institutions and government services provided interest and collateral-free loans for the project’s running capital. Through income-generating activities, targeted youth with disabilities become economically empowered and contribute to their families’ income. As of 2020, 13 local partner organizations are replicating the DRRA model, and 30 other partner organizations in Bangladesh will replicate the model by 2022. In addition, DRRA is one of the core members of the Liliane Foundation Inclusion Network, which aims to expand the model.