Bangladesh - Empowering the women community in Chhatak

In Bangladesh, in line with Government efforts to empower women and in collaboration with a nationally renowned NGO, our local team run small enterprise development initiatives dedicated to women to help them set up their own business and thus contribute to financially support their families.

 

Objectives

  • Aligning Lafarge Bangladesh's community development activities with the Government's  focus area 
  • Bringing a positive change in the lives of women in Chhatak (near our Surma plant) and thus improving livelihood of whole families within the local community
  • Improving skills and access to education for women

Summary

Women empowerment has become a focus area for the local government as well as for the top NGOs present in the country. It is recognized that empowering women brings long term benefit for families, as 100% of their income is often spent for family members' improvement of health, education and wellbeing. In recent year, Bangladesh has outperformed its neighboring countries in the achievement of the UN millennium goals and the women empowerment programs led across the country have been identified as one of the key contributing factors.

Lafarge Bangladesh has been part of these efforts since its establishment in 2001. In Chhatak, near our Surma plant, the local villagers did not have proper access to education, health and income generating activities. The women were the most deprived as they were mostly dependent housewives with no skills and no access to education. Our team thus decided then to make women empowerment a focus area in its CSR activities.

Our Surma plant and teams have been involved in a Small enterprise development program dedicated to women, designed and run with a national renowned NGO. It focuses on areas ensuring immediate earning such as embroidery, tailoring, cattle rearing or candle making. Trainees are then provided with capitals to start their own venture. Our local team also provides them with contacts of key sellers in affluent cities, ensuring a relevant market for their products.

In parallel, steps are also taken to improve the education of women through adult literacy programs and to ensure that little girls can attend schools.

Results

763 women have been trained in total since 2001 - including 37 in 2014. Approximately 500 of these women now have access to income-generating activities and can contribute to supporting their family.