Women as Engines Out of Poverty

Robin Wright

Female focused development in the Third World is proving more cost-effective. In Asia, micro-loans have opened the way for a sweeping challenge to the patriarchal social order


Grameen Fisheries Foundation

Grameen Bank has taken the initiative to establish in 1994 the Grameen Fisheries Foundation (GFF), a not for profit company which aims to develop the inland fisheries of Bangladesh, for alleviation of poverty. It has leased in close to 1000 ponds from the government in the northern region of the country. GFF has introduced modern fish farming systems and also has organised the poor fishermen and women who live around the ponds, using the well tested organisation development techniques of Grameen Bank. With the support of GFF which operates pond side hatcheries, providing production inputs and also marketing services, more than 2700 poor fishermen families have been organised and trained. Fish output has gone up dramatically from 40 tons in 1987 in the Joyshagar Fish Farm, which covers 406 ponds with 980 acres of water area, to more than 1000 tons in 1996. Production can increase much more in future. The fisheries group members receive 50 percent of the produce from the pond; the average income in 1996 has gone up by US$ 100 a year for each member. This is a supplementary income, as each member provides five hours of labour every week and pursues his or her other primary occupation rest of the time. GFF is showing the way as to how the millions of small ponds could be developed to fight poverty in the villages of Bangladesh.