Scaling up Bangladesh rural development best practices: lessons learned by FEDEC in the development of Value Chains

Learning Route: “Scaling up Bangladesh rural development best practices: lessons learned by FEDEC in the development of Value Chains”

INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions) Bangladesh in partnership with PROCASUR Corporation and with the support from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) undertook the initiative to identify and share the best practices and innovations of Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation (FEDEC) an IFAD funded project of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), a non-profit government company in Bangladesh through Learning Route methodology. The Learning Route, which has been successfully used in many countries as a capacity building tool, targeted the IFAD project stakeholders in Bangladesh. INAFI and PROCASUR jointly organised a Learning Route (LR) “Scaling up Bangladesh rural development best practices: Lessons learned by FEDEC in the development of Value Chains” from 7 September to 11 September 2014 at Satkhira and Jessore. Before the Learning Route, INAFI through a number of bilateral meetings with FEDEC and IFAD identified two cases which were using innovative approaches through value chain development to change the employment behaviour as well as to improve the livelihood of the people of the area. The Cases are: “Crab Culture Value Chain” of Munshiganj union, shyamnagar upazilla in Satkhira and “High Value Flower Cultivation & Marketing Sub-project” of Panishara union, Jhikagacha upazilla in Jessore. INAFI developed two in-depth case studies on the two respective cases based on a 7 day systematization process from 19 to 26 May 2014 at the pre-selected project areas. The case studies were shared with the Learning Route participants prior to the event.

The implementing organisations of the cases, Nawabenki Gonomukhi Foundation (NGF) in Satkhira and Rural Reconstruction Firm (RRF) in Jessore hosted the Learning Route. Participants were the policy and management level staff from all 5 ongoing IFAD projects in Bangladesh along with from FEDEC and two Technical Officers (TOs) from the host organisations. The Learning Route started at Satkhira with brief presentation from the organisers explaining what a learning route is and for. PowerPoint Presentations from PKSF as well as from NGF and RRF have been shared which enriched the participants with knowledge about the nature of the orgnisations and their approaches towards the contributions to the respective cases and opened up the ground for discussion. Through the successive days the participants got the opportunity to meet the crab and flower farmers, hear their stories, discuss with them, firsthand visit to the wholesale markets in the area, discuss with various actors in the market, visit to a farm as well as to the farmer’s home and meet with his family.

After the day long experience sharing sessions with both the crab farmers at Satkhira and flower farmers at Jessore the participants in groups done case analysis and gave feedback to the representatives of the implementing organisations. Along with the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats a number of lessons learned and recommendations were identified through this case analysis which might be valuable for the host cases as well as for the participants.

The Learning Route ended with development and presentation of Action Plans by the participant projects. A panel of 5 from the participants were formed to give feedback on the action plans. Each project prepared an action plan based on the lessons learned through experiencing two outstanding cases from the 5 day Learning Route journey. 6 dynamic action plans came from 6 projects. The participants identified the areas of improvement in their projects or project areas and applied their knowledge to analyse and include some innovative solutions in their action plans.

Also each of the participants was requested to fill up an online evaluation form by the organisers as a process of documentation of their valuable opinion, suggestion, and feedback regarding the overall event. Following is the link to the survey results.

As a follow-up process of the Learning Route INAFI Bangladesh and PROCASUR is going to organise a half day workshop in November 2014 in Dhaka and expects to gather the Project Directors along with the project participants and also representatives from IFAD with the aim to come up with some outstanding conclusions at the end of the event which could be the inspiration to the introduction of nurturing and practicing proven ideas in new fields.

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