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Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 16, 2010
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the Rural Development Academy, Bogra, to
help rural women produce and process good quality seeds and link up with the formal seed market. This will create rural employment opportunities for women and help ensure food security in those regions of Bangladesh.
The SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC, in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development, will work with RDA to implement this project and monitor its effectiveness.
The two institutions tested this initiative in villages in Bogra with 400 women in 2008. The project demonstrated great success in increasing the women’s incomes and improving the quality and volume of seeds available in the region. The women seed entrepreneurs continued their seed businesses even after project completion.
“We have developed unique and customized approaches for mobilizing rural women and building upon their existing knowledge base,” said Mohammad Nazrul Islam, Director General of RDA. “The responsiveness of rural women has far exceeded our initial expectations, and the project’s replication effects in neighboring towns resulted in multiple benefits.”
The initiative now is being expanded with 1,000 women in several locations in northern, poverty-prone regions of the country. To reach the scale and outreach desired, IFC will partner with local nongovernmental organizations. The project will be then be scaled up to reach 3,000 women in a phase-wise approach over the next five years.
Ian Crosby, Head of SEDF, said, “Despite the crucial role women play in processing, preserving and storing seeds, their services often remains unrecognized. This initiative will enable them to improve their business skills and become a part of mainstream economic activity.” He also noted that addressing gender issues is a focus of IFC.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by advising businesses on how to better improve productivity.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit
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