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Posts Tagged ‘bangladesh’
Q&A with Habibur Rahman, author of Hathay Bunano case in Bangladesh

M. Habibur Rahman was born in Rajshahi in Bangladesh. He obtained his BA (honors) and MA degrees in economics at Rajshahi University in 1985 and 1986 respectively. He was conferred PhD degree for his research in the area of international economics at the Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh in 2003. During the last 18 years he has undertaken a number of qualitative and quantitative studies in a wide range of areas that include, among others, private sector development, trade, poverty, education. He has worked as a consultant for the major development partners of Bangladesh such as UNDP, ADB, and JICA. Recently he has undertaken a UNDP sponsored study entitled “MDG (Education) Needs Assessment and Costing”. He is now involved in one IFC sponsored project in the area of private sector development as a monitoring and evaluation consultant. He also worked for the country’s leading civil society think tank ‘Centre for Policy Dialogue’ as a Research Fellow in 2007. Rahman has participated in a number of policy dialogues, seminars, consultative meetings and workshops across the country. Rahman is now working as an Associate Professor of economics at the Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Hathay Bunano Proshikhan Samity (HBPS) employs poor rural Bangladeshi women to produce hand-crocheted and hand-knitted children’s toys and clothes, which are then sold internationally.

To download the Hathay Bunano case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is the basic value proposition of Hathay Bunano and what makes it financially sustainable?

Hathay Bunano has been an initiative to contribute to reduction in poverty in Bangladesh. It has been generating number of economic and social benefits for the rural poor in the country. HBPS has created employment opportunities for about 3600 rural poor women artisans, through its 34 rural production centres across the country. HBPS generated social benefits include reduction in economic migration, women empowerment and improvement in the quality of rural life. It also pays special attention to the physically challenged people by providing them with employment opportunities. HBPS’ environment friendly production activities contribute nothing to the environmental degradation.

HBPS is generating a profit margin of 14% which is re-invested into the business for training, marketing, research, and other development purposes. Its sales revenue has increased at 40% year on year and the market for their product is as large as US$ 4 billion a year.

What is the typical profile of the women employed by Hathay Bunano?

Hathey Bunano workers are typically rural working age women from the poor families and have limited opportunity to work outside their home. HBPS gives preference to employing disadvantaged women with young children, physically challenged, and socially disadvantaged ethnic people.

What are some of the challenges hindering the company’s development and growth and how are they being overcome?

Availability of adequate financing has been the key issue on its way of expansion. As a for-profit social business it requires credit at low interest rate which is not available for such ventures. Lack of availability of raw materials in required quality and quantity, availability of women labour with required artisan skills and knowledge, attitude of the rural families to engage their women members in activities outside their home, availability of low cost rooms with required facilities are other issues on its growth and development.

Despite these challenges HBPS has been moving ahead with its strong commitment to development. Financial issues have been dealt with by the profit earned from the developed country markets, part of which is re-invested into the business, and the contributions from multinational corporations under their CSR fund. The other issues have been overcome through their awareness building initiatives for the local leaders, dialogues with local administration, use of personal connection, and skill development training at their rural production locations.

Who are some of the key actors that contributed to Hathay Bunano’s development and success?

The two highly motivated founders of HBPS – Ms Samantha Morshed and her husband Mr Golam Morshed – have been the key actors to this unique initiative. A couple of multinational corporations working in Bangladesh, namely Chevron Bangladesh Ltd and Tullow Oil Company Bangladesh Ltd and a local national NGO called National Development Program (with support from CARE Bangladesh), have provided financial assistance for HBPS’ artisan training programs. The International Finance Corporation, the South East Asian Development Facility, the UK Department for International Development, and Swiss Contract extended logistic support. Local leaders have also participated very actively in HBPS’ awareness building programs.

Based on HBPS’s experience, what are the promises of the handicrafts industry as a source of employment opportunities for the poor in Bangladesh and the region?

HBPS is a tiny initiative in the poverty reduction stride but its commendable success over a span of only 4 years is a clear demonstration of the potential for generating employment opportunities for a large number of poor people in the country. This part of the world has abundant supply of unskilled labour with limited employment opportunities. The handicraft industry, characterized by the use of low technology equipments and low level of skill requirement, can play a significant role in creating employment opportunities for a large size of poor labour force in the region.

 
Q&A with Habibur Rahman, author of Waste Concern case study in Bangladesh

M. Habibur Rahman was born in Rajshahi in Bangladesh. He obtained his BA (honors) and MA degrees in economics at Rajshahi University in 1985 and 1986 respectively. He was conferred PhD degree for his research in the area of international economics at the Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh in 2003. During the last 18 years he has undertaken a number of qualitative and quantitative studies in a wide range of areas that include, among others, private sector development, trade, poverty, education. He has worked as a consultant for the major development partners of Bangladesh such as UNDP, ADB, and JICA. Recently he has undertaken a UNDP sponsored study entitled “MDG (Education) Needs Assessment and Costing”. He is now involved in one IFC sponsored project in the area of private sector development as a monitoring and evaluation consultant. He also worked for the country’s leading civil society think tank ‘Centre for Policy Dialogue’ as a Research Fellow in 2007. Rahman has participated in a number of policy dialogues, seminars, consultative meetings and workshops across the country. Rahman is now working as an Associate Professor of economics at the Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Waste Concern operates a decentralized community-private-public partnership model for waste recycling to transform the solid waste into organic compost using a low cost, low-tech and labour-intensive method.

To download the Waste Concern case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is the basic value proposition of Waste Concern and what makes its financial model sustainable?

The fundamental objective of Waste Concern is to achieve a common vision to contribute to waste recycling, environmental improvement, renewable energy, employment generation for the urban poor and sustainable development. Since its inception in 2001 until 2006, they had been able to reduce 17,000 tons of Green House Gas emissions, generate employment for 986 urban poor, and saved a landfill area of 33.12 acres with a depth of 1 meter. During the same period they processed 124,400 tons of organic waste and produced 31,100 tons of compost. Their composting activities benefited 60,000 people in Dhaka and an additional 434,290 people from its replication in other parts of the country.

The Waste Concern developed composting plants are all simple, low cost and labour intensive and are suitable to the socio-economic and climatic condition of Bangladesh. The modest sales revenue and low pay-back period makes their model financially attractive.

To what extent was proper research and piloting a key factor in Waste Concern’s success?

Before going into actual implementation Waste Concern conducted in-depth research because they didn’t have any idea about the content of the urban waste. This is important to know for recycling organic waste into organic compost, which has a great market potential in the country. Piloting of the model was equally important to promote the concept of ‘4 Rs’ – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste. Their in-depth research and successful piloting resulted in several replications of their model across the country. Their model has also been replicated in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

What are the benefits of a decentralized vs. centralized composting system?

It has been observed that centralized composting plants involve high operational, transport and maintenance cost, and often fails to reach target in the developing countries. As opposed to that, a decentralized system has several advantages in the context of Bangladesh as it is labour intensive, less costly, and suited for the waste stream. It also improves community participation in source separation and reduces costs incurred for collection, transportation and disposal of waste by municipal authority.

What is the role played by Bangladeshi government entities and UN agencies (UNDP, UNICEF) in this model?

Waste Concern received lot of support from the government entities and the UN agencies operating in the country. The government-owned research organizations, namely Bangladesh’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, provided them with laboratory testing facilities free of charge. Dhaka City Corporation and the Public Works Department provided public land for community composting. Two UN agencies in Bangladesh namely the UNDP and the UNICEF, provided financial support for implementation of their model in the country.

Based on Waste Concern’s experience, what are the promises of the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in contributing to environment sustainability in Bangladesh?

The CDM of the Kyoto Protocol has created opportunities for generating huge amount of economic and environmental benefits for Bangladesh. Under this initiative the world’s first carbon trading based composting project is being implemented with a capacity of composting 700 tons of waste per day along with a landfill gas extraction and utilization through its 3 planned recycling plants with a daily recycling capacity of 130 tons each. This initiative will also reduce 15,600 tons of CO2 e/year and save 52,195 m3/year area of landfill.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM case research process?

The GIM case research initiative is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the success stories of the real development players in a country. I feel proud to be a part of this initiative. A group of able and wonderful personalities involved in the research process at the UNDP has clearly demonstrated their commitment to the success of this initiative throughout the entire period of the study by providing timely support and necessary guidance. Thanks to UNDP for sponsoring such an initiative which can make a significant contribution to creating a hunger and pollution free global environment.