Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The increasing rainfall in recent years has disrupted the daily lives of its population, particularly affecting – both men and women – farmers. In Bangladesh, the gender gap is deep, especially at the household level. Women are often responsible for carrying out all domestic chores as well as performing agricultural tasks. CARE raises awareness of gender equality among women and men to foster change, and it’s working!

Two women who have pledged to strive for sustainable agriculture in Bangladesh

In Kurigram district, Manoka and Rafika are working jointly with CARE to help local communities build resilience to climate change.

Manoka is a dynamic 28-year-old woman. Now a teacher in the village where she grew up, she decided to get involved with CARE, through the Where the Rain Falls Programme (WtRF), and take on a new challenge. She has been helping local communities for the past two years – especially farmers – to help them adapt to climate change.

It is often difficult to operate in a country where women constantly suffer discrimination and where agriculture is strongly shaped by patriarchal traditions.

“In agriculture, being a woman is not always easy, since the power of decision rests with men. My role is to show farmers that there are concrete and effective ways to fight against the effects of climate change,” says Manoka

Rafika, a young woman who works for local authorities, has encountered the same obstacles. She is the only woman that works in her family. Alongside CARE, she trains farmers on the latest agricultural technologies and informs them on aids granted by the government.

Yet women’s role as agents of change is fundamental. Their impact supplements men’s impact at creating change. Among other things, women can provide women farmers with special support, as their work is not always given due credit.

Women’s engagement to change attitudes

CARE supports the engagement of women so they can enjoy the same rights and have the same opportunities as men. Manoka and Rakifa’s dedication has helped raise awareness of inequalities in the district.

“CARE’s work has contributed to change mentalities. Women are now explicitly recognized for their work, and men seem more attentive…more open-minded,” Rafika explains.

Manoka and Rakifa have thus managed to find their place and still have a real impact on the lives of farmers in Bangladesh, which is a highly rewarding result for Manoka, as she puts it:

“I have noticed real changes in the communities benefitting from the project. Today, many families can eat three times a day, which was not the case just a year ago. I am proud to contribute to changing lives through this project.”