Wednesday, 26 January, 2022

Digital Bangladesh: Part 5

Rural women getting empowered

Rokeya Akthar has become a successful entrepreneur leveraging the power of technology by selling clothes made by marginalized weavers, also supporting the lives and livelihoods of poor weavers.

The success story began in 2020 when she started her business amid the pandemic. She established an online brand ‘Charukrit’ in the Gamcha Fusion platform which has already served buyers in Germany, Australia and Canada.

Recently Rokeya shared her story with the Daily Sun at a meeting at Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park in Jessore. She won the champion title in a startup idea pitching campaign in Jessore organized by Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authorities.

ICT Division has included the story of Rokeya in the 100 Entrepreneurs Tales from Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) Project.

Such inspiring stories have become reality as the country has been implementing the Digital Bangladesh programme under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2008 with backend strategies from ICT Affairs Advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

The country has been leveraging technology to support women empowerment in line with the fifth target of sustainable development goals (SDG) for general equity.

The goal five sets targets for the UN member countries to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. The connectivity and strategic policy for women empowerment using technology help the communities to become self-reliant and contribute equally to the nation.

Female entrepreneurs are working together with their male counterparts in 8280 digital centres across the country.

“In the digital centre, we provide all kinds of citizen services like birth and death registration, banking services, land-related papers. Most people come to get birth certificates and name corrections,” Shahina Yeasmin, an entrepreneur at Horogram Union parishad under Paba Upazila of Rajshahi told the Daily Sun.

She said the digital centre created opportunities for her to come out of the home to do a job, which was dream once for any rural girl.

Under the She Power project, the government has developed 10.5 thousand women entrepreneurs till September 2021. According to the Women and Ecommerce (WE) Forum, around 5 lakhs girls are operating businesses on digital platforms of which 4 lakh are connected to the WE Group.

“Women are becoming self-sufficient using technology. Mostly, they use Facebook platforms to manage business. WE Forum is working on capacity building of women in both technology and entrepreneurship,” Nasima Akter Nisha said sharing the initiatives for developing the women entrepreneurs across the country.

Regarding the tech-driven empowerment from the bottom-line, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the connectivity has been a blessing for women as they can do jobs and run businesses on digital platforms.

“The women entrepreneurs contributing in parallel with an entrepreneur in rural level to deliver services to people using internet-connected computers at digital centres,” he said.

 ICT Division has facilitated small seed capital to 2000 women e-commerce entrepreneurs under WE Forum as they can scale up business ideas to the next level, according to the junior minister.

He said women entrepreneurs are getting priority at all hi-tech parks as the authorities directed to allocate 30 percent space to female applicants.

To ensure inclusive development, the government also provided skill-based training to 57,600 unemployed females and males from the ethnic communities.