Mukta Rani (38) lives in Thakurpara with her husband Bishawnath (46) and their two children, a son and a daughter. Thakurpara is a part of Uttor Fingry village, a remote village in Satkhira district. This remote village has unique challenges: salinity, water logging, long spells of drought, and natural calamities, just to name a few. These were some of the regular phenomena Mukta was facing and struggling with. Because of these challenges, Mukta joined the Pathways to Secure and Resilient Livelihoods project in December 2014 as an active farmer in the Farmers Field and Business School (FFBS).
Participating in Pathways to Secure and Resilience Livelihood project, Mukta realized that it is different than other development projects. The focus here is on building the resilience of poor and extremely poor households through addressing climatic vulnerabilities and promoting equity and sensitivity that encourages empowering women. She discussed with her husband and ensured his participation in all formal and informal training sessions, including the gender dialogue sessions. After participating in gender dialogue sessions, Bisshwnath realized that women have important roles in every aspect of life, especially in family decisions, community mobilization, and social development. He decided to include Mukta Rani in all his family decisions and he also decided not to impose any of his decisions on Mukta. He shares household activities with his wife such as cooking, washing clothes and dishes, bathing their children, and cleaning.
Now Mukta is actively participating in all of their household decisions, including education of their children, major family expenses, and choices on crop cultivation. Mukta is also able to go out of her village and is communicating with service providers like the department of agriculture extension, the union parishad, and other local service providers. She is engaged in all farm activities, established a demonstration plot to showcase adaptive crops, participated in the training sessions organized by Pathways such as the agricultural technical sessions, and took an active role in minimizing wage discrimination by organizing wage gatherings in her community. Considering climatic vulnerabilities and natural hazards the couple is now adopting sustainable and climate smart improved agricultural practices, such as preparing compost, vermin compost, line sowing, and perching.
Says Mukta, “Earlier I was mentally down to see our family’s poor financial condition. Though we are not economically solvent yet, but we are now confident enough to face any challenges, whether it’s climatic or due to family issues.”