Changing Lives of Women with NICE: Empowering Women Through Nutrition, Health, and Entrepreneurship #InternationalWomen’sDay2024

Women have always been at the forefront of societal development, playing multifaceted roles as caregivers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Recognizing the pivotal role of women in fostering sustainable development, initiatives like the NICE project have emerged to empower and uplift women, particularly in areas concerning nutrition, health, and entrepreneurship. As we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2024, it’s imperative to shine a spotlight on the transformative impact of such initiatives on the lives of women, especially those in underprivileged communities. The NICE project, operating in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur and Rangpur districts, focuses on enhancing the nutrition, health, and hygiene of urban dwellers, with a particular emphasis on women and youth. Through various initiatives and platforms, NICE aims to educate, empower, and uplift women, thereby fostering positive change in their lives and communities.

One of the cornerstone initiatives of the NICE project is the establishment of City Food Systems Women and Youth Groups (CFSWYG). These groups, comprising 20-25 members each, serve as hubs for knowledge-sharing on affordable and healthy diets, cooking practices, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Led by women, these groups not only disseminate valuable information but also encourage entrepreneurship among their members. Furthermore, the project has facilitated the establishment of Nutrition Farmers’ Hubs, which produce, process, and distribute safe vegetables to urban dwellers. This initiative not only ensures access to nutritious food but also creates economic opportunities for women involved in agriculture and food production.

CFSWYG member Rukhsana Begum from kanchon colony, sells vegetables at Bou Bazar market, Dinajpur.

The impact of the NICE project on the lives of women is best exemplified through the testimonies of its beneficiaries. Rukhsana Begum, a vegetable seller, shares her journey from financial instability to stability through her involvement in the project. With newfound knowledge on food nutrition and access to fresh produce from Nutrition Farmers’ Hubs, Rukhsana has not only increased her income but also provides her customers with safe and nutritious food.

Similarly, Mst Mimi, a chicken seller and member of CFSWYG, emphasizes the importance of health and hygiene in her business, for example before she did not know how to maintain hygiene after slaughtering the chicken but now she maintains the guideline provided to her through training by NICE. Through the project, Mst Mimi has learned about the importance of paying attention to aspects of meeting her customers expectations, thereby increasing her income and improving her family’s livelihood.

Manoki Rani owner of Jogjibon Nutriton Farmers’ Hub from Rangpur, she is collecting the freshly produced tomatoes from her farm for sorting and grading.

Another inspiring story is that of Manoki Rani, the owner of Joggjibon Farmers’ Hub in Rangpur. Manoki Rani has achieved financial independence and empowerment by selling seedlings and vegetables produced using good agricultural practices. After all her expenses, almost BDT 50,000 (USD 450) remain her. With support from her family and guidance from the NICE project, Manoki has transformed her life and become a role model for other women in her community.

In conclusion, initiatives like the NICE project play a crucial role in empowering women, fostering economic independence, and promoting health and well-being. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us recognize and celebrate the resilience, strength, and achievements of women empowered by projects like NICE, and continue to support initiatives that uplift and empower women worldwide.