The CARE Rural Sales Program in Bangladesh has now trained and employed nearly 3,000 women in rural areas, helping to lift them from poverty via participation in a vast distribution system that carries basic consumer products to remote villages at reasonable prices. The system carries Bata shoes, Unilever toiletries and household cleaners, and Danone yogurt, among other products. Having studied the system from the perspective of the entrepreneurs since 2008, we are now seeking funding for research that will investigate the impact the consumer goods have had on the communities in which the system is working.
We have also produced the CARE Bangladesh Case, which tells the story of the system’s birth and development in a fair amount of detail. (Also available are the CARE Bangladesh Teaching Notes which add further perspective for teachers and other readers). Most recently, an article has appeared in Gender and Development (Dolan, Johnstone-Louis, and Scott 2012).
Most recently, our team piloted a study of the impact of the consumer goods distributed by this system–now a hybrid called “Jita“–in rural Bangladesh. It was quite an experience–we went in every two days and went through the garbage, as well interviewing people about their purchases. The CARE Bangladesh system is one of many initiatives in which CARE tries to engage with gender economics. Below is a video for CARE’s “I Am Powerful Campaign.” CARE International helps women improve basic education, increase access to lifesaving health care, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, and expand economic opportunity.