Knowledge management unlocks market systems and empowers women farmers in Bangladesh


  • Albaab Ur-Rahman CARE
  • Emily Janoch CARE
  • Prabodh Devkota CARE


Knowledge Management, Market-based solution, value chain, agriculture extension, private sector engagement, financial inclusion, gender, social inclusion, knowledge brokering


CARE Bangladesh has long worked with the private sector to find market-based solutions to help the extreme poor, especially women and girls, graduate out of poverty. Social inclusion into market systems is critical to this graduation. Similarly, the integration of information technology has potential for impact at scale. In two of the most successful experiences?the Agricultural Extension Support Project and Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain?unlocking partnership with the private sector, understanding needs and expectations among CARE, private sectors and communities helped to co-create   innovative information usage and manage knowledge transparently. Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain?with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?used new Digital Fat Testing machines to make milk quality very transparent to producers and buyers, and pay a premium for higher quality milk. To do so, the project combined field collected data on milk quality, farmers? profile, including geographical locations over google map, which enabled private sectors to have detailed supply chain information including quality milk, volume and female farmers? as active producers., This also helped private sectors understand which female farmers needed capacity building support to strengthen their ability in business planning and productivity. This gender focused experience was transformative in the sense that this enabled Aarong dairy (the second largest dairy company in Bangladesh) to work in a targeted manner in scaling smallholder women?s participation in their supply chain from 2% to 55% in just 4 years. Brokering knowledge between different private sector actors?from smallholder farmers to large scale companies?was a turnkey solution that unlocked broader inclusion of poor women farmers in fresh dairy sector.

In a highly gendered society like Bangladesh, women?s mobility, voice, control over asset, financial decision making are limited. When these multiple forms of discrimination are coupled up with poverty, the intensity of marginalization is much deeper and have inter-generational impact requiring dynamic multi-stakeholder approach to be addressed.  

The Agriculture Extension Support Project?with support from USAID?s Feed the Future?worked with banks and communities to get new agricultural financing to women who normally would not be able to access them due to various constraints. Combining digital technology, local agro-dealers, and new knowledge about a potential customer base, the project was able to facilitate the information and knowledge process in a way that allowed banks to engage a new customer base and co-create an innovative practice that helped transforming the financial inclusion of small holder women farmers. The pilot phase allowed 3,100 people?more than half women?to access USD190,000 in loans to improve their agricultural productions, at less than half of the interest rate they would have been charged with other sources.


Author Biographies

Albaab Ur-Rahman , CARE


Albaab-Ur-Rahman is a knowledge management professional with 10 years of experience across private sector and development organizations in research, evaluation, change management and innovation in Bangladesh, Yemen and USA. He has been responsible for introducing Knowledge Management to CARE Bangladesh, one of the largest country offices of CARE International, across 80+ projects reaching over 7m people while assisting 5 social business ventures to be spun off from development projects using principles of lean startup and human centered design.


Emily Janoch, CARE


Emily Janoch is the Director for Knowledge Management and Learning at CARE, focusing on ways to better learn from, share, and use implementation experiences on eradicating poverty through empowering women and girls in order to improve impact.  With 14 years of experience, she is an expert in designing systems to capture and share information across many sources, and facilitating conversations with practitioners and decision makers. She has a BA in International Studies from the University of Chicago, and a Masters' in Public Policy in Internationals and Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Prabodh Devkota , CARE

Prabodh Devkotabrings grassroots, national, regional and global level experiences in international development and humanitarian response. He is currently working as the Deputy Country Director -Programs for CARE Bangladesh, one of CARE?s largest program portfolios.


Bosch, Icíar. (2019). Knowledge management in international development.

CARE Knowledge Management Framework, September 2018 (Internal Document)

Sebstad, J. and M. Cohen (2000). Microfinance, Risk Management, and Poverty. AIMS synthesis Study Commissioned for World Development Report 2000/2001, World Bank, Washington, DC

White, Sarah. (2008). But What is Wellbeing? A Framework for Analysis in Social and Development Policy and Practice.

Mahalder, Bidyuth & Salam, Moin & Sharmin, Tania & Ahmed, F. (2018). A-Card: Re-engineering Micro-Finance for Smallholder Farmers in Bangladesh. 29.

Seguino, Stephanie & Floro, Maria. (2003). Does Gender Have Any Effect on Aggregate Saving? An Empirical Analysis. International Review of Applied Economics. 17. 147-166. 10.1080/0269217032000064026.