Nari Jibon Development Foundation

Alternative Skills for Women

     
 
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Aim of Nari Jibon Development Foundation

Nari Jibon Development Foundation Narrative-Report

(Kathryn Ward and Katie Zaman, July 2007)

"Nari Jibon History Circa 2005"

The overall purpose of Shakti Kumari Trust-Nari Jibon Project is to provide services and support to women students and workers of Bangladesh to receive basic educational and technological skills for employment, income-generation, empowerment, and business development. The project also provides connections to on-going employment, education, and livelihood opportunities, conducts and publishes quality research on these issues, and thereby contributes to the social-economic growth of women and their families in Bangladesh and other developing countries.

Beginnings

The Nari Jibon Project began as training and research program in Bangladesh in March 2005 in Malibagh Chowdhurypara, Dhaka, Bangladesh . Initially the NJP offered basic classes in Bangla, English, tailoring, and computers using volunteer teachers from the USA , a few Bangladeshi faculty and staff, and donated computers and sewing machines. Students were charged a nominal fee to attend classes (100 taka for any class). The students included local young and older women from slums, local schools, and service holders. NJP also has been offering services such as alternative skills training for women seeking work different from their usual or past work. NJP also offered paid training and services to a few work-study students who attended relevant classes, received on the job training in tailoring and/or office skills, and did outreach. Private donors paid for support and start up costs.

By December 2005 and owing to limited classroom space, NJP rented another flat within the same building. Our students averaged 60 per day. NJP offered computer repair and more advanced graphics classes and also added a webpage and broadband internet. Staff provided support services and taught English, computer, and tailoring classes. The NJP added the Research Cell to continue USA grant funded research on women workers in garment, sex, domestic, household, and informal sectors (from January-May), and also track the progress of students and educational services. Research cell staff members were also available for contract research work with the proceeds to go to Nari Jibon activities and staff expenses. To assist in tailoring business development, NJP started a sewing machine revolving loan fund for the best tailoring graduates. Five persons founded the Shakti Kumari Trust (not for profit charitable trust) in Bangladesh in December 2005 to define the mission, goals and umbrella organization for Nari Jibon in Bangladesh . Political events have precluded additional NGO registration until next parliamentary electgions, now promised for late 2008.

By summer 2006, students averaged 70 per day. To aid in skills training, services provision, provide practical business training, and to generate sustainable income for the not for profit charitable organization, NJP rented another flat in the same building. Three businesses and training provisions were added: Nari Jibon Cyber Café (for women only) and a Computer Repair shop (open to all) and a Nari Jibon Tailoring Shop and Training Centre (children and women's clothing). These centres are supervised by staff members, but also provide work opportunities for advanced students. Income generated is reinvested in the businesses, but eventually will generate the salaries and rent for staff and the facilities. No funds will come to the USA . Further, NJP started an Information Com Technology (ICT) magazine for advanced computer and graphics students. Participants have received training in journalism, digital photography, writing, and interviewing and have generated a small web-based magazine every month with the assistance of their graphics, computer, and English instructors. Most recently NJP has started English and Bangla blogs for students' and staff members' skill development: www.narijibon.blogspot.com . These blogging activities have resulted in the award of a micro-grant from Rising Voices/Global Voices to increase the blogging activities and skills of our students.

Running Students and Graduates –see Table at end of document

Planning

Future plans include gradually expanding the levels of enrollment, improving instruction/curricula quality, and also building more secure bridges to work and businesses for the students. This would also include more contacts with potential and actual employers and educators on the students' skills and performance.

In December of 2006, Dr. Ward and Katie Zaman developed a comprehensive set of goals and objectives for Nari Jibon. This document includes measurable “process and outcome” evaluations, so that progress towards completion of objectives can be closely monitored. Bangladeshi staff members are currently being introduced to the goals and objectives, but they are familiar with many concepts, as this document is a formalization of the continuing efforts of NJP staff.

It is anticipated that as the project becomes more efficient, and as funding permits, the project will quickly become known as an evidence-based model for non-traditional women's education in developing areas.

Nari Jibon Students at a glance
Present status of Nari Jibon students July 2007
Date: 05/07/07

Section Running Students Graduate Students 2007 Graduate Students 2006 Graduate Students 2005
Bangla 7 3 5  
Tailoring 25 5 41 5
English-1 18 5 29  
English-1.5 19 5 29  
English-2 42 10 **  
Computer Basic & Office Program 33 6 13  
Microsoft Office Word 25 11 30  
Microsoft Office Excel 4 3 17  
Microsoft Access 1 5 18  
Microsoft Power Point 0 6 13  
Microsoft Publisher 3 - -  
Computer Repair 9 6 4  
Graphics Design 12 0 2  
ICT Magazine 8      
Photography 3 3    
         

** Many students, but taught by volunteer foreigner teachers who did not keep good records, until current teacher took over in late 2006.

 

Nari Jibon Development Foundation, 404/B (3rd floor) Malibag Chowdhurypara, Dhaka-1219, Office Telephone: 880-2-825-3637, Mobile: 01819414949.