In rural households in Bangladesh supported by USAID programming, 89 percent of women of reproductive age consumed diverse diets in 2021, compared to only 39 percent in 2015.
Poor maternal nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are common in Bangladesh, with 50 percent of pregnant women suffering from anemia. Women who consume more diverse diets—including fruits, vegetables, and animalsource foods like meat, eggs, and milk—are more likely to be healthy and well-nourished. They are also less likely to suffer from childbirth complications and are better able to nurture and care for their newborns.
To improve health outcomes among Bangladeshi women, USAID, through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, provides training and nutritional education for rural households to improve both women’s income-generating potential and the diversity of their diets.
One of these women was Tuhina Khatun, a Bangladeshi cattle farmer, livestock service provider, and mother, who attended USAID-supported training and educational sessions to improve her farming skills and learn more about the importance of animal source foods as part of a diverse diet.
Through this training, Tuhina also gained livestock service skills, including vaccination, deworming, calf delivery, and primary disease treatment, which helped her land a job as an animal vaccinator at the local livestock office and more than double her income.
After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and mobility restrictions affected Tuhina’s ability to continue her job as a livestock service provider, but with USAID support, she was able to adapt and provide telephone counseling and advice via a mobile application tailored to livestock service delivery.
Tuhina is now a community agent who spreads awareness about animal source foods—especially meat and milk—and livestock management throughout the community. She is also a well-respected professional, and critical decision-maker in her family and community—an uncommon role for Bangladeshi women.
USAID’s support to women farmers in Bangladesh has not only improved the quality and variety of the food they eat and increased their income, but it has also elevated their place in the community as respected and capable farmers.
By training men and women in Bangladeshi households, USAID is building local capacity, improving food security and nutrition, and supporting women to achieve economic empowerment.
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