Morsheda Khatun is a Nutrition Sales Agent. She lives and works in Gaibandha district, one of the most underserved parts of Bangladesh. “People from my community, including men, often come to me for advice. I never experienced this before. It kind of gives me a sense of equality in my family and in society.”
“In our patriarchal society, we women are often neglected and forced to stay within the boundary of our house. Usually, we are busy with household tasks like childcaring, cooking. We have little involvement when it comes to making decisions. It was the same for me too before I started working as a Nutrition Sales Agent (NSA) in the SONGO project.
People from my community, including men, often come to me for advice. I never experienced this before. It kind of gives me a sense of equality in my family and in society.
As an NSA, I sell personal hygiene, birth control, and nutrition products and provide health advice to women in my community. I feel this has given me a new identity. People now recognise me by my name. I am not referred to by my father’s or husband’s identity anymore.
My husband and other male family members now discuss with me before making any major decisions. People from my community, including men, often come to me for advice. I never experienced this before. It kind of gives me a sense of equality in my family and in society.
I was trained in nutrition and hygiene practices, business skills, and networking, and became an entrepreneur. I became an icon in my community and help men and women understand the importance of good nutrition and hygiene practices. Women become more aware of their health. They understand how being healthy can help to have a healthy baby. I feel I am inspiring others.”
SONGO stands for Sustained Opportunities for Nutrition Governance. Kurigram and Gaibandha districts, the project’s working area, are among the poorest, most underserved, and most disaster-prone parts of Bangladesh. Malnutrition rates are very high. Severe gender inequality further intensifies and increases poverty and fragility. Mothers lack basic nutrition and nutrition awareness, resulting in the impaired growth of their babies (stunting). The project improves the nutrition situation by engaging women as Last Mile Sales Agent for behavior change and door-to-door product availability.