Life in field experience of rural areas in Bangladesh
Have you ever pondered about the major difference between rural and urban life of a country? When such type questions come to our mind the first thing we reflect is the life style of the urban people which is far superior then the life style of the rural people in terms of technologies and other amenities but is this entirely true in the big picture of reality? In order to find out the answers to such contradictory questions prominent universities like IUB (Independent University Bangladesh) provided students like us in Bangladesh to conduct a survey in various districts of Bangladesh like Tangail, Bogura, Barishal, Syhlet etc in order to find out how the simple dwellers of rural areas are thriving there for centuries thus preserving the culture and heritage of the country. Like everyone we (Section:6) also conducted a survey particularly on Jessore(located near Indian border) as per the requirement of the course. Our temporary residence for the survey was Jessore Rural Reconstruction Foundation (RRF) which was a very beautiful place and it was mainly built for social activity like NGO purposes. After extensive survey for a prolonged period of 12 days in several areas of Jessore and interacting with the wonderful people we came up with some astounding results that could clear out several misconceptions that people of the cities living a flamboyant lifestyle in big edifices and skyscrapers have on these simple people living in the country side. On the contrary despite of the rural people living a very simple life they are also enjoying quite ample amount of facilities that the people living in cities or towns are enjoying through meticulous imitative of the current government of Bangladesh. However despite of such developments there are several impediments and constraints that needs to taken into consideration in order to improve the standard of living of these people.
Objective of the study
Behind the motive of every study or research conducted by any educational institutions irrespective of its nature is to come up with the best possible solutions that will be beneficial for the people of the society and the country in large. For instance if we look at the amount extensive research conducted by the private universities alone we find that North South, IUB and BRAC are leading ay ahead in comparison with other universities. This was only because of the hospitality and generosity of the IUB authority and faculty
members who have provided its students with a course like Life In Field Experience (LFE201) and had been made obligatory for every for every students to take to this in their undergraduate program. LFE has provide students from all departments to get themselves introduced to the entire life style in the rural areas of Bangladesh and explore the diversity of the life in village dwellers. This is possible by students keeping themselves engaged in several activities like collecting data from the appointed households to complete the survey, presentations that needs to be given in front of the panel of expert faculties and many other works as demanded by the course requirement. This research conducted live in the field does not only helps the students to get a completely new experience but also aids the faculties and professors to carry out with the research on their respective fields thus helping the nation to excel further in the foreseeable future.
Before even planning of taking this course I was in doubt of whether it would be possible for me to adapt in a complete different environment because I was personally raised up by my parents in a golden spoon and was given almost everything I ever wanted on demand. On the contrary despite of my several negative thoughts regarding this course my opinion completely changed when I got to interact with a wide range of people in that vicinity and made a lot of golden memories that I will cherish forever. For me the platform that LFE has provided me does not only comprised of the hardships that we faced regarding the main objectives of the course but also includes the things that I learnt from the village community will forever be remembered. Not to mention about the faculties and monitors who worked day and night to make this 12 days journey fruitful and worth wile. A lot of credit goes to them as well from my perspective.
1) Rural Household structure
a) Household composition
In order to define a society, community and a nation in large there is no alternative but to emphasis heavily on the basic household structure of people which mainly origins from the country side. In order to spread the peace and harmony across the nation we need to know about household structure of the village community as their household foundation does not only defines them but also defines us as well. That’s why one of the great intellectual’s modern history A.P.J Abdul Kalam Ajad who was a great scientist and former president of India once said “Where there is righteousness in the heart, There is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” This means the source of peace comes from the household structure that can be divided into two pertinent segments 1) Nuclear family and 2) Extended family. Nuclear family refers to such families where members of the family is only limited to a household head with his spouse and unmarried children while extended family can be known as the broader version of nuclear family which constitutes of several family members of the same blood line or lineage from both paternal and maternal sides of the family.
Results of the survey conducted regarding rural household structure
As far as our LFE is concerned we were assigned by IUB to survey the people living in the community in various parts of Jessore. A total battalion of 93 students assembled in groups consisting of 3 members each and were deployed in various areas of Jessore like Kochua, Vatphara and Srippodi in order to conduct the survey which the students have already accomplished with the joint collaboration of respected monitors and faculty members who aided us throughout this epic journey with all their skills and expertise. Like all others we (group 5) were also given a list consisting of 9 households in order to conduct our survey according to the requirements in the household and adult questionnaires. While we were interviewing with the household members we found that almost all of their family structure were nuclear in nature but each and every individual family were living close to each other in clusters. For instance there were some household heads like Ashraful Zaman(Household ID: 51081) who has 3 family members which includes his wife(Kamrun Nahar) and two of his children(Abdul Rashid, Nurzahan) lived independently and runs his family by working on his own. Similarly just opposite to their house there were several other houses clusterd in one place and what’s more astonishing is that the other households that we were about to survey were Ashraful Zamans own relatives. For instance the two more households that we surveyed near Ashraful Zamans house were his younger brother (Nurul Zaman) and the other household belonged to his father Malleck Biswas each engaged independently with their own family work. On the contrary despite of so many nuclear families in the nearby areas of Srippodi there are still some households who lead their life in extended families and preserved the culture and heritage of Bangladesh for generations. So extended family structure plays a vital role in developing and mending bonds between the citizens of the nation. That’s why Mother Teressa who is also known as the mother of humanity once said “What can you promote world peace? Go home and love your family”. ( The pie chart above shows the current percentage of the household structure in Bangladesh which portrays 50 percent of the people living in extended families while 41.4 percent in nuclear families which quite a positive news in the world of globalization and technologies where nuclear family is more emphasized then the extended family specially in the developed countries.)
b) Assets used or controlled by the households
Each and every one of us with a rational mind allocates their existing resources over his or her entire life span. This means the interval of time plays a very important role in each and every person’s life irrespective of people living in rural or urban areas. This means like the people living in villages or countryside are planning their regular revenues and expenditures in both short term and long term. For instance Nurul Zaman(Household Id=51082) who was one of the household head that we surveyed was a clerk in a primary government school earned only tk12000 monthly and did not earn enough money to run his family smoothly. For that they have taken some initiatives like taming domesticated animals and buying few acres land from their savings. While taking interview with Nurul Zamans wife Toru Begum we found out that they were taming two cows which were one of most pertinent resource that was contributing significantly to boost up their financial conditions for long term sustainability and development. Cattles are also considered as the ship of all livestock as like as the camels are considered as the ship of the desert. On the other hand if we look at other household families like Md Bashiruddin(Household Id:51078) and Nozor Ali(51079) they are leading quite healthy financial lives with their family not because of what they are earning in their day to day occupation but what they are earning from the proper management of their resources and one of their main long term agricultural asset is from fisheries. According the data we have collected it can be said that a lion share of their income is generated from farming wide range of fishes in their own ponds. As far as our data is concerned Nozor Ali generates a monthly income of Tk35000 from selling wide diverse range of fishes which makes a significant contribution in his entire family consisting of total 7 members including him and with this extra money apart from his regular cement supply business he has availed a lot of fixed assets that worth up to Tk70000. This is the same scenario for Md Bashruddin who generally who also generates a decent amount of income from farming these fishes like Catfish, Silver cup, Katal as there is a huge demand for such fishes in riverine countries like Bangladesh. Through this additional source of income he has a total accumulation of furniture worth tk200000, bank savings of tk50000 and have 22 shatak land which appreciates in value over period of time. So after through assessment of these extracted information we can assume that the people living in rural areas have the caliber or capabilities of managing their assets despite of several cases of income inequalities and class discrimation across the country.
c) Migration Pattern
It is often said that one of the main reason for migration of humans from one place to another lead to ample amount of discoveries that paved modern human civilization. However the term migration has more deep meaning to it. According to a article published by “The Gurdian” is says that about 2000 people from various districts of Bangladesh comes to Dhaka for a better standard of living which includes better health care, education, food and clothing. These means the lion share of the countrys influx population is concentrated in its capital thus many people (most fresh university graduates) have no option but to immigrate to other developed countries for better living standard due to limited access to jobs in the country. Despite of such common reasons there is another most important reason for this migration of poor rural people which is climate change or green house effect. This is mainly caused by overwhelming exhaustion of fuel from industries and the excretion of toxic wastes materials in the rivers that is damaging to environment especially people who are living in areas like Jessore as this very detrimental to their health.
The graph above shows the fluctuation in the growth rate of population in both rural and urban areas over a period of 100 years.
Results of the survey
From the view point of our group survey that we executed for the past 12 days at Srippodi Jessore we only came up with one house hold (ID:51084) located in Madyapara at Srippodi Jessore. The name of the household head was Zahanara Begum who left her place few years ago along with her 5 family members among them was her husband named Akbar Biswas. The reason for her to abandon her place is still a mystery and her neighbors were not able to provide us with the sufficient amount of information in this regard.
d) Comparative analysis of household assets/development over 10 year period
If we want a brief analysis of the changes or developments in household assets of rural people then we should more focus on the livestock sector like cows, goats and sheep’s which are considered as most valuable assets for most people in rural community. In order to be precise cattle which is considered as the ship of the rural people as camels are known as the ship of the desert. Like Toru Begum who is the wife of Nurul Zaman (Household id: 51082) tames two cows one is bull and another one is a female cow. A healthy female cow gives birth to 5 calves (1 in every 3 months if made pregnant). These healthy calves can be sold at very high price ranging from tk50000-tk120000 when they reaches full maturity. This means the rural people are getting these baby cows a bonus on top of that they are also generating income from fresh milk production. Thus they can accumulate a lot of assets on a span of 10 year period.
2) Rural, Agricultural market and economy
a) Major occupation and production of survey area
We often have a common misconceptions within our society and that is the people living in the urban areas are way better off in terms status, occupation, productivity and every other aspects of life. People in the modern era thinks status and flamboyant life style makes them more dignified but in reality that’s not just always the case. We should not forget that the people who are living in the country side are the key drivers of the nation because without their contributions it would be just a matter of time until all of the country resources diminishes. So in order to increase our nation’s economy and achieve economies of scale we need to put a lot emphasis on the occupations and day to day work that they are engaged in. Bangladesh noble peace prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus that ‘People should wake up in the morning and say, I am not a job seeker, I am job creator”. These priceless words are not only meant for rich elites of the city but also act as a inspiration for the people in the rural community so that can take deep pride into the occupation that they are engaged in. As most villages in Bangladesh consists miles after miles of spare lands that are yet to be developed most of the villagers take this as their golden opportunity to minimize their chances of unemployment by working in their fertile land near the banks of the river. According to the recent world bank statistics the agricultural sector of Bangladesh have provided a lot of working opportunity for the rural community and reduced the rate of poverty by 90 percent from 2005 to 2010. Moreover the citizens living in the country side represents 70% of the nations population. Among the entire working population of the country 77% consists of people working in rural areas which are quite a astonishing portion. Irrespective of the increase in the standard of living of these common people government must also need to provide them with more monetary assistance and introduce more capital intensive technologies in order to increase the overall output even more in a more efficient ,time saving and eco friendly way. On the contrary despite of providing them with several incentives the government must allow more FDI to be done by the developed countries in these remote rural area so that the level of poverty could dwindle and can create more job opportunities in the preceding years.
Outcome of the survey
While conducting our survey came across with several people each engaged in diverse range of occupational activities but to our certain dismay most of the household heads were engaged labor work or per time job. For instance if we talk about Shazzad Hussein (Household Id:51080) from Madhayaparah is currently working as a guard in Dhaka bank and earns a monthly income of Tk 13000 which may not be sufficient enough to run his rest of the 4 family members except for his elder daughter Tumpa Khatun got married when she was 18 years old. When we asked him the question whether or not this amount is sufficient to run his family he replied “ I used to conduct business which is related to supplying cement for building constructions but there I got myself being engaged in unethical business dealings and as a true Muslim believer I cannot get myself involved in such activities”. This portrays that no matter how tough their circumstances might be they are very content with the thinks they can achieve with their main job and takes them as a blessing of God. Having said that there are some exceptions to our survey where we interviewed household heads like Md Bashiruddin(Household Id:51078) and Nozor Ali Khoka(Household Id:51094) who were more financially stable and were leading a prosperous life with their children as Bashiruddins elder son works in Bangladesh Biman and supports his father financially in every way possible.
b) Supply chain management of agri/aquaculture
In order for an individual to be financially stable irrespective of whether he or she is from rural or urban areas there is no alternative of proper asset allocation through meticulously planned investments. Warren Buffet who is one of the world most richest businessman says that “Do not keep all the eggs in one basket”. This statement has a deep meaning added to it that is very much pertinent for each individual irrespective of what their nature of investments be like. As like as the people of the urban areas rely heavily on complex financial investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds for a better foreseeable future but on the contrary the rural people are also not far behind when it come to investments in agriculture sector and create a strong formidable supply chain management. According to the Quarterly Labor Force Survey 2015-2016 the farmers in the rural areas of Bangladesh contribute to about 14.74% of the ecomoys total GDP which is quite significantly immense amount. Like a rational entrepreneur the village dwellers and the senior citizens are able to diversify their risk by allocating these colossal amount of these natural resources of mother nature in the most appropriate way possible. For instance if we take a close look at the fisheries and livestock sector which is a subset of the of the countrys total agriculture sector contributes about 7 to 8% of the total GDP of Bangladesh. The current government of the nation have taken into account and have already implemented several initiative in order to keep this sector alive. One of the initiatives includes providing these people with subsidies and loans like “Ekti bari ekti khamar” so that they are encouraged to produce more of livestock and fishery related products which will reduce the dependency of Bangladesh on other developed countries. Moreover in order to further strengthen the supply chain of livestock and fisheries the government have established training centers in order to equip the rural farmers with all the skills and expertise to maximize their production. Due to such overwhelming dedication and hard work of the government Bangladesh has achieved the fastest production of agricultural products like eggs, meat, milk and many other dairy related products thus capturing a huge market share in the South East Asia. The same goes for the supply chain of the fishery sector where with the help of these rural community the country was able to use its fertile land and river areas to maximize the production of fishes from 712,640 to 2,060,408 metric ton within a span of 16 years (2000-2016). As a result of these immense production Bangladesh is able to earn foreign earnings worth approximately US 446.60 billion or more according to 2015 statistics. These statistics shows that Bangladesh is on progress of rapid development through proper allocation of these primary renewable resources thus strengthening the nation’s overall supply chain management.
The graph shows a positive relationship between timeline and the amount of GDP growth rate and over the period of 8 years (2010-2018) there has been a steady increase in the GDP contribution of the agricultural sector.
Results from survey
Despite of seeing the bright side of supply chain management of Bangladesh agricultural sector we found out several limitations in this area while interacting with some household heads as prescribed in our survey list. Among them was Ashraful Zaman (Household Id:51081) from Madhayparah, Srippodi, Jessore who share his sad story with us. When we first visited his house we detected a vacant shed with no cows in it. Seeing the empty shed immediately made us ask him the reason behind it and he replied that he used tame two bulls for Eid Ul Azha but ended up selling them in loss due to excess cost of cattle feed. On the other hand Nozor Ali Kohka(Household Id-51079) who was also Madhayoarah, Srippodi also reported us that he lost several of his cows due to using wrong medications as prescribed by the veterinary sergeants . These issues that we heard from our data collation were really deplorable and we urge the government to take their views and problems into account or these sector will face imminent threat of collapse in the foreseeable future thus having a negative impact of the overall supply chain of the overall agri/aquaculture.
c) Average monthly income and expenditure of the households
As we are in the world of globalization and international trade, rapid technological innovations entails constant change in the living standards of the people around the globe thus having a dramatic impact in the overall income and expenditure of both rural and urban community of a nation. If we focus on the context of Bangladeshi rural community we can see a ever increasing expenditure of the village people as a whole compared to the amount of income they generate from their day to day activities. If we look at the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) of 2016 which is published once every five years shows that household heads in village areas spend a average of tk14,156 which is more than the average income of tk13,153. Although the current government Bangladesh have taken significant measures to reduce the rate of poverty in the country but in compared to its other neighboring countries like India and Pakistan Bangladesh is still lacked far behind. The survey also shows the overall rural household expenditure took a quick upward trend of 47 percent which is quite massive compared to the raise in income which is 38 percent within a span of six years. The survey was conducted by collecting data from 46076 households from different districts and villages of Bangladesh which means the survey can be heavily relied on to a certain extend. Zahid Hussein who one of the lead economists of World Bank, Dhaka office said “The slump in remittance might be the reason behind the discrepancy between income and expenditure,” so remittance is playing a huge factor here which the government must take into considerations.
The pie chart here shows the distribution of expenditure of a average household head in the rural area. In some families they are not able to gather enough money that they can save by their own accord.
Data extracted from the life field experience
While conducting our survey and talking with these kind hearted people who showed us a lot of hospitality but when it comes to disclosing their day to day incomes and expenditures they sort of try their best to either by diverting away from this topic or provide hypothetical or fabricated information. For instance when we interviewed Nozor Alis wife Majeda Begum in his absence she at first informed us that her husband earns a monthly salary of tk30000 but when she started to disclose his sources of finance step by step in response to our questions then we found out he generated tk50000 to tk60000 from fisheries from his pond and tk30000 from his daily cement carrying contracts which sums up to a total of tk100, 000. Moreover his overall monthly expenditure added up to tk70, 000 which includes his fixed, semi-fixed and variable expenses. The rest of the households are involved in normal labor occupations in order to sustain in a normal manner.
d) Major components of the monthly income
A rational individual divides its income into two parts, the first part is used by individuals in order to meet up his/her needs and the needs of the family. If there is any leftovers then the rest of the money is used to fulfill the wants of the individual and his/her family members. The major components of village people includes involvement in agricultural sector like livestock, per time job in construction work or other business. If we look closely at the people who are living in the rural sides of Bangladesh we can see that they still leads a very plain and simple lives by meeting up all the needs and barely meeting up their wants. However like every other cases there are some few exceptions. As far as our survey is concerned we encountered one of the household head named Ashraful Zaman(51081) who earned about tk13000-tk15000 monthly income from working at a daily labor job(involves carrying bricks on van from one place to another) can only effort the basic needs that includes food, water, healthcare, clothing and education for him and his nuclear family. On the contrary if we look at Nozor Ali Khoka(Household id:51079) he earns a total monthly of tk100000 from him fisheries and cement business. thus he faces little or no problem meeting up the wants of his family after all the expenditures are done for the basic needs.
e) Year on year change in monthly household income
The monthly income of the people living in rural villages like Srippodi Jessore fluctuates quite frequently as most of the people living there are engaged in per time labor work and there income depends on their level of activity and contribution to their work. Even household heads like MD Boshiruddin(Household id:51078) earns different level of monthly income depending on the seasonal demand of local fishes specially during the mating season when the number of fishes in lakes and ponds raises in immense level. So for all these reason there is annual changes in monthly income.
a) Literacy rate of survey area
It is often said that education is the back bone of a nation so if someone wants to obliterate a nation they should wipe out the intellectuals from their respective society. That’s what Pakistan tried to do during the liberation war in order to suppress the entire Bangladeshi population. That was during the early 90s but if we want see the literacy rate of the people in this nation at present time we will be able to see a massive change as more and more parents are sending their children to schools, colleagues and university thus contributing in the nation’s economy by building up a strong and formidable human resource. As far as UNSECO is concerned the rate of literacy of the adult population in Bangladesh is about 72.3% according to the data of 2016 which was about 51.6% back to 2004. UNESCO have provided this information based on taking three major factors into considerations and they are reading, writing and doing simple arithmetic. These level of advancements in education was not attained only because of the government initiatives but also because of the social awareness within the citizens. The senior citizens in our country both in rural and urban areas are more conscious about their future generations and don’t want to make any costly mistakes with their lives. If we observe the literacy rate in rural areas we can also see that many people specially the younger generations are highly literate and educated. If we distinguish between the literacy rate of the rural and urban areas we can reflect that literacy rate in rural areas is about 65.4% compared to citizens in city areas it is 80.7% which is quite a remarkable achievement in compared to past 5 years. Moreover AKM Ashraful Haque who is working as the project director in observing the current scenario of Vital Statistics of Bangladesh Project said that more and more researches are conducted in this field as additional 2,012 areas were surveyed in various rural areas in 2016 in order to increase the accuracy of the statistics.
Findings from the survey
When it comes to literacy rate most of the household members that we observed were well equipped with basic level of education except for few. Among the few households there was one with the household head named Malek Biswas (household id:51083), a 77 years old man who only studied till class three in a local primary school and only knew how to write his own name in Bengali otherwise he did not knew how to read or write anything. On the contrary if we talk about his wife Kodh Banu who is 60 years old happily married wife but did not pursue any form of education what so ever and used her figure print for signing any paper or documents. So when they encounters any problem related to reading out important papers like doctors medicine prescriptions or other legal documents related to confiscation of lands by the elite class are read out by his sons who lives nearby. As far as the other households are concerned they have already gathered the basic level of education.
b) Enrollment and attainment of primary, secondary and tertiary education (gender and age wise distribution)
In the era of modern science and technology where educational qualification plays the key role to ultimate success in the world, and in order to achieve that success people in different parts of the world including Bangladesh entails their children attain such qualifications for leading a life they aspire. For the past 5 years Bangladesh has made some significant achievements in all spheres of education whether it is primary, secondary or tertiary level of education. In order to be more specific the nation total net rate of enrollment in the primary level of education went up from 80 percent to 90 percent within a span of 5 years(2000-2015).The level of enrolment in the secondary level of education also increased from 45 percent to 54 percent with the same tenure. In addition when it comes to gender equality for education the current government plays a very prominent role here thus increasing the rate of children accomplishing primary education by 80 percent. Despite of such massive improvement the tertiary education still remains untouched and needs immediate attention of the government. It is demonstrated by the World Bank Enterprise Skill survey of 2012 that according to the prospective of the nations entrepreneurs that people with higher study qualifications are not up to the mark of the labor market. This means this sector must be more focused by the current government so that they can facilitate the fresh graduated with international level education qualifications.
Extracted data from the survey
After doing extensive research based on the limited households with in the allotted time we have found that the educational qualifications of the adult members or senior citizens were not that satisfactory although people during their time did not put a lot of emphasis on education. For instance there was one household in Poshchim Para where the household head Mijanur Rahman (Household Id: 51095) studied in a public government school but only continued till he was 15 years of ag . This was due to the lack of financial support from his family and it was impossible for him to pursue any further education by his own accord so he had to study till class 8 and coincidentally his wife also studied till class 8 in a primary school but had to stop as her parents wanted her to marry early. Similarly if we talk about Bashiruddins family we see that he completed his education till class 10 and his wife Marzina Begum finished her education till class 9. This were the most educated people in terms of their qualifications compared to the other households that we surveyed so far and they could both read and write in bangle very fluently while having a little grip on English as well.
c) Type of education completed or currently enrolled
During the early 90s especially after the 1971 liberation war the economy the of Bangladesh was utterly devastated and relied heavily on foreign aid to boost up its GDP. As a result of that educational sector have been severely affected by this many people had to migrate illegally to other nations specially in India for pursing higher studies or lead a stable life. Despite of all such obstacles there were some who still enrolled themselves in schools or madrashas due to their strong determination. On the contrary youths from todays generation are more alert of the importance of education and are now pursuing higher level education which even includes technical and vocational level.
The pie chart shows the proportion of academic institutions in the available spheres of education. According to our survey we only found one household with household head named Aminur Raham(Household Id:51094) studied in madrasah till class 5 as we was not able to bear his study related expenses any longer.
d) Location for higher education
Due to the large scale impact of international trade and globalization the people all across the globe are being enlightened with knowledge of innovation and that also does not exclude the citizens of Bangladesh. If we see Bangladesh from todays prospective we can see a array of educational institution located throughout Bangladesh. Dhaka which is the capital of Bangladesh is also known as the hub of all educational institutions. In recent times the youths of are privileged to get high qualified and internationally recognized primary, secondary and tertiary level education. For instance North South and Independent University Bangladesh which are the most oldest and the most prominent private universities in Bangladesh is located at Bashundhara Dhaka. Moreover North Western University,Bangladesh in Khulna and Noakhali Science Technology University in Chittagong are also contributing immensely in developing highly skilled and eligible human resources for the nation.
4) Health and Sanitation
a) Sources of drinking water
In a time when information is at our finger tips we surely know that two third of this is covered in water or we can say 70% of the earth’s surface is overflowed with water. We may wonder now despite of having abundance of water why millions of people are deprived of this priceless resource? If we look closely we will notice that among this total area which is covered with water only 3% is considered as fresh eligible drinking water in order to support life on land and rest of the 97% is pure saline for water and cannot at all be used for drinking. If we amplify the situation a bit more and focus on purified water management in Bangladesh specially in the rural area we find that 97% of the concentrated population counts solely on natural underground water reserves. During the year 2015 there was not much difference between the availability of drinkable water in rural and urban areas as overall 87% of the population got access to such purified water. Having said that we can see around 21 million people is deprived from these basic human rights. Back when arsenic was discovered in both urban rural areas of Bangladesh during 1993 the rate of accessibility to drinkable water dwindled and thus many of the common peoples life was at stake. In spite of several impediments that the citizens of the nation went through they still managed to sustain them and are able to thrive in a healthy manner thanks to the significant initiatives of the government joint cooperation of the nations citizens and foreign aid from other developed and developing countries.
Results from survey
In this scenario we found one tube well in each and every family excluding the household of Ashraful Zaman, Nurul Zaman and Malek Biswas with household Ids:5108 ,51082 and 81083 respectively shared only a common tube well or fetch water from the nearby ponds if necessary.
Structure of bathroom
As Bangladesh is moving forward towards becoming a developed nation each milestones taken by the nation towards development changes the fate of its citizens specially the people dwelling in the rural areas. Among several amenities that rural people are enjoy the development of rural sanitation is also a part of the significant achievements. In the early days most of the people specially those who used to live in the country villages lead a very simple life and just simply sustained themselves in complex circumstances due to lack of resources and money. Back in the early 90s people were not much aware or concerned of the hygiene factors that come with proper sanitation planning. Previously people use to construct their toilet surrounded by bamboo sticks, this type of sanitation system is known as kaccha toilet in local term. In comparison to that now we can see massive developments in rural household infrastructures including sanitation where 31 percent of the toilets in respective households are pucca and 69% semi pucca. This is a remarkable achievement for citizens of Bangladesh.
Data extracted from surveys
According to our collected information we did not find any households that had any toilets that can be considered kaccha but most of the households have semi pucca toilets excluding Nozor Ali Khoka (Household id: 51079) who was a well established business man and lived in a well constructed house with two pucca toilets.
Types of healthcare services
Healthcare is one of the basic and fundamental requirements of human kind and one of the key job of the government is to maximize medical facilities in order to maximize social welfare. Despite of several efforts of government to facilitate its citizens with better healthcare facilities many of the policies are yet to be implemented. One of the most vital problems that the nation is facing is lack of well trained medical doctors, nurses and other medical specialists. When we are talking about providing the initial training to the medical students in their specialized field of research the matter of fund allocation comes into play which is filled up with corruption. As a result of such internal and external level of corruption in all sector of healthcare like private and public clinics, personal chambers, pharmacy, compounders etc. This have a negative impact on the normal people living in rural areas who have no idea about the medical world. Thus they fall in paramount of problems and even getting wrong treatments for their disease.
Results from the survey
If we take a look at the results that we have gathered from the survey we can see that most of the household seeks medical assistance either from nearby private clinics or from local pharmacies but sometimes they end up getting wrong medications due to the lack of expertise of the medical people. For instance when we interviewed Aminur Rahmans wife Jahanara Begum(Household id:51094) she told us his husband has gastric but we found out that he is taking completely different medications as prescribed by his local doctors. This is mainly happening due to the lack to training and monitoring assistance from the government regulatory body.
Prevalence of common diseases
Whenever we talk about taking preventative measures to cure or surpass common diseases the first thing we do is to seek assistance from the doctors. This is specially the case of the rural people living in the country sides where they are either unaware of the common diseases in their community or does not bother much regarding that matter. So one of the best way to repel this common diseases such as gastric (which is a common problem in Srippodi Jessore which was our survey area) is to be self conscious about us and our surroundings. For example while conducting our survey we saw two or three households are sharing one common toilet which is very unhygienic for their family members as well as for the entire community. Apart from taking actions as a community we also need back up from the government body and group of doctors specialized in their respective departments in order to minimize the chances of occurring this diseases.
Results from survey
One of the most common diseases that we observed in most households is gastric and high pressure and in order to prevent it these common people are having medicines like Seclo, Alactrol and Antacid etc. However in order to stop relying in medications too extensively people must bring disciplinary changes in their lives.
Major medications and expenditures
As far as the medication and healthcare systems are concerned in the rural areas of Bangladesh we can see a lot of limitations irrespective of the initiatives taken by the government as reflected in their budget plans that they pass every years. At present Bangladesh still does not have enough capital and labor intensive technologies to support this influx level of population thus the ones who are financially healthy can either get their treatments from renounced private hospitals or can go abroad for treatments which the middle class or lower middle class income people cannot even think about due to the existence of income equalities in the country. Despite of such limitations the country is still trying to pull out through this by getting foreign support from India, China and Japan. The underprivileged people specially in rural areas who are suffering are malnutrition and other terminal illness like cancer are getting safety net support from the government like setting health campaigns to provide them with major family planning and other health related aspects. People who cannot afford advanced private oriented medical facilities ends up in getting admitted to public hospitals where a very small a handful of medical team including doctors, nurses and sergeants have to confront waves after waves of patients suffering from wide range of diseases like asthma, common cold, cancer, hurt failure etc which are very high maintenance disease and can take up to tk210000 for undergoing several tests like CABG and ASD.
According to the survey we have seen that the people in Srippodi do not have to run from chambers to chambers for medical purposes as by the grace of god they do not face severe problems related to health matters as they get access to fresh natural vegetables and other foods and they are not at all stressed about their life. However there was one household where Malleck Biswas(Household id:51083) along with his wife Kodth Banu bibi were both having some complexities regarding their health which is more likely due to their old age period. Malleck Biswas who is a 77 years old man is suffering from chest pain, migraine pain in his head and is also having gastric problem at the same time. Currently he is under a lot of medications and he orders most of his medicines from India as prescribed by the doctors which costs him even more money. In order to be precise he spends around Tk25000 a month for his treatment purpose as a whole which is quite expensive.
5) Local government structure and services provided
a) Local government administration
Behind the development of each and every nation there is a strong force of government regulatory bodies that enforces the law for the welfare maximization of its nations citizens. The entire government of system has a huge chain of command with several sub branches that spreads out from districts to districts, states to states and from one community to the other in order to reach the people of every corner of the country. Although the local government structure could get complex depending on the size of the country but if we focus explicitly on the local government administration of small country like Bangladesh then the situation could be understandable in a amplified manner. The people who are working on local government administration get involved in a wide range of tasks which are related to serve the best interests of the local people. All of these tasks that need to be executed are planned meticulously for a forecasted five years before hand. Some of the most pertinent activities or the objectives that needs to be achieved for local rural development includes the following:
- Maintaining the economic growth of rural areas in compliance with the economic growth of the urban areas so that the overall economic condition of nation can be stabilized.
- Enforcing the social safety net programs especially for the lower middle class people.
- Encouraging the promotion of projects that are related to pro-poor and women-focused.
b) Services provided by the government
When there is no one to stand by the innocent citizens of a particular nation it becomes the outmost duty of the government to protect their interest in the best way possible abiding by the rules and regulations of the constitution. One of the most important service that they provide s its people with their unique identification that distinguish themselves from the people of other countries. These is done through complex and time consuming procedure that includes maintaining important documents like passports, NID, birth certificates and death certificates. For instance the rules and regulations of every countries including Bangladesh entails everyone who claims to be the citizen of the country must have passport which is the true reflection of the people irrespective of his or her age. In addition the passport containing the major information of an individual must also have at least have eight years of validity tenure before being applied for renewal. If we talk about NID (National Identity Card) it is very crucial for every citizens of Bangladesh have this unique card once a individual passes 18 years of age. With the help of this card citizens of the nation can enjoy a wide range of amenities in the nation like accessing utility connection, bank accounts etc. Several other documents like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, income tax return and divorce certificates are few more important document that government authorities helps its citizens to facilitate with. Other wide range services provided by the government includes food(includes providing fresh and salubrious agricultural products), health care , education and defense which were discussed elaborately in the previous section.
Proposed long term plans
We have already observed several achievements and limitations of the government regarding rural household structure, rural agriculture, education, healthcare and local government structure. Throughout the report we have seen many major and minuscule constrains faced by the government and here are some proposed 5 year plans regarding the above five factors:
Rural household structure
- Proper allocation of the nations finance raised from the government fund through direct and indirect taxation imposed on all the employed people of the country.
- Rely on more capital intensive technology to build more interact design houses for the rural community thus saving time and labor effort.
- Provide the rural people with more subsidies and establish training center in order to equip them with skills and resources to manage their agricultural portfolio.
- Provide them with more efficient internet, mobile and other technical supports so that they can communicate with their respective specialists working under local government authority.
- Empower the younger generation of the rural community with educational qualification which will be recognized both internationally and domestically.
- Aiding them by proving them with professional trainings specially related to ICT and modern technology so that more better human resources can come out from this remote area in order to take the country forward.
- Creating more awareness among the village citizens regarding the common and major diseases that they might encounter.
- Send more skilled and experienced medical teams in these remote rural areas so that they can come to their aid with their medical expertise when needed.
Local governmental structure
- Recruit better trained, experienced and deserving people in the chain of command of government body.
- Reduce the level of corruption in every stage of the local government structure as much as possible.
Limitations of the survey:
While conducting our survey regarding the households we came across several obstacles and hardships specially in the first few days of commencing our survey where the entire area was very unknown to us and we were getting lost there every now and then. Thanks to our guide Moyena khala from our temporary residence who helped us identify all household in our list in Srippodi. In addition to that we faced a lot of technical impediments while conducting our survey. For instance when we made our attempt to enter our data from extracted information of the interviewed villagers to the IUB software we had to confront arrays of problem. Like when we tried to match the data related to the name of the household name and the name of the family members we could not relate to it as the names in the software does not match the data we collected. We also faced several other problems like sudden shut down of server due to poor internet connection and thus getting several resets from the monitors. Other barriers includes maintaining strict regular discipline when it comes to attendance during breakfast, launch, snacks, dinner and session times. Although we faces several obstacles but it was a time which will be worthy of remembrance.
Our Bangladesh is a nation full of infinite resources and has a lot of future potential if these resources are being exploited in the right manner. One of the right way is by providing students of various educational sectors and intellectuals from all level that includes faculties, professors and barristers the platform where they can conduct extensive research in order to come up with solutions for the current problems faced by the government. Students and faculties should join forces to conduct field works which we already have executed by going to Jessore for our survey work. We students are very grateful to private educational institutions like IUB for providing us with such a priceless opportunity to explore our talents in such a massive level. The memories that we gathered will be forever cherished but most importantly we had a chance to get mingled with the mesmerizing beauty of our nation and thus realized the importance of our independence. Long live the sovereignty of our nation.
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