In order to address the UN Women’s theme of this year’s International Women Day “PLANET 50-50 by 2030: STEP IT UP For Gender Equality (অধিকার, মর্যাদায়….নারী-পুরুষ সমানে সমান)”, the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project) observed the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016 at field level in its different project areas.

The project is implemented in 12 districts in Khulna, Jessore and Barisal regions by Dhaka Ahsania Mission with technical partners CARE Bangladesh and mPower.

Khulna region observed the day by arranging different rallies and discussion sessions at Terokhada, Rupsha and Dacope upazilas of Khulna, Narail Sadar and Kalia upazilas of Narail and Satkhira Sadar and Kaliganj upazilas of Satkhira district.

Representatives from department of women affairs, department of youth and development and local government representatives including chairmen of upazila parishad/ union parishad, NGOs representatives, FPG members, farmer leaders and different extension agents were present in the events to discuss the significance of the day and the importance of women’s roles in agriculture.

The project office at Terokhada upazila of Khulna jointly observed the day with the Women Empowerment Activity (WEA) Project where FPG members of both the institutions’ were present to commemorate the event.

Jessore region also organized different events at the district andupazila levels. Chaugachha and Keshabpur upazila of Jessore, Faridpur Sadar upazila of Faridpur, Gualonda and Rajbari Sadar upazila of Rajbari and Magura Sadar upazila of Magura District arranged rallies and discussion sessions on significance of the day. Government and NGO representatives and other stakeholders participated in the events along with the project staff and FPG members.

Rallies and discussion sessions were also arranged at different district and upazila levels of Barisal (Hizla), Patuakhali (Mirzaganj), Bhola (Char Fashion), Barguna (Amtali) and Pirojpur (Bhandaria) districts of Barisal region. Chairmen/ vice chairmen of upazila and union parishad, representatives from different government and non-government organizations, teachers and farmer group members were present at these events.

The participants discussed the significance of the day and also acknowledged the roles and contributions of women’s in rural agriculture, economy, technology and medical science, poverty eradications and food security. They also put special emphasis on women empowerment and nutritional issues of rural women’s health.

Apart from these district and upazila wise project initiatives to celebrate the day, the project staff celebrated the day with the Dhaka Ahsania Mission at its headquarter at Dhaka by sharing views in an open discussion session. The organization greeted and appreciated its female employees with flowers and gifts on that day.

CARE Bangladesh also arranged different activities to celebrate the day. It organized a meditation session for its female employees and also an open discussion session for all. It also arranged a “selfie/ photo message contest” for its employees. The event was named as “Voices for Equality”. Samsad Najnin, Gender Coordinator, Ag Extension Project, CARE Bangladesh obtained the first position in the contest.