Poverty Reduction through e-Commerce Platform in Remote Rural Community

Terms of Reference
For
Improving local capacity in producing organic products and managing seed fund of the entrepreneurs

Background:

IOM, Korea Telecom (KT) and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) are jointly implementing a “Digital Island” project in Moheshkhali to enhance public services on the island, including education, health care, public safety, and access to information, by installing high speed internet under KT’s Creative Shared Value (CSV) strategy. The project enjoys strong support from the ICT Ministry of GoB along with various private and government stakeholders. The Digital Island project was officially launched via a video link in Korea and Bangladesh on 27 April 2017, after one and half years of project preparation and infrastructure installation.

Moheshkhali Island has a total population of 321,218 and an average literacy rate amongst the population of 30 percent, which is well below the national average of around 50 percent. On the Island, 62% of the total population are living under the poverty line and most of the people highly depend on agriculture and the fisheries sector for their livelihoods. Due to its geographical remoteness, one of the main obstacles for economic growth for the community is the poor infrastructure and lack of market accessibility. Furthermore, the conservative social environment limits women’s engagement in social and economic activities. Although the participation of women in economic activities is slowly increasing, the limited educational and vocational training opportunities for women is leaving them behind.
The main agriculture products on the island are cash crops and plant food are hardly cover the entire island due to salinity intrusion as a result of the rising sea level. Therefore, the community has adapted alternative ways to generate income, including betel leaf, fish, dry fish, and salt. However, farmers/producers do not have proper information on the price retail shops sell to customers in main cities, sales channels or the wholesale/retail process. Many of the farmers depend on middlemen for access to markets, without their own information on the retail prices, and thus, often underprice themselves.

This project aims to alleviate poverty through increasing the price the producers can hope to get for their crops and increasing inclusive business opportunities for a vulnerable population in remote areas through an innovative E-commerce business model based on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, and high-speed internet.

The project engaged one e-commerce platform provider, Amar Desh Amar Gram, to facilitate e-commerce channel to sale Moheshkhali products.

Moreover, the project already developed a Marketing Strategy to sale Moheshkhali based products. The project is promoting organic cultivation among the community farmers so that the supply of good quality products can be ensured in the e-commerce platform. To this end, the project is planning to partnering with implementing partner to improve the local capacity in producing organic products and to distribute, manage and monitor the utilization of the seed fund among the selected entrepreneurs. 

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