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Solar Energy Empowers Rural Bangladesh

A recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that in the past decade the number of solar energy systems in Bangladesh climbed from around 25,000 to 2.8 million. This number is set to rise as the Bangladeshi government reportedly plans to install around 7,000 photovoltaic systems per month to convert sunlight into energy for rural households that are not on the national power grid. The World Bank has offered the government a loan of $78.4 million to finance a total of 480,000 home solar systems, so many households will soon have the benefit of electricity. Acting head of World Bank Bangladesh, Christine E. Kimes, noted that investing in electricity in rural areas serves to empower people by increasing growth opportunities, increasing income and thereby reducing poverty. Currently close to 60% of Bangladeshis do not have electricity, and the government has set a goal of ensuring all citizens have access to electricity by 2021.

In addition to benefiting the households that receive solar power, the industry has created up to 114,000 jobs in Bangladesh. These include the assembling, sales, installation and maintenance of solar panels. As the demand for solar energy increases, and is met, the number of jobs will increase too. Another positive aspect of solar generated electricity is that it allows households to rely less on kerosene, a widely used fuel oil which can have negative effects on health, including carbon monoxide poisoning.

Photovoltaic technology has been used effectively in some applications for more than fifty years, so this method of generating electrical power through the conversion of solar radiation is well tested. Currently, more than a hundred countries around the world use photovoltaic technology, which is the third most important renewable energy source after hydro power and wind power. With no moving parts and no emissions, photovoltaic solar energy production appears to be the solution for providing electricity to communities off the national power grid in Bangladesh.


Kabadi: The National Game of Bangladesh

As the National Game of Bangladesh, Kabadi is enjoyed by thousands of players, and even more spectators, around the country. Played by two competing teams, Kabadi is an outdoor activity played on a rectangular court of 12.5 by 10 meters in size, which is divided in two by a white line. Although each team consists of twelve players, only seven members of each team will be on the court at one time. The other team members remain on the sidelines as extras. To monitor the game there are two linesmen, a timekeeper, a referee, a scorer and two umpires. The decision as to who starts the game is decided by tossing a coin and it is played in 20-minute sessions.

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Sericulture in Bangladesh

While the textile industry produces an amazing array of artificial, natural and blended fabrics, many would agree that nothing beats the luxurious texture of pure silk, a product with a long history that remains popular today. The history of silk farming, known as sericulture, is said to have started in China some 5,000 or more years ago. The history of silk production in Bangladesh, which is closely linked with India dating back to the 1st century, has been part of the nation of Bangladesh since its independence in 1971. Today, Rajshahi, located near the border of India, remains the top sericulture region of Bangladesh. The climate in this area is perfectly suited to growing mulberry trees, without which sericulture would not be possible, as the Bombyx mori silkworm feeds exclusively on mulberry leaves.

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