Organic Farming Uplifts Communities in Bangladesh
With its head office based in Tokyo, Japan, and an affiliate office in Dhaka, Hunger Free World (HFW) is a non-profit organization running community-based projects in 23 villages in the Bangladeshi districts of Boda, Kaliganj, Jhenaidah and Panchagargh. The organization has a four-pronged approach to its projects – advocacy, youth development, raising of public awareness, and practical development projects. Projects focus on education, environment, improvement of nutrition, health and sanitation, gender equality and income generation. The areas chosen for the projects have been identified as being in need due to having limited access to healthcare and sanitation, a high level of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, as well as facing environmental hazards.
In order to start addressing some of these issues, education centers were built in the Kaliganj, Jhenaidah district and Boda, Panchagargh districta to provide local farmers with training on organic farming principles. This HFW initiative provides instruction on several topics related to agriculture, including composting, poison-free farming, herbal training, and apiculture. Instruction on composting includes the topics of vermicomposting and bokashi – environmentally friendly ways of turning waste into soil food. Bokashi is a method of composting developed by Japanese farmers centuries ago in which food waste is mixed with microorganisms to speed up the composting process through fermentation.
So far more than 800 women have received training on organic farming, with hundreds of men receiving training on the cultivation of fish. As the benefits of organic farming become evident, more and more farmers are turning to this method of farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Increased nutrition from poison-free food, and increased yields from growing food in fertile organic soil, has far-reaching benefits to communities. HFW development projects focus on working with villagers to empower them to make a difference in their own communities, rather than relying on outside help.
Youth Against Hunger (YAH) works with HFW in Bangladesh to encourage young people to reach out and help others as an aspect of developing their own potential fully. Members of YAH are students between the ages of 14 and 25 years who are patriotic and culturally-minded, motivated by the motto “do not let hunger end our youth, let our youth end hunger.”