Fatema Begum lives in Chanchra village in Sadar upazila of Jessore district in Khulna. There are six people in her home, which is shared with another family. She has two sons aged five years and 15 months. Her husband is a day laborer, and with his meager earnings, the family is living hand to mouth.
In September 2013, SPRING launched a farmer nutrition school (FNS) in her village, and with the assistance of the local SPRING Union Facilitator, Fatema was enlisted as a member. Fatema attended every FNS session, and during the poultry-rearing sessions, she learned about the importance of the “hajol,” or improved hatching pot.
The hajol is an improved version of the traditional Bangladeshi hatching pot with two small pits at the front of the pot, allowing the hen to easily access food and water. The hen would otherwise have to get out of the pot and go looking for food and water. The brooding of eggs is therefore hampered, resulting in a lower egg hatching rate. While some FNS members just listened to the messages about the hajol and may not have fully understood its practicality, Fatema immediately understood its usefulness and the technology of preparing a good hajol.
She practiced making hajols again and again, understanding that this useful item would generate demand in her area. In addition to her own use, she decided to produce and sell hajols. The news quickly spread around her village and after selling a few, she received more money and began getting more orders from her neighbors. In a few short months, Fatema sold over 60 hajols, pocketing all profits because the only input required is mud, which is locally available and free. Her only investment has been her time. Every day she makes two hajols and is able to complete her other household activities. When selling the hajols, Fatema advises her customers who are pregnant women or mothers with young children to feed their children an egg at least twice a week.
Now that Fatema is earning money, she is able to support her family financially. Fatema also uses a hajol for her own poultry, and demonstrates the usefulness through her own practice. Through the improved technology, she has already doubled her poultry production.
Fatema has utilized the knowledge and skills learned through the FNS and established a small vegetable garden at her homestead. She can now feed her family members, especially her children, the nutritious vegetables grown in the garden and the eggs from her chickens. She can now contribute some of her income to the family for necessary expenses. She is also very happy to have her own income generating activity, which she has full control over. Being an FNS member has brought positive changes to Fatema and her family’s life.