The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues its commitment to helping small-scale dairy farmers in Bangladesh increase productivity leading to economic stability. The foundation recently granted CARE a three-year, $3.8 million grant that will increase the incomes by 75% for approximately 30,000 rural dairy farmers in the North and Northwest regions of Bangladesh. 70% of those farmers are women. This latest grant comes on the heels -- and expiration -- of the foundation's four-year $5.2 million grant awarded to CARE in 2008.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant allows CARE to continue offering small farmers and aspiring farmers the opportunity to earn a living wage. These efforts include enhancing Bangladesh's dairy value chain. The problem is that rural farmers produce more than 90% of the dairy in the entire country but production techniques, transportation, transaction opportunities, and procedures are inadequate.
If the farmers can't produce their dairy efficiently, provide adequate transportation, and facilitate multiple sales or transactions, they can't make enough money to support their families.
Through its Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support, CARE has established 21 chilling plants and trained para-veterinarians to provide animal health services. These important but often expensive services have helped improve milk quality and production levels.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's current grant ensures that CARE can continue its economic sustainability efforts in rural Bangladesh. 80% of Bangladesh's entire population lives in these rural communities. That's a lot of families.
Related: Chris Elias
Incidentally, Bill Gates may be the richest man in the United States, but he and his wife's foundation is not about simply giving away money to the poorest populations in the world. Instead, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on helping these populations create a sustainable life for themselves. This focus is completely spot-on with the beliefs of the very people the Gates Foundation is helping. According to Dr. Helene Gayle of CARE,
During our more than six decades of working with poor communities, we have found that more than anything, people want to be able to earn enough money to support themselves and their families. They want a real opportunity to provide for themselves, not dependency on hand-outs. Grants like todays from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give the dairy farmers in Bangladesh that fair shot at economic security.