A five member team from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands visited Jessore on 8 December 2010 to see Katalyst’s activities in the region. The team visited prawn and ICT activities in Monirampur and visited the activities of the Improving Local Government Services (ILGS) in Chougacha.
The team consisted of Ms. Miriam Otto, Second Secretary Economic Development, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Ms. Mushfiqua Satiar, Advisor-Gender and Development, Ms. Doris Voorbraak, Deputy Head of Mission and Ms. Louise Huijbens, Senior Policy Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Netherlands.
The visitors spoke with the prawn depot owners in Monirampur and inquired about the services they provide to the farmers. They also visited some prawn farmers and inspected the ponds where they cultivate prawns. The team was impressed seeing the full utilization of the area with vegetable plantation in the embankments of the pond.
The team spoke with the beneficiaries of an ICT center at the Kapalia Bazaar in the same area where they were pleased to see the participation of women in the centers. They spoke with the owner of the ICT centre and the representatives of Grameen Phone about the possible expansion of their services in the future.
In the afternoon, the delegates visited ILGS in Chougacha and had a discussion with the local business leaders who assisted famers in receiving timely information from the government service providers. The team enquired about the loan facility provided by the BMO leaders and its implication on the income of the farmers. One of the farmers mentioned that they are now receiving trainings and other agricultural related information from the local extension offices, which otherwise would have been difficult for them to access without the BMOs. They also mentioned that besides buying back their purchases, the BMO has also provided a very nominal interest rate on their agricultural loan.
The team was very pleased with the progress of the three activities in Jessore and expressed interest to see other activities of Katalyst in other regions in the future.